That was one hell of a cliffhanger at the end of last week’s episode of “Avengers Assemble.” The Avengers were thought dead, Thor had been defeated, Nuke had been revived, and the Squadron Supreme had taken control of the planet Earth. Things do not look good. Meet me after the jump for my thoughts on “Avengers Underground.”
The Squadron, Supreme
As we open on this episode, the Squadron Supreme rule the Earth. Thor is their prisoner, his hammer left where it fell, and the Avengers nowhere to be seen, thought dead. We are shown other heroes like Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, and Red Hulk neutralized, and a world patrolled by Squadron robot drones.
We see the merciless Squadron fight oppressors their way when Attuma tries to take advantage of the lack of Avengers and invade. This is how the Squadron ruled their world before they destroyed it, with an iron fist. Where are our heroes now? In hiding, they prepare to fight back, and reassemble for a final battle with the Squadron to take back the Earth.
Divide and Conquer
Eventually the Squadron begins to bicker among themselves, and agree to disagree, separating to rule different regions of the planet, kinda like the Injustice Society of the World (comics’ first team of villains) carved up the USA on the cover of All Star Comics #37. Somehow, this was all part of Falcon’s plan. How? That’s more of a guess of what could happen than a plan, right?
That’s the real problem with this episode (and the last as well if I’m being honest) – the illusion of plans or too many plans. We keep seeing Nighthawk and his plans within plans within plans – did he really have no contingency for the Squadron dispersing or the Avengers still being alive? For a guy always two or three steps ahead, this is odd.
Cracks in the System
When we have been shown individual members of the Squadron nearly take down all the Avengers, it’s very hard to believe one or two Avengers could turn the tables with only surprise on their side. Zarda really can’t control Speed Demon’s speed belt? Speed Demon couldn’t have run out of the cube when it opened to let the Hulk in? How can the Power Prism run out of power? And if Thor could have escaped at any time, why didn’t he??
I did like Captain America turning the sun blue to rob Hyperion of his powers. It was very Legion of Super-Heroes, and reminded me of the time they fought Evillo and Color Kid changed the sun’s color so that Superboy and Supergirl could remain members. And it nice that it was Black Widow that (at first at least) took Hyperion down. Too bad it didn’t take, so much for no weak Avengers…
When we finally find out the reason for Nuke‘s existence and revival, all it does is cause more questions. So turning Hyperion into a nuclear bomb to blow up the Earth was always part of the plan?? And why was this never mentioned before? Surely Hyperion is not that much of a sociopath to either follow Nighthawk’s orders or think he could survive such a thing, right?
Hyperion is defeated, thanks to Ant-Man, which made my day, but the real triumph takes place in the battle between Nighthawk and Iron Man. They may just be idle words and he’ll return to being a jerk later, but in this instance, Stark appears to have learned something about his leadership style and the value of his team, and being on a team. I want to see more of this Tony Stark.
At the beginning (and at the end of “Ultimate Spider-Man“) of the episode this week we also had a little something extra. Much like what was done before the brilliant “Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” series, Disney X-D is doing shorts about the individual Guardians before the actual “Guardians of the Galaxy” animated series begins. First up in these double mini-sodes was Star-Lord.
The series is being based on the movie property of course, rather than the comics, so we get a scene from Peter Quill’s childhood missing from the film. It’s a nice missing piece of the story, with a very anime vibe, of the young Star-Lord’s first meeting with Yondu of the Ravagers. Next up is Groot.
Extra Bonus: Inhumans Vs. S.H.I.E.L.D.
Elsewhere in the Marvel Animated Universe on “Ultimate Spider-Man” this week, we saw an interesting parallel to the second season of “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” as the Inhumans, under the thrall of Maximus the Mad, attempt to take over the world and only S.H.I.E.L.D. can stop them. It was a nightmare CliffsNotes version of what we all wanted to see, the war, with superheroes and the Inhuman royal family.
Of course there are changes, as this Spider-Man cartoon is wont to do, like Triton is a teen who looks more like the Savage Dragon than his comics counterpart, and Maximus is rocking a bad Loki/Iron Man look. Sadly the only Inhuman to retain their original unique Jack Kirby vibe is Lockjaw. Still this was an interesting take.
Back to “Avengers Underground,” I have to say I liked the spirit of this episode, if not its execution. Seriously, how could I not like any fight between the Avengers and the Squadron Supreme? I’m looking forward to the last two episodes of the season, can’t wait!