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Avengers Assemble S01 E15: Planet Doom

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The Avengers are no strangers to time travel or timeborn threats, but this time they face not only the might of the sinister Doctor Doom, but also a timeline tampered with to make Doom master of the world, and the Avengers never formed. Find out what happens, along with me, when I review this week’s episode of “Marvel’s Avengers Assemble” – “Planet Doom,” after the jump.

Asgard Animated

Our opening teaser has Thor returning however briefly to Asgard. There we get the obvious fat jokes that accompany Volstagg, even in this day and age. Similarly and stereotypically we get a scarily large Odin reminding viewers of Thor’s double life in Asgard and on Earth.

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This reminds me immediately of one of the major differences between “Avengers Assemble” and its predecessor “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.” “EMH” never felt the need to beat you over the head over-explaining simple details of the Marvel Universe. It just assumed you knew, showed you once, and then got right done to the wonderfully character driven story at hand.

Heimdall

Notably, like in the Thor movies, as portrayed by the brilliant Idris Elba, Heimdall is shown as African-American. I have to wonder, is he so in the comics now too, like Nick Fury? While part of me yearns for the tradition of the last fifty years, there is also a part of me that hopes this out-of-medium change, like Jimmy Olsen (from the Superman radio show) and Harley Quinn (from “Batman: The Animated Series”), becomes canon.

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It is Heimdall that cuts off Odin and Thor’s tired Lee/Kirby identity Midgard argument. For just a moment, the Earth vanished. Thor hightails it back to his adopted home to find the real story this week – Earth is different. As promised in the previews, Doctor Doom rules the planet, there are no Avengers, and the Statue of Liberty is now a statue of Doom.

The Defenders

As with all alternate timelines, the best part is finding out how your favorite characters shook out in the new circumstances. Upon Thor’s arrival he’s met by a squadron of Doombots, and saved by the Defenders. No, not those Defenders (I wish), but someone just as familiar.

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Hawkeye, in an outfit similar to his Ultimates garb, is now known as Bullseye, in a slick nod to his Dark Avengers counterpart. Falcon still goes by Snap Wilson but has his wing harness. And Spider-Man is there too, going by the name Slinger and wearing something very close to his Iron Spider gear.

The Thunderer

Even unseen as yet, Doctor Doom is no fool. He has prepped for the return of Thor. A legend has arisen of ‘the thunderer’ who would save the world from Doom. When Thor shows up, so does the Black Widow, although she’s different too, on the wrong side of the fight, trussed up like Madam Masque and calling herself the Black Bride.

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She shows up with a machine that steals Thor’s hammer. Even though he can not technically lift it, our animated “Avengers Assemble” Doom does have a fascination for Asgardian weapons. Remember the “Doomstroyer” episode?

Iron Doom

When Doctor Doom does show his face, it’s not really his face, or rather it is, in Doom-ified Iron Man armor. Much like how this series turned the Red Skull into the Iron Skull, now Doom is Iron Doom. Have they run out of ideas? Really? I’m disappointed, and Doctor Doom is so much better than this.

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I’m also disappointed that this Doom seems to have lost his true motivation, from the comics at least. This cartoon version doesn’t seem to give a crap about the Fantastic Four at all. He has a depowered Stark and Banner sciencing for him, but no Reed Richards? Really??

The Truth

Timey wimey, the truth comes out that Doom has been manipulating events by traveling back in time and changing things – rescuing Stark and Banner from their origins, finding but not reviving Captain America, etc. At least time travel, but not necessarily alteration, is in Doom’s roundhouse.

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I like very much that Thor isn’t a clod this episode. He’s not the brightest crayon in the bunch, but he’s also not the Hulk with a hammer as he’s been portrayed here from time to time. His speech on humanity spurs the stereotypical double agent Widow to take action.

Punishment

And of course there’s also the last minute cameo by the Punisher. Am I the only one distressed by appearances by Spider-Man and the Punisher, when Avengers like the Vision, Hank Pym, the Black Panther, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch have yet to show up? Gee, when do we get more Wolverine?

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Veering back to whether “Avengers Assemble” is an improvement over “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” or not, I’d have to say it’s different, but definitely not better. I still think “EMH” was a vastly superior show, and possibly one of the best superhero cartoons made of late. Now, more than halfway through the run of “Assemble,” we have only had a handful of episodes that could be said to be good. Most of them have been juvenile and not respectful of continuity. Let’s hope it gets better.

 

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About Glenn Walker

Glenn Walker is a professional writer, and editor-in-chief and contributing writer at Biff Bam Pop!. A blogger, podcaster, and reviewer of pop culture in all its forms, he's done stints in radio, journalism and video retail. Ask him anything about movies, television, music, or especially comics or French fries, and you’ll be hard pressed to stump him or shut him up.

Posted on December 8, 2013, in animation, Avengers, Glenn Walker, television and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Marvel Historian

    I saw nothing wrong with the Punisher cameo. It was a brief but fun cameo. We don’t see Punisher in animation very often, so I don’t see it as a valid complaint. We finally got to see an animated iteration of Hyperion of the Squadron Supreme. That’s pretty awesome.

    Also Spider-Man’s costume in this episode was based on his Spider-Man: Noir look, not Iron Spider-Man:

    http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQ4is2wXCz1Y01P3tmSBrOdoVrfnGxWfwytXILllb8YKO8HXI2uwg

    In terms of respecting continuity, the jokes they did with Volstagg are consistent with jokes they’ve done in the comics. I recall once Volstagg getting excited about a hamburger he ate on Earth when Ben Urich was bugging him about an interview.

    I don’t think an animated show has to be slavish to continuity to be good. Many movies and animated shows have made drastic changes that could arguably be said to have been disrespectful to continuity. Doesn’t necessarily make it bad though.

    I thought Doom was great in this episode and his monologue was awesome. I wasn’t too concerned with no Fantastic Four because it wasn’t necessary to tell the story in this episode.

  2. I enjoyed this episode too!
    And yeah – it’s just one of a handful but it’s a good ep!

  3. I hated that the Punisher appeared in this and I’m a Punisher fan. It’s a valid complaint due to the fact that he doesn’t belong here, he’s doesn’t get involved in the whole superhero Vs. villain fights. It’s not his problem, he fights gangs and the Mafia, real people, not robots, and he do so with extreme violence.

    You could easily replace him with a dozen or so other characters like Nick Fury, Maria Hill, Wolverine, Solo, Cable, Bishop and so on and nothing would really be lost and they would have more of a believable excuse for being there. The Punisher is just a normal person with normal combat skills… why would the Avengers even need him????

    The reason why we don’t see him in animation is because he’s an adult comic book character… DUH! He doesn’t belong in a kids cartoon show, because like in the Spider-Man cartoon from the 90s, they completely watered him down again, they have him using a big a dumb laser gun (he uses real guns) and saying a dumb catchphrase… the Punisher is not James Bond or Arnold Schwarzenegger where he has some lame comeback saying every time he’s about to kill someone or after he’s kill someone…

  4. Heimdall in the Marvel Movie Cinema isn’t portrayed as African American, because Idris Elba isn’t African American. If your going to make a point, then get your facts straight. A black man from England, has ZERO connection to African Americans, other then skin tone.

    • Hey Obershan – good point.

      I suspect that here “African-American” is just a misstep. But I’d neither suggest Heidall as African-American or African-Brit. Heimdall is Asgardian. I’m not a master on Thor lore, but I’d say Africa has got nothing to do with Asgard! 🙂

      Weirdly, I’ve seen Elba in so many American roles, it constantly blows my mind when I hear him speak with his distinctly English accent.

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