Thor is all about magic, Captain America is not just all super-soldier serum, but also tireless hours of training, and the Hulk a creation of gamma radiation, but the rest of the Avengers team are pretty much slaves to their technology for their abilities and powers. Imagine Hawkeye and the Falcon transported to a world where technology doesn’t function. Yeah, that’s the situation in this week’s episode of “Marvel’s Avengers Assemble,” all this, and an examination of the Falcon, and the Wrecking Crew. Meet me after the running leap, for my thoughts on “Downgraded.”
Spitting in the Corn Flakes
We open on what could be a very exciting traditional Avengers adventure. Black Widow has intel on the location of the Wrecking Crew and the cloaked Avenjet is lying in wait. First, why can’t they just call it a quinjet? That term was just fine for nearly five decades, and it told you exactly what you needed to know. Quinjet = Avengers transport, everyone knew that. And now… Avenjet… phooey.
As if I wasn’t already angry enough that someone was peeing in my Frosted Flakes, then came the next indignity. As I said, traditional Avengers adventure, waiting for the Wrecking Crew, and then… Hulk and Thor thumb wrestling. *rolls eyes* Really? A recent article I read talking to Jeph Loeb indicated that ‘Marvel always strives to tell stories that are unexpected.’ *grumble* Well, I guess thumb wrestling amidst a superhero story is definitely unexpected.
By the time the amazingly comic appropriate Wrecking Crew does show up all hope for traditional is out the window, as we’ve already suffered through thumb wrestling and Falcon talking tech (which is still odd to me as the Sam Wilson of the comics was never like that), and Hawkeye mocking him for it. It also seems odd to me that the Wrecking Crew is after AIM’s old tech. Thunderball maybe, but why is the rest of the Crew excited?
And speaking of out of character, does it really take the entire Avengers team to deal with the Wrecking Crew? I mean, these guys are a snack for either Hulk or Thor alone, and the real Hawkeye or Black Widow (I say real as opposed to animated) could easily take them on their own as well. The only time the Wrecking Crew has ever really been effective was during the Mansion siege, and let’s face it, they were following the orders of others then.
The Falcon Upgraded
Only Thunderball is a scientist, the rest of the Crew are thugs with physical enhancements, what were they going to do with that AIM stuff? Sell it? More annoying than the oddity of the Wrecking Crew going after tech to use themselves is the out and out character of the Falcon. Besides our POV device, who is he supposed to be really in this series? His powers kinda kick him to the curb as our insider to the Avengers world.
In the comics, his street smart persona from decades ago is not only passé but also stereotype. Is he a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent? Nope, Hawkeye and Black Widow got that covered. A tech hero? No, that’s Iron Man. A gadget hero? No, Hawkeye again. And no matter how hard they tried to make him a strategist like Batman, a la Tower of Babel in the “Nighthawk” episode, it didn’t work. I don’t think they know what to do with him, and that’s why we have so many episodes, like this one, where he’s trying to prove his worth.
In a continuing argument with Hawkeye regarding tech vs. skills (isn’t this the same argument Captain America and Iron Man had constantly during the first season?) Falcon proves his tech can duplicate any of the Avengers’ powers. Doesn’t that really just bring home the point of what I’ve been saying? Anyway he makes his own Asgardian runestone, which transports the duo to Vanaheim.
Vanaheim is one of the Nine Worlds, one that has banished all technology conveniently enough, leaving only magic. As if to only continue the argument, archery works but holographic wings do not. Confronted by monstrous Shadow Nixes who eat electricity, Hawkeye and Falcon must save Vanaheim. Meanwhile, a couple of these beasties traded places with them are are trying to eat NYC on Earth, busying the Avengers.
Same Old Song and Dance
This is another meh episode, once again a disappointment after a couple very good ones. Bring back the Squadron Supreme! That was when the show was on a roll. The heroes win, exactly as would have been predicted in the last five to eight minutes, and everyone makes nice once again.
If we had to have giant monsters in New York, why not known entities from the comics? Even the wildly overused Fin Fang Foom would have been welcome. And for future reference, Hawkeye isn’t mean or arrogant – he’s funny, and a bit sarcastic. Get it right.
Next: The Infinity Stones, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and Thanos, all in “Widow’s Run!”