Doctor Doom is the unparalleled big bad of the Marvel Universe, and for once, “Marvel’s Avengers Assemble” agrees with comics continuity, Doom is the master villain, ‘the man,’ and one of the most powerful. Meet me after the jump for my review of “The Ambassador,” as Doom utilizes one of his most dangerous weapons – diplomatic immunity.
The Man on The Man
Doctor Doom has always been one of Stan Lee’s favorite characters, and one of his most genius creations. While co-creator Jack Kirby styled Doom’s look on Death, a diabolical Death draped in invincible armor rather than a skeleton, Lee had other plans in mind for the character. Archenemy of the Fantastic Four principally, Victor von Doom would be the opposite number of Reed Richards, a rival intellect, and a powerful figure whose personality hid a psychopath suitable for Batman’s rogues gallery.
The one thing that stood out for Stan Lee about this ‘super sensational new villain’ was not his armor, his power, or his mental state – it was his job. Doom was the ruler of the small nation of Latveria. When he walked the streets of New York City, he could rob, assault, even murder anyone he pleased. He had diplomatic immunity. Flight, invisibility, X-ray vision, magic, even prehensile hair – all those powers paled compared to this one. Marvel’s greatest villain was perhaps Lee’s greatest achievement in villainy.
Bit Players and Bodyguards
We open with a brief, almost minuscule, newscast by J. Jonah Jameson about Doom coming to speak before the United Nations. JJJ has about as much of a role here as he does in Disney XD’s “Ultimate Spider-Man,” which is nothing. I find it so sad that such a major Spider-Man character is reduced to cameo status in the Marvel Animated Universe, but this is how Jeph Loeb wants it – everything aligns with “US-M.” It’s why we have “Assemble” instead of the vastly superior “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.”
Doom’s problem, and quite honestly I fail to see it as a problem, is that The Cabal are gunning for him. He refused membership so now the Red Skull wants him dead. SHIELD has assigned the Avengers to be his bodyguards as Doom speaks to the UN. The team is there with Fury, and sans Black Widow. Is the Widow even a member any more?
Rules and Silliness
Captain America has a twisted (in this context) understanding of the diplomatic immunity concept that Stan Lee intended. He says that Doom only has diplomatic immunity so long as he does nothing wrong. Say what? Doesn’t that contradict what has made Doom cool for decades?
There is also the nonsense of the Avengers only defending Doom is he brings no weapons into the UN. There’s a comical scene worthy of the old Warner Bros. cartoons where Doom strips his armor of weapons, leaving a ridiculously enormous pile on a chair. Humor aside, isn’t his armor alone a weapon? And what about his magical powers? And like Stark or Richards, isn’t his intellect his most dangerous weapon? One has to wonder if Doom has ever addressed the UN before in this continuity.
Shortly after Doom begins his address, The Cabal, in the form of Hyperion and MODOK wearing the Super-Adaptoid, attack. Hyperion tears through the Avengers like they’re nothing. Another difference between the animated and comics team – the ‘real’ Avengers would have trained to prevent such a thing from happening again after their first encounter with Hyperion.
As Captain America tries to smuggle the wounded and helpless (!!! I guess they did forget about his magic) Doom to safety, more of The Cabal attacks, in the form of Dracula and Attuma. Thor and Hawkeye step up to fight the good fight. I find it very disconcerting that the bad guys are cooperating in their assault while the Avengers seem to have forgotten the meaning of teamwork.
Coulda Woulda Shoulda
When the Skull shows up and takes down Captain America, a thought occurred to me. Cap’s taking Doom to Avengers Tower. Could this all be a ploy to get Doom inside? And has Doom already joined The Cabal unbeknownst to us? Yes, but then again, doesn’t The Cabal already have access to the Tower?
I was half-right. Doom wanted into the Tower, but for his own purposes. It turns out jealousy was his motivation. He didn’t want the Skull to be the only one with access to the Avengers and SHIELD’s files. In a rushed bit of deus ex machina that makes Doom out to be a bit of a schmuck, Cap and Stark let him download a virus instead before he escapes. I like my idea better.
Less than Perfect
There were a lot of problems with this episode, lots of little things that just ruined my enjoyment of it. Hawkeye holding off Attuma when previously the Atlantean warlord has fought the Hulk to a standstill would be one. Dracula stopped by the third rail, really? And why would Doom put Cap’s shield down when he knew the Skull was going to keep blasting him (although Doom with the shield is a disturbing image)?
While there was some cool superhero on super-villain action, it was for the most part meaningless. I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of The Cabal, as well as the endless parade of non-Avengers foes. But I guess in lieu of bringing “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” back, I guess this is as good as it gets.