Avengers Assemble Episode 2 Review
The second episode of the new Avengers Assemble cartoon has aired and it was better than the last one, though that doesn’t mean a whole lot.
This picks up with Tony dying and the team racing to get him back to Avengers Mansion to save him. Meanwhile the Red Skull has already painted his new armour black and put a skull over the arc reactor, we also learn later that in the space of a few hours he’s entirely upgraded the systems. Falcon fixes up Tony back sticking lots of wires into his chest then electrocuting him. Then Tony puts on his new prototype armour, which looks exactly like the armour he lost, because they couldn’t be bothered to design new armour for him. Armour that is pretty much from the Extremis story in 2006 and not any of the modern armours Tony’s had in the comics, for some reason Marvel likes using that armour as the bog standard Iron Man one in it’s marketing.
After that Tony disbands the Avengers because he doesn’t want to lead them and he wants to go after the Skull alone. Not once is it brought up that Captain America could lead the team if Tony’s not up for it, or that the team didn’t actually manage to defeat the Red Skull and MODOK so he’s outmatched on his own. The show acts like Iron Man is the only one that can possibly lead them and that without Tony’s say so they can’t be a team. Then Skull and MODOK attack with MODOK using nanobots to mind control the Avengers into attacking each other. Those would’ve been useful last episode, or any other time when they are trying to take over the world. So the Avengers fight out in the Mansion garden with news cameras and civilians watching. J Jonah Jameson was reporting on it like he’s in the news chopper for some reason too.
Iron Man figures this out and EMP’s them all, but a handheld one that doesn’t hurt him this time. Again that would’ve been useful last time, but I suppose that might’ve just been in the prototype armour. The Skull sets the mansion reactor to blow up so it would destroy Manhattan, and it has a countdown timer for that too. So after a very nonchalant conversation about it blowing up in 90 seconds, without even a hint of panic or urgency in their voices, Thor and Falcon make a mini tornado to suck up the energy and reactor then Iron Man blows it up when it’s in the air. I’m fairly sure blowing up a reactor that can destroy up Manhattan is a bad thing, especially when it’s not even higher than the skyscrapers in New York. The Avengers then move into Avengers Tower, Black Widow leaving the team because she’s a temporary member and so they can say they have a girl op the team without actually having one there most of the time.
The end has the Red Skull sending out messages to form the Cabal of supervillains to rival the Avengers. The episode even spells it out for us that these are the ‘evil Avengers’ in case it wasn’t obvious. We’re not shown any consequences to the Avengers fighting and the news making a big deal out of it, or that New York might be worried that their reactor nearly blew up Manhattan. But I wasn’t expecting anything as interesting as that to happen.
The characters have some better interactions and interplay than last time, so it’s a little better than last time. It’s still not that great and it relies too much on the Avengers movie pare ups. So Hawkeye and Black Widow have a moment together, same with Hulk and Thor, and Tony and Steve. That felt a bit forced, as with all the other Avengers movie call backs they do, and there’s a few. None of them really work because they feel forced instead of the spontaneously funny and cool moments that they took them from. At some point I expect them to do the “Puny God” bit form the film since that was a big, memorable, and funny moment they haven’t done yet.
One of the rather sillier things they’ve done is give Falcon a HUD like Iron Man’s, so he can scan things and give the technobable solutions Iron Man doesn’t. The guy with giant eyeholes in his mask has a HUD and it’s ridiculous. Sometimes they have clear eye protectors slide down, but it’s rather inconsistent and should’ve had a redesign to make the HUD work.
I also can’t help but make the comparison from The Cabal to The Light from Young Justice. Supervillains banding together due to escalation since the heroes are doing it. That’s not a kind comparison since the show’s not going to be anywhere near as good as Young Justice. Just based on these two episodes I can see this show isn’t as well planned or thought out as Young Justice. I imagine at the end of the season The Cabal will almost take over the world but be undone by their own infighting. I hope I’m wrong and it’s better than that, but from the way things look now I can’t imagine it being better than that.
I should also address the connections that allegedly exist to the previous Avengers cartoon, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. The creators have said:
“We never wanted to disregard any of the “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” work,” Kelly said. “This doesn’t come off as a reboot…these characters definitely have a history…we wanted to create the sense that a little time has passed, and you’re just picking it up.”
Now that’s not really true since their Falcon is a brand new hero and in Earth’s Mightiest Heroes Falcon was already a hero working for the government. Iron Man was the leader of the Avengers for two seasons so he shouldn’t be so worried that his leadership can’t work when he already has experience in doing this. There are probably more things I’m not mentioning and a lot more when new episodes air, but I’m fine with them not being in continuity. I don’t really care about it. What I do care is that the creative keeps going on about it in order to appease fans of the previous series who keep asking them “why did you cancel Earth’s Mightiest Heroes for a show so similar to it?” Which makes me wonder what else they’re just making up to appease fans and how long they’re going to keep doing it.
The animation was not as bad as the first episode given that it had no pans of static poses, but it was nothing standout either. The editing was rather cluttered with the “cinematic” touches and trying to make it look more “comic booky.” Doing that sort of thing in the action scenes made it a little hard to follow at times. I’m still not enthused about the character designs and they do remind of some Early Learning tie-in books for comic movies. Like this or this. Which does make me laugh whenever I read comments about the artstyle being more “mature” than other shows just because it’s not stylised.
So that’s episode 2 and while it was better it was still very bland and safe. It was a rather mundane opening to a show; the threats are rather small scale and are introduced a few minutes before they are dealt with. It’s very much a show that you don’t have to pay attention to and probably shouldn’t if you want to enjoy it to its fullest. There’s potential there, buried deep, and it could get better. But right now it’s not even bad enough to get angry over. I might watch more episodes if I’m bored but probably not.