The Avengers are back together again, the threats of Ultron and Thanos have been vanquished, for the moment, so what better time to add a new member? The first new member we’ve seen so far since the Falcon in “Marvel’s Avengers Assemble” is Ant-Man, and Hawkeye’s not so happy about it. Meet me after the jump, for my thoughts on “The New Guy.”
Before we get started, I wanted take a moment to address some comments I’ve gotten about my reviews of “Avengers Assemble.” I don’t hate this show. I would not have put all the time and effort into nearly fifty episode reviews of it if I hated it. There are times I am not fond of the choices made or the changes from the comics, but it is what it is.
Yes, I would have much rather had a continuation of the “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” series than the more cinematically based “Avengers Assemble,” but it should be noted many of the same folks worked and continue to work on both series. It’s why I keep bringing it up. Maybe they will inject some of what I loved about “EMH” into “AA” if I continue to clang on the bars. The truth is that for as much as I dislike things about this show, there are things that I do love. It’s an episode-by-episode coin toss.
Who Is Ant-Man?
One of the things gnawing at me since Ant-Man’s first appearance in the series has been who is he? Hank Pym is my favorite Avenger but he’s not the only person to have gone by the name Ant-Man. There’s also Scott Lang, who will be the title character of the upcoming film, and also the less than virtuous Eric O’Grady. So far in “Avengers Assemble,” there’s been much talk of Pym particles, but no mention of Pym himself, so the man under the helmet remains a mystery, until now.
The first time we see Ant-Man without his helmet, comics fans know immediately who he is. This Ant-Man is the redheaded Scott Lang not the blond Pym, verified by Iron Man saying his name aloud when giving him his membership card. They’re still mixing the two a lot though by having Lang be a scientist with a lab as opposed to just a tech guy as Lang was in the comics.
Fin Fang Foom Goes to Washington
Our opening this week is one of those bittersweet moments I was talking about earlier, only this time, choices were made for the better, I guess. No, really, it’s my goofy love for the Silver Age that gets in the way. Fin Fang Foom is attacking Washington DC, and with the exception of new member Ant-Man, who’s not used to that nebulous concept called teamwork, the team is working together to bring him down. Ant-Man even grows to Giant-Man size (like we wanted him to do episodes ago) to fight the giant monster. Man, this is awesome, what’s not to like?
Well, being honest, nothing. This is as good as it gets. We not only see the antagonism between Hawkeye and Ant-Man continue to build as we’ve seen in the past, setting up this episode’s premise, but it all fits the continuity of the animated series too, something I should be happy about. It doesn’t really matter that in the comics Clint and Scott (or Hank for that matter) are good friends, or that Fin Fang Foom is intelligent, talks, and -ahem- inexplicably wears pants.
Hawkeye’s not happy with Ant-Man on the team. As we learn as he complains to each of his comrades separately, Clint and Lang have a history, one where the new member apparently betrayed Hawkeye. By the way, anyone else notice that Captain America was painting? I love that the writers remembered that he was once an artist. I also like that Hawkeye’s own history is brought up. Cap suggests that Hawkeye put Ant-Man through an evaluation test.
They have to return Fin Fang Foom to Monster Island, why not do it there? Yeah, but the thing about Monster Island? It’s full of monsters, ya know? If anything can go wrong, it probably will. And while I loved seeing all the Kirby and Kirby-esque monsters animated, and learning that this version of Scott Lang had a history with the Circus of Crime too, it ain’t just the regular monsters on Monster Island, the Red Skull and the Mindless Ones are there too.
The Red Skull
Now while he brings him up, not by name of course at first, the Red Skull doesn’t seem all that freaked out by Thanos any more. He actually is a bit more chilling this time out, suggesting Cap’s shield would make a good tombstone for the captured hero. Even more scary is not just his insistence that Thanos is coming back to Earth, but that somehow the Skull struck some sort of deal with Dormammu.
Like a walk in Mordor, one does not simply make deals with Dormammu. What did the Skull offer up to get weapons, protection, and Mindless Ones? Could it have something to do with Thanos’ eventual return despite the Guardians of the Galaxy‘s assurance he’s still imprisoned on Xandar? I’m intrigued, in a good way, and there’s a great homage to the cover of Avengers #223 in the last act. I could have done without the tiny (pun unintended) deus ex machina with Fin Fang Foom however.
This has been one of the best episodes in a while, and I can’t wait for the next, whether Fin Fang Foom is wearing pants or not.