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Meet Flyod Araia. The newest addition to Streets of Rage 4. He’s a beefy boy ready for an alleyway brawl. Flyod also happens to have both arms adorned in powerful metal. He joins a long lineage of super black folks who have optionally (or forcibly) swapped flesh for alloy.
Black characters with metal arms have become a trope. If your black superhero doesn’t have a shiny metal arm, they better be slinging lightning at someone. The metal arms of men and women denote power, resilience, and strength. All qualities a superhero needs and a supervillain relishes.
I kept trying to find a deeper meaning behind the removal of black people’s arms. You could skew negative and comment on making black people less human by replacing their body parts with cold machinery. But who wants to think like that, right? In the end, the metal limbs are black people’s inherent power manifested in the most physical of manners. By turning their frail flesh to unbreakable metal, you make them more. You make them Super.
Also, it looks dope as hell. So it’s time for…
Here is a nice list of powerful characters of color (shoutout to the PCOC’s) who also have some type of metal arm.
Jackson Briggs is probably the most famous metal-armed black dude in the nerdy circles. Jax made a name for himself by ripping the limbs off his competitors in Mortal Kombat. His raw power coupled with his cybernetic enhancements allows Jax to create seismic shocks when he bashes the ground. In the most recent run of the Mortal Kombat games, we were introduced to his daughter Jacqui. She aims to follow in dad’s footsteps, adorning cybernetic arm gauntlets that increase her power and ferocity.
Floyd is the new co-op player in the upcoming Streets of Rage 4 video game. Following in Jax’s footsteps, both of Floyd’s immensely large arms are cybernetic. He may be great at punching but I’ll be damned if he could do a crossword puzzle with those big ass mitts. No pencil on earth can withstand those fingers.
He also seems to have a taser packed into those heavy hammers he calls arms. Guess he meets all-black superhero criteria. Metal arms. Check. Lightning powers. Check.
Here comes “The man with a gun for a hand”. Barret Wallace, Final Fantasy 7’s resident gruff-talking eco-terrorist. After losing his right arm in a tragic cliffhanger style accident, Barret grafted a Gattling gun to his ruined arm. So you know he makes good decisions.
In the follow-up film Final Fantasy Advent Children, Barret is given a full robotic arm, with a hand and everything. It has the ability to elaborately transform into a much larger, four-barrel, rotating Gatling gun with some kind of fusion canon in the center. He also got cornrows and a bubble jacket. I can’t help think he’s stuntin’ on someone. That gun upgrade is definitely like a rapper buying 4 really expensive cars with their first million.
Our first villain bashes his way in with the gaudiest meal arm yet. To be fair to Doomfist, that is a premium skin. But also, don’t have a variant golden arm. You know you are evil when you bling out your death fist.
Not only is Doomfist’s arm metal, but his hand is also twice as large as his regular human hand. I can only assume its to maximize his punching power and not indicative of some giantism affliction that drove him to be evil. Either way, he’s big, black, strong, and equipped with a metal arm. And what do you do with a giant metal arm? Learn how to dragon punch like Ken from Street Fighter. That’s what.
Misty Knight punches the door clean off the hinges as she charges her way onto this list. After losing her arm in an explosion, Detective Mercedes Knight was gifted a bionic arm by Tony Stark. This inadvertently transformed her into a bad-ass crime-fighter with the look of a blaxploitation hero. Misty is out there, choking all kinds of suckahs. Making the streets safe with her karate and vice-like grip.
We sure do love coming back to Cyborg. He’s just so ubiquitous when it comes to black superheroes. He is quite possibly the mayor of this list and they just straight up replaced his whole deal with circuits, motherboards, and alien metals. So few parts of him remain human, let alone black. His database keeps heavy tabs on his personality so he doesn’t lose himself to his cybernetic side.
There must be a file logged in his head about the first time someone asked to touch his hair.
I fully admit that War Machine is a stretch. He is just a dude in a suit. He didn’t even build the dang suit, his buddy gave it to him for Arbor Day or something. But, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Rhodey does lose the use of his legs and he receives some bionic braces to help him get around. Those braces connect to his War Machine outfit. That outfit 100% has efficient metal arms.
This is probably the worst entry on the list. Not because it isn’t relevant (it totally is) but because Axel has the most miserable life here. As a child, Axel’s own shitty father put him in that contraption, and for twenty years he was a carboy. With a name like Axel, his dad probably had this planned from the start.
Axel’s metal arms are a thing of nightmares. They trap him inside two monster truck wheels with a flimsy platform to stand on. Then some genius said “Hey, his shoulders need a little zhuzh” and slapped some guns on those bad boys. Try and do a T-Pose and balance a couple of dumbells on your arms while you do. Hard right? Now do it while permanently grafted to the unfinished front end of Grave Digger.
Let’s all be clear, Axel NEVER wins Twisted Metal. They didn’t even give him a windshield. He totally dies with bugs in his teeth and fatigued forearms. He gets the Sad Black Characters With Metal Arms Award.