This week on “Marvel’s Avengers Assemble,” we have a spotlight on Hawkeye and the Black Widow. If you’ve read my reviews here at Biff Bam Pop!, you know how I feel about how criminally neglected I think the Black Widow has been in this series. This espionage outing into Atlantis is a nice change of pace. Meet me after the jump for my thoughts on “Beneath the Surface.”
Hawkeye and the Black Widow
For those not familiar with the comics, and only know the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or perhaps only the Avengers movie, you still know that Hawkeye and the Black Widow have a past, but do you know what that past is? They were romantically linked, but not as SHIELD agents… as enemies of Iron Man. That’s right, they both started as Iron Man villains.
Hawkeye went straight first and became an Avenger. While he was dating Natasha he tried to get her to reform as well. She spent a lot of time with Hawkeye at Avengers Mansion during a time when Iron Man was not an Avenger, there so often in the sixties, she may well have been a member. The Widow finally joined for a day and a half in the early seventies then left, not becoming an actual active member until the late seventies. Now you know.
The Serpent Crown
On a reconnaissance mission against Hydra, Hawkeye and the Black Widow discover the unnecessarily and hideously redesigned Serpent Crown. They go undercover on a cruise ship to make contact with Hydra’s buyer for the object. Like most mysterious artifacts in the Marvel Universe, the Crown is very powerful, bestowing mind control, illusion casting, energy manipulation and other perks upon the wearer. Of course, it’s also a gateway to the lost Egyptian god Set, and possesses the wearer, but that’s beside the point.
Hydra had planned to sell the Crown to Lady Xartha (that’s the online spelling, my closed captioning says Zartra, your guess is as good as mine), former advisor to Attuma, and when she gets it, she uses it to sic giant whale monster Giganto on Hawkeye and the Widow. Hawkeye’s wishing for something real to fight (as the Avengers are busy fighting the Wrecking Crew and giant robots), has come out to bite him on the ass. Widow holds her own against Xartha but still calls in the Avengers just in case. I hated that they had to save her from Giganto.
It’s nice to see old fashioned Silver Age goodness like Giganto animated but this does raise a question. We’re seeing Giganto, we’re seeing Atlantis, and we’ve been seeing a whole lot of Attuma. Where’s Namor? Does Universal’s film rights ownership of the character extend to animation as well? It just seems very curious that the Sub-Mariner is not even mentioned.
I am reminded of the 1966 Hanna-Barbera “Fantastic Four” animated series. Remember that odd episode called “Danger in the Depths,” that on the surface seems to be a Sub-Mariner story, with Attuma and Lady Dorma, yet taking place in the undersea city of Pacifica. In Namor’s place there is a weird knock off called Prince Triton, because the company that was making the “Marvel Super Heroes” (barely) animated series owned the rights to Subby. Hmmm, yeah, I think I’d rather have no Namor than Prince Triton again…
Not Attuma… Again
Man, that joke never gets old. Every time The Bride and I see Attuma on TV, we do that Arnold Schwarzenegger line from “Kindergarten Cop” over and over again, laughing ourselves silly. Speaking of silly, we now know why Attuma wears that helmet, he’s bald, and without it, he actually looks a little bit like Thanos, conspicuously unmentioned this week. Wish I could say the same for Arsenal.
As expected, Attuma takes control of the Serpent Crown, and takes control of Giganto. Hilarity, I mean battle ensues. More slugfest, thankfully well executed, an improvement over last season. I liked that both Hawkeye and the Black Widow save the day, and especially by thinking as opposed to punching or blasting. I liked this episode quite a bit. It’s kicking and screaming, but “Avengers Assemble” is improving.
Hulk and the Guardians of the Galaxy
On a sidenote the Avengers have an appearance, strictly speaking, in this week’s episode of “Marvel’s Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.,” along with the Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s an appearance in that they appear to be the Avengers, but they’re really and obviously Skrulls. The Hulks have been lost in space for the first few episodes of their second season, encountering all the usual suspects, like the Silver Surfer, Ego, Galactus, Ronan the Accuser, and of course, the Guardians of the Galaxy.
When the Guardians show up after the Hulks have routed the Skrull Avengers they naturally think they’re Skrulls too. A little game of Secret Invasion brand ‘Who Do You Trust?’ follows. This marks the second appearance of the Guardians on “Agents” and along with their other guest shots, it seems Disney XD is getting primed for the confirmed animated series next year.
Next on “Avengers Assemble” – Nighthawk, yeah, that’s right, Nighthawk!