No matter how old you are, no matter how many responsibilities you have, no matter how grown up you think you are – your father is always your father. That’s the way it works, even for thunder gods. If you think you have it bad, Thor’s dad isn’t just his dad, he’s also the king of Asgard, the Nine Realms, and basically the entire Norse mythos. Talk about daddy issues. What happens when Odin decides Thor has been ‘playing’ on Earth too much and needs to take on more responsibility at home? Find out after the jump when I review “All-Father’s Day.”
Despite his macho exterior, Thor has always had daddy issues. The first cover of a Thor comic that I ever saw had the thunder god and his father in such pitched battle that for quite some time I thought Odin was one of Thor’s super-villains. And to an extent, when you really think about it, he kinda is.
Thor’s entire origin is wrapped up in his relationship with dear old dad. If you know anything about the Marvel Comics version of Norse mythology, you know Thor is the heir to the throne of Asgard, and King Dad spends a lot of his time sleeping to prepare for an even deeper sleep. Rather than take responsibility, Thor would rather chill on Earth with his girlfriend and slum/play with his buddies in the Avengers.
Surprise Surprise Surprise
In our opening, the Avengers watch as Iron Man rather maliciously tests new restraints on the Hulk and Thor, which results in the two play fighting like children, as they have been apt to do in this animated series. As they wrestle and Thor contends with Hulk’s smelly feet, not the most regal of positions – Odin appears.
If that’s not enough of a surprise, among the Avengers is a character I had thought for sure the powers that be had forgotten because of either sexist misogyny or misguided uselessness – the Black Widow. It’s about damned time. The Avengers is not a boys club, “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” had three women on the roster. When will this show catch up?
Avengers as Sitcom
As implied earlier, Odin is here to bring Thor home, to stop playing and take on true responsibility to his home realm. When the Hulk strikes the All-Father, we get another surprise, although in retrospect it shouldn’t have surprised me. Rather than the expected slugfest, Odin laughs and gives the green goliath respect. Is this Odin or Hercules?
As this series has done in the past, it goes for the sitcom response, the cheap canned laughter route over the superhero action tip a real comic book adaptation would have gone. Really in our hearts, don’t we just want to see Hulk smash? Instead Odin, like a good sitcom mother-in-law, elects to stay and see what the Avengers have offer.
Another recurring problem I have had with this show is their insistence on not using traditional Avengers villains. Granted, the first time I encountered Zzzax he was fight both Hawkeye and the Hulk, but he is primarily a Hulk villain. Here in animated form, it should be noted, he’s looking a bit more like Wonder Man and acting like Nuklo than his usual electrical self.
Afterward, while Odin seeks to test the mettle of the Avengers in personal combat, another baddie is in the wings, and of course he’s not an Avengers foe either. Next up is a sanitized and decidedly non-Kirby Mangog, a creature that in the comics simply wants vengeance on Odin, and to undo the universe. Too bad the cartoon alters his powers as well as his motives.
As expected, the Avengers save Odin from Mangog and Thor gets to stay, as if he wouldn’t. At least it’s the Black Widow is the one who figures out how to stop the big bad. Maybe they’ll let her stay as well. I had to wonder if perhaps there had been a last minute substitution and Mangog was meant to originally be Surtur?
There’s a nice welcome change of pace at the end of this episode, some actual teamwork from the Avengers. Maybe they can do this next time The Cabal shows up. Also JB Blanc does a nice Michael Dorn impression voicing Mangog. Now, just tell me, what’s a brother gotta do to get some Kang or Ultron up in here?