Reading the synopsis of this week’s “Marvel’s Avengers Assemble,” it seems we’re veering into sitcom territory, and very dangerously into jump-the-shark area as well. It reads as follows: “Falcon learns that his mom is coming to visit, but she doesn’t know that he is an Avenger.” Wasn’t this on “I Love Lucy” or “The Honeymooners”? It’s not all bad though, this episode also has Ant-Man! Meet me after the jump for my review of “One Little Thing.”
What do we really know about this animated version of the Falcon? Not much really. We know he was a SHIELD trainee and scientist, and that he hijacked Tony Stark’s Falcon armor to help him out, becoming the newest Avenger and our POV character as viewers. This is markedly different from the high tech paratrooper and best friend of Captain America we met last weekend at the movies.
This Falcon is also quite different from the comics version, similarly Cap’s best friend but with a criminal past that was invoked by the death of his mother. The comics Falcon also has powers manifest by the Cosmic Cube, Wakandan tech in his wings, and a pet sidekick named Redwing. He also has none of the weird powers the animated Stark armor has given him lately.
The Animated SHIELD
In the wake of the aforementioned Captain America The Winter Soldier movie, it’s worth mentioning that SHIELD is still intact in the animated universe, even though it’s chiefly based on the Marvel Cinematic Universe more so than the Marvel Comics themselves like its predecessor “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.”
Notably, the Red Skull is still alive in the present day, and a major nemesis in this series, as is Hydra. Also, if SHIELD were to fall apart, it would shatter the concept of Jeph Loeb’s jewel in the Marvel animated crown, “Ultimate Spider-Man,” and we all know Loeb gets what he wants – otherwise we’d still be watching the vastly superior “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.”
Speaking of the much-missed “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes,” we have a very special guest-star this episode… Ant-Man! The episode opens with Iron Man, Falcon, and believe it or not, Hulk trying to contain an unstable Pym particle. Speak of the devil, Ant-Man is also there, in a weird hybrid of his costume and Eric O’Grady’s. I dislike it a lot. Change just for the sake of change is usually a bad idea.
This Hank Pym is abrasive, and apparently has a problem with Hawkeye. Odd that, because in the comics, before Chuck Austen and Brian Michael Bendis at least, they were great friends. I did kinda like Hank’s use of a gun-like weapon and the pressing of his belt buckle to change size, both reminiscent of old Ant-Man motifs.
With an unstable Pym particle on the loose, shrinking and enlarging things indiscriminately, and with attempted humor, there’s also the Falcon’s mother who’s visiting. She’s under the impression her son is just a SHIELD liaison to the Avengers and Falc has asked his teammates to lie for him to keep his cover.
If Mom found out he was the Falcon, and constantly in danger, she wouldn’t let him be an Avenger any more. Really? Man, that hurt to write. Really??? Could they diminish and harm the character any more than this? Worse than anything else, the way Falcon describes his liaison duties, he might as well be their maid or janitor. It’s horrible.
Sad and Sadder
This was one of the worst of the bunch so far, despite having my favorite Avenger, Hank Pym, in it. There’s no mention of Pym being an Avenger, nor do we find out what Hawkeye’s beef with him is. Lots of jokes are made about him working with ants, and that’s what this episode breaks down to, jokes. It is a sitcom, and a bad one at that.
I hated the continuing dumbing down of Thor. At this rate he’ll be reduced to saying “Thor smash!” by the end of the series. And surprise! No Black Widow. Again. Wouldn’t this have been a perfect moment to introduce/reintroduce a new female member like the Wasp? Especially if they’re not going to use the Widow? And yes, I am sore that Ant-Man had to share guest-star status with the Falcon’s mom…