Hyperion. He is to the Squadron Supreme what Superman is to the Justice League. If we’re being straight here, the Squadron is Marvel’s left-handed version of the JLA, a backdoor way for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to fight the World’s Greatest Superheroes, without two teams of lawyers having screaming matches. So, for all purposes, Hyperion is Superman, and for decades, he and his team, in various versions, have been a thorn in the side of the Avengers. Now, Hyperion comes to “Avengers Assemble,” check out my review, after the jump.
The origin of Hyperion is fairly close to Superman’s, but with some unique twists. Originally he came from the planet Argon, which as opposed to Krypton, is actually in inner space rather than outer space, a microscopic world where he is the only survivor, and chunks of Argonite weaken him just like Kryptonite to Superman. There have been variations over the years, but it’s always basically the same.
Today’s episode seems to be following the lines of the 1980s Squadron Supreme maxi-series where fascist tactics are employed by the heroes to turn their Earth into a Utopia, this Hyperion wants to save our planet whether we like it or not. I like my Hyperion more as a misguided hero than an out and out villain, but then again “Avengers Assemble” has never been about pleasing me. Ahem.
Marvel’s ersatz Justice League first appeared as evil versions of themselves called the Squadron Sinister. Further encounters between the Avengers and the ‘good’ team were progressively hostile based on this original misconception. The Squadron Supreme’s Earth has been under attack on numerous occasions by mind control, so they alternate between caution and aggression when seeing the Avengers. It’s never a happy time.
Marvel Comics has rebooting this team of Justice League doppelgangers many times, taking advantage of the DC Comics conceit of the multiverse. There have been many Hyperions as well. There has been a version of Hyperion in the Ultimate Universe, a Zombie version, multiple evil versions, and the latest incarnation of the character is actually a member of Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers team.
As we open on this episode, it seems the powers that be will be continuing the Superman analogue. New York is being showered with dangerous space debris, from an exploded planet, light years away. Nice to see the non-super-smashers lending a hand in destroying the debris. I have to wonder how much Iron Man, as well as the writers, really know about science. Would it take several decades, maybe more, for debris from an exploding planet to reach Earth? Mr. Science out.
As much as I prefer Hulk’s traditional nickname for Thor – Goldilocks – I think I like Butterscotch better. At least the Wrecker looks like his comics counterpart, Hyperion too for that matter. It’s a nice change of pace from previous episodes. Hyperion playing Superman, and the slugfest that dominates the second half of the episode, are front and center here. There is very little characterization, although the Black Widow actually gets at least two lines this time.
After watching Hyperion for a bit, as he exhibits all the traditional Superman-like powers, the Avengers decide they’d like to approach him to join the team. In true feeding any paranoia fashion, he comes to them in his Fortress of Solitude-like flying island headquarters. It was feels like much set up, even for those not familiar with the character’s past.
As Hyperion spins his origin tale, leaving out the pertinent details, there’s a nice cameo of the Squadron Supreme. They also appear as statues in Hyperion’s Fortress later, but obscured so you can’t tell who is who. What is it with this series and not showing Easter eggs like this? There were similar statues in the first episode as well.
A ten plus minute slugfest ensues. It was okay, but I could only wonder much cooler it would have been to have seen an Avengers vs. Squadron Supreme battle animated. In Iron Man’s final battle with Hyperion, Stark is in constant communication with JARVIS, planning how to stop him. Wouldn’t Hyperion have heard that entire exchange with his super-hearing? Just asking. The sitcom-like epilogue was amusing, but would have been better with shawarma.