Avengers Assemble: The Avengers Protocol Part 1

av1Tomorrow morning is the television premiere on Disney XD of the new Marvel series “Avengers Assemble.” I was a big fan of the last series, “Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes,” which was canceled to make way for this new series. Word is they wanted to bring the characters more in line with other animation like “Ultimate Spider-Man.” We’ll see how it rates, after the jump.

av2The Opening

As the opening episode begins, we find Iron Man observing former Avengers and lamenting that he had to ‘break up the band,’ however giving no reason why. And so, it seems this could be a follow up to either the much missed “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” series or the Avengers film that it was so obviously designed to cash in on. We are left in the dark.

Seeing Captain America in combat with the thought dead Red Skull, he finally deigns to intervenes, but he’s too late to save Cap, and ends up himself a victim of both the Skull, and MODOK. Iron Man puts out the call to his former teammates, which is oddly not “Avengers assemble” but referred to as “the Avengers protocol.”

av6What’s Different

The changes include Avengers Tower instead of Avengers Mansion. I miss the Hulk/Hawkeye friendship, which apparently no longer exists, if it ever did. Jeremy Renner would be chagrinned at how ineffectual this shameful version of Hawkeye is. And Thor, the thunder god has gone from noble well-spoken warrior to moronic knucklehead who fights at the drop of a hat and makes Hercules look like a MENSA member. Shameful.

The Falcon has been completely reworked as a SHIELD agent that Stark recruited and originally wanted to wear the War Machine armor. I was dumbfounded by that. Was it because he was African-American?? Ironically he’s voiced by Bumper Robinson who did War Machine in “EMH,” so perhaps it’s an in-joke. He eventually dons apparently and therefore sadly Stark-created Falcon armor, though why he was chosen, over many other possible members, old or new, is never revealed.

av3Anything Good?

There are some things I liked. Some if the animation tricks trying to mimic comic panels similar to Ang Lee’s Hulk movie were pretty cool. And the quinjet was the first time I have seen CGI that seamlessly fits into animation. I’d like to see more of both of that.

I like some of the voice casting, even though I would rather had the “EMH” folks. Adrian Pasdar of “Heroes” is a nice choice for Stark as he played him well in the anime series. Troy Baker continues as Hawkeye from his appearance on “Ultimate Spider-Man.” Similarly Chi McBride, who I like quite a bit, takes over Nick Fury from the same series. Fred Tatasciore does return as the Hulk thankfully, but rarely is he given something good to work with.

av4Deja Vu

The Red Skull’s master plan, while pretty clever, might make some comics readers cringe. It’s basically the plot of Dan Slott’s Superior Spider-Man. The Skull switches bodies with Captain America, leaving Cap’s mind trapped in the Skull’s dying body. Hmmm… wonder where they got that idea?

Look for Easter egg cameos by the Trapster, Wizard, and Klaw, defeated by Hawkeye. Nice touch, but I would have much rather had the featureless statues in Avengers Tower actually have been recognizable likenesses of former members.

av5Okay, I didn’t hate it, and if the litmus test had not been the vastly superior “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes,” I probably would have liked it a lot. Right now, I’m on the fence, but look forward to part two of this first story, which will air right after part one, tomorrow morning.

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