So Captain America is out, and Spider-Man is in. That doesn’t seem like a happy replacement at all for me. But then again the title of this week’s episode of “Avengers Assemble” still brings me nothing but agita after well over a decade. All this and Ultron too, as the animated team seems closer to reenacting Civil War than Age of Ultron… Meet me after the jump for my thoughts on “Avengers Disassembled.”
For the comics fans out there, the title of this episode “Avengers Disassembled” conjures one of the darkest times for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, and that’s true whether you liked the storyline or not. In the summer of 2004, to mark both the fortieth anniversary of the team and its 500th consecutive issue, writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist David Finch destroyed the Avengers. They no longer existed as they had, they were devastated from within, the worst that could possibly happen did, and they were rebuilt from the ashes.
Long story short, the Scarlet Witch went mad, and with her reality warping power, she attacked her former friends, destroyed their headquarters, even killed some of them, shattered their trust, their confidence, their resolve – destroyed everything that it meant to be an Avenger. Months later when a massive breakout happened on The Raft, a new team was formed, new relationships forged, and the Avengers rose from the dead. It took a lot of getting used to for old readers and new. We survived, but many of us weren’t happy about it. Thankfully, in this case, it’s just a title.
The Super-Adaptoid is back, and he’s attacking Roxxon, which is where we open this episode. Right away we notice that Captain America, who quit at the end of the last episode, is missing – and in his place is Spider-Man. As per usual, the heroes take turns on the Adaptoid rather than actually teaming up against him. They are much better at talking to each other, making Spider-Man-like quips, rather than actually working together. It’s shameful.
The first thing one notices about the Super-Adaptoid in this appearance is the absence of M.O.D.O.K. Hawkeye mentions how much more creepy the Adaptoid is with his usual passenger. Widow concurs, he’s much more creepy and scary without a baby face in his chest. I agree, while a M.O.D.O.K.-controlled Adaptoid is more dangerous, the visual was silly, sillier than usual for M.O.D.O.K. Of course in this battle, the first of many plot holes and/or misunderstandings about characters pops up. Iron Man theorizes Spider-Man as a secret weapon since the Adaptoid doesn’t have Spider-Man’s powers because he’s not an Avenger. Um, what? No. The Super-Adaptoid will absorb anyone’s abilities regardless of their membership. Someone buy the writers a copy of the Marvel Official Handbook.
As would be expected, Tony Stark is more villain than Ultron – who of course is inside the Super-Adaptoid, per his weird new powers. Stark doesn’t tell his teammates this, nor does he tell them that Spider-Man is Captain America’s replacement. As I said last time, I dislike this 21st century Tony Stark who is more villain than hero, who was the bad guy in the Civil War we’re headed toward. Even back in day, when Iron Man was a good guy, crap like this would have made him step down as leader of the Avengers.
As if I didn’t have enough to dislike in Iron Jerk prepping to play Doctor Doom, there’s also Spider-Man. There’s that silliness that I hate so much from the “Ultimate Spider-Man” cartoon brought here to “Avengers Assemble.” Spidey is talking to the fourth wall and ‘narrating his adventures,’ addressed verbally here by the Black Widow, as always, the mother among the children, and the voice of reason. I hate it, but at least she’s actually in the show this season. I have to be careful, better to have an inadequate Widow than no Widow at all, I suppose.
Captain America finally arrives, in his dark SHIELD Strike Stealth Suit that he wore during most of Captain America The Winter Soldier. Although that movie does not seem to have occurred in the Marvel Animated Universe, the Captain is leading a S.H.I.E.L.D. unit to hunt Ultron. He drops in a joins the battle with, no, alongside the Avengers. These two, Stark and Cap, are behaving like children in the face of a serious threat. Yes, sadly, we are on our silly way to Civil War.
Now more plotholes, where does Cap get the ridiculous idea to bring LMDs to go after Ultron? It was he who explained Ultron’s powers in the last episode! Add to that that Ultron’s entire plan seems unlikely and not well thought out. Seriously, how could he know Cap was bringing LMDs? More ridiculousness happens later when Ultron takes over Iron Man’s ‘Hall of Armors’ at Stark Tower. Among the surprises there include the Hulkbuster (of course, to cash in on the movie, but miscolored), and variations on the Destroyer, Iron Spider, Iron Patriot, and War Machine armors. As one might imagine, the Avengers are more than miffed Stark has built some armors specifically to stop them.
Moving back to Civil War, there’s a lot of talk of sides. It may be coming quicker than we anticipated, as in the end of this episode, with Hawkeye and Thor siding with Iron Man, and the rest going with Cap. Where did Spider-Man go? I don’t care, but it’s not clear. This splitting of the team too is apparently part of Ultron’s plan. But is that Ultron watching from space, with alien language in his scanner? What is really going on here? Is Ultron working with… Thanos?
I’m unsure if we will find out next time. We’ll be following Iron Man’s team, along with Ant-Man. Obviously a movie tie-in, but it’s unclear if it’s to Ant-Man or to Age of Ultron. After all, we still don’t know the animated origins of Ultron. Maybe he was built by Pym after all…