When did I decide this show had a chance?
You all know how I feel about intros by now.
The story continues from the micro-episodes from Marvel’s YouTube page (or either the Marvel or Disney XD site), which means you may be lost in a few spots if you haven’t already seen them. Disney XD did air them, but I’m not sure they were promoted.
From there, butt just started getting kicked. At the very least, it’s leagues above the last time the Avengers were put into animation, the ill-fated Avengers: United They Stand. Not only is the intro better, so is the animation and the voice acting.
Eric Loomis seems to be attempting to channel Robert Downey Jr. in his portrayal of Tony Stark (in fact, the writers seem to be as well, perhaps on orders), but he does a decent enough job. Fred Tatasciore continues his career as the Hulk, who is really a jerk, refusing to save Thor unless Banner gives up his existence essentially. Bruce is hoping to prove that the Hulk can be a force for good and no longer seeks a cure.
Which leads into my first issue with this series, no secret identities. Hank Pym already works for SHIELD (just not as a superhero until the end) and Janet Van Dyne isn’t shy about using her powers anymore than he is. Thor doesn’t have his Dr. Blake identity (at least in this two-parter) and the Hulk forces Banner to give up his identity. Nobody bothers to maintain their superhero lives secretly from their normal lives, the superhero life IS their normal life. I don’t mean the show ignores them (the curse of most superteam series), I mean they plain don’t have them.
Also, Nick Fury is the Ultimate Version, or at least the one I’ve heard of. That means he’s black instead of the white guy, but EMH Nick Fury has hair like his original white guy counterpart. He’s willing to force people to become what he wants them to be by manipulation rather than convincing them. He’s satisfied with the Avengers’ existence, even if he doesn’t “control” the team (perhaps yet in his mind). Graviton is the result of one of Fury’s attempts to get superhumans onto SHIELD’s payroll, for example. Lately, “manipulative bastard” is the best way to describe Fury in the extended media, and I’m not sure it does the character justice.
If you’ve seen the micro-episodes, you have an idea of what I assume the team will be facing. Captain America appears in the micros but not in the pilot. This is actually accurate with the comics. The original Avengers were Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Ant-Man, and the Wasp. Captain America didn’t return to comics, much less join the Avengers until issue #4, so I’d like to see the show wait awhile as well.
The stories that were set-up in the micro episodes are
- The Black Panther losing his father and lands to a rival tribe via trickery.
- Ulysees Klaw seeking Vibranium and teaming with Wakanda’s conquerors. (We first meeting trying to steal a sample Pym has been studying on behalf of SHIELD.)
- Kang the Conqueror attempting to restore his timeline and save his lover using a fleet. He blames Captain America somehow.
- Fully realized in the pilot, SHIELD has been maintaining four different supercriminal prisons, each with an ulterior motive toward’s Fury obtaining his own supersoliders or some actual protecting people work. He’s just a real jerk about it.
- Black Widow is a traitor to SHIELD, and is working for the terrorist group Hydra, framing her SHIELD partner Hawkeye in the bargain. According to the intro, Hawkeye is going to be one of the Avengers eventually, and Black Widow isn’t. This is rather similar to Black Widow’s early appearances as an agent for the communists before switching sides, and tricked Hawkeye into helping her due to his love for her and being told they were stopping bad guys.
- Speaking of Hydra, when Cap and Bucky last saw them (or anything else), they had a dimensional portal to Asgard.
- Odin has entered the “Odinsleep”, a time where he must recharge his powers. Loki wants to take control of Asgard, but Thor has decided that he wants to court EMT Jane Foster is needed on the plain of mortals.
- The Leader has a plan involving the gamma research base/prison they were kept in prior to whatever has caused the four prisons to fail.
All sound like good stories conceptually. I’m remembering an early teaser for the show that really didn’t look good, but I can’t find it. Doesn’t matter, because the final product looks darn good. Overall, I’m excited to see more episodes of Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Although I don’t like the loss of secret identities or Nick Fury being a manipulative bastard in the Ultimate mold, the show is off to a good start and from the pilot I recommend it.