After far too long a hiatus, Disney XD’s animated “Marvel’s Avengers Assemble” is finally back, picking up on one of its hanging plotlines, this time the whereabouts of the Mind Stone. Guess who’s got it? Big head M.O.D.O.K., and he’s using it to take over S.H.I.E.L.D. Meet me after the jump for more acronymic madness, and my thoughts on “Head to Head.”
Before we go any further we should probably run through a crash course on what all these acronyms mean. M.O.D.O.K. has been around since the Silver Age, a twisted creation of the masters, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Originally an A.I.M.(Advanced Idea Mechanics) scientist named George Tarleton who was instrumental in the creation of the Cosmic Cube (one of the Infinity Stones in the Marvel Cinematic Universe), M.O.D.O.K. at first was a program called M.O.D.O.C. (Mobile Organism Designed Only for Computing). Blending the two together, a giant-headed monster was created that called itself M.O.D.O.K. (the rather anti-politically correct Mechanized Organism Designed Only for Killing).
From that point on, this super-intelligent and seriously creepy looking monster head opposed Captain America, Iron Man, S.H.I.E.L.D., the Avengers, and just about everybody in the Marvel Universe. Just for the record, S.H.I.E.L.D., while it has stood for several things during its existence, which dates back quite longer than one might believe in the comics, currently stands for Strategic Homeland Intervention Enforcement and Logistics Division, in the Cinematic, Television, and Animated Universes. From this point forward, all of these acronyms will be sans periods to save my typing fingers.
It’s been a while, so in case you don’t remember, the overarching story of this season’s “Avengers Assemble” has been Thanos and the Infinity Stones. The Red Skull has led Thanos to earth and in doing so, lost the various Infinity Stones (or Gems) across the planet. The Avengers, and Thanos, have been seeking them out one by one. Thanos is planning to complete his Infinity Gauntlet, while the Avengers just want to keep them out of evil hands.
Help me out here. Am I wrong in thinking that equal priority should be employed in finding Thanos as well? Yes, the Stones are exceedingly dangerous, and yes, they should be found and secured, but really, I know my Marvel Comics history, and Thanos was a serious serious threat long before the Infinity Stones/Gems/Gauntlet ever came into the picture. The idea of Thanos walking the earth unchecked and unsupervised should scare the crap out of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Infinity Stones or not.
We open with the Avengers, including Black Widow, making an assault on AIM. The best part of the fight, besides the teamwork rarely seen in this animated series, is the topic of discussion, or more accurately the topic of quips – who has the best costume. While it’s nice to know that the Hulk agrees with Edna Mode from The Incredibles, what’s funny is one of the few things this series has done right is make AIM’s beekeeper suits look cool. In this bunch, AIM wins.
And as we see when the fight is over, despite appearances, they just may have won. As it turns out this was all a performance exercise set up by SHIELD., but they arrive afterward to take the Avengers in. Another fight ensues, this one less interesting than the AIM assault. Why is SHIELD after the Avengers? You guessed it. MODOK found the Mind Stone and controlling them.
Remember what I said about teamwork? Well, it wasn’t a refreshing move forward for the series and the characters – it was a set-up. When the Avengers confront MODOK and the Mind Stone, the cosmic gem plays musical chairs with their minds and bodies. Like an old Bugs Bunny cartoon, you have the wrong voices coming out of the wrong mouths and inexperienced drivers in new cars. Teamwork is cut from 100% to 17%.
The Headman-ized Avengers spend the rest of the episode dodging SHIELD and trying to get to MODOK who has taken over and become the helicarrier (or Tri-Carrier as they call it here, not sure what I hate more, that or ‘Avenge-Jet’). And why did it take so long for Thor to call his hammer to him? He’s still worthy, no matter what body he’s in. It all turns out all right, but I just couldn’t help imagining and comparing what I was seeing with Bugs doing Gossamer’s nails after a couple minutes of chasing each other through the Evil Scientist’s castle.
Next: We get the animated interpretation of the Dark Avengers, though probably not the team below…