“Marvel’s Avengers Assemble” is back with a third season, but with a new title, a slightly new look, and a new direction. Redubbed “Marvel’s Avengers: Ultron Revolution,” things are a bit different and still much the same. There is a lot to talk about, meet me after the jump for my thoughts on “Adapting to Change.”
We open on city kids playing Avengers, homemade cosplay and old fashioned make-believe. The first three kids want to be Iron Man, Hulk, and Thor, and a fourth Captain America, but nobody takes the toy quiver of arrows for Hawkeye, and I don’t see any paraphernalia for Black Widow, Ant-Man, or the Falcon. I hope that’s not symbolic of what’s to come.
For me, it’s always been the B characters that make the Avengers, not just the big guns. Those characters are left to the side far too often in the recent Marvel Animated Universe thanks to the influence of the movies, some criminally ignored like the Black Widow early in this series. There did seem to be a change in the air during the last episode last season that new members were on the way…
The Trio of Evil
Playtime is quickly interrupted by the real thing as the kids are witness to some real superhero action – Captain America rolls by in combat with Goliath, the third one, who used to be Power Man and the Smuggler. Just what is it about Pym particles that make folks change their names so much? Goliath refers to the Avengers in the past tense, and he’s not alone.
Screaming Mimi and the Beetle are also with Goliath, calling themselves collectively the Masters of Evil. Hmmm, well, maybe just a few of them. Voice talents are dead on however. I am also happy though that after two seasons of the Avengers fighting non-Avengers villains, less than five minutes into season three we have the Masters of Evil. Of course, the fanboy in me wonders if this iteration of the Masters is here, might we see the Thunderbolts somewhere down the line?
When the real thing finally shows up, they look a bit different. I wonder how much time has passed. First off and the simplest of the changes is one that this series’ far superior predecessor “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” did in its second season, and that’s get the Hulk some pants that aren’t ragged. The Avengers “A” is a nice touch. I can’t imagine what the old ones smelled like, and our green friend seems a bit more savage as well.
The Black Widow has traded in her sensible close-to-the-comics costume for that ridiculous outfit she wore in Avengers: Age of Ultron, you know that anti-stealth suit with the stupid neon piping. Good thing they don’t glow much later in the episode. Cap has the biggest change, wearing a cross between his movie costume and his Ultimate Comics counterpart, instead of his traditional superhero togs.
As it turns out, the Avengers don’t get together all that often any more. Meeting in the dusty Stark Tower for the first time in weeks, it’s mentioned that after defeating the Red Skull, Ultron, and Thanos, there’s no one left to fight. It’s also said that because of this tranquility, Ant-Man went solo and the team’s expansion plans were scrapped. Everyone has their own lives, let’s just move on.
This is a scary idea. Three instances immediately come to mind where this kind of thinking is bad. Remember the Justice Lords on the old “Justice League” animated series? Or how about Earth-Three’s Crime Syndicate? When they had beaten everyone, they went looking for new worlds to conquer. Or even closer to home, what about that alternate timeline, where under the Scarlet Centurion‘s control, the original Avengers defeated everybody? Idle hands.
Before the meeting is adjourned, the Black Widow pulls Cap and the Falcon aside. She needs help. I’ll bite my tongue that it’s the woman who needs help. She wants to infiltrate A.I.M., Advanced Idea Mechanics, apparently they’ve been hoarding tech and it may be related to the Masters of Evil. Is it just me, or should this have been brought up at the meeting??
Despite the cool espionage and deception getting in to A.I.M. headquarters, it gets silly. As it turns out, all of the Avengers have infiltrated A.I.M. in disguise at the same time, even Bruce Banner. Thor looks ridiculous in his beekeeper outfit, and isn’t it weird (or sexist) that Widow is the only female A.I.M. agent we see. Thinking on it, I think this is the only female AIM agent I have ever seen, even in the comics. And was that Ultron I saw in that lab??
The undercover Avengers go to hear the Scientist Supreme speak. Although what accent he’s speaking in – Russian, Scottish, or something else, I’m not sure. In this case, of course, the Scientist Supreme is the leader of A.I.M., as opposed to Hank Pym in the excellent Mighty Avengers series by Dan Slott and Khoi Pham. He presents A.I.M.’s newest creations – three faster, stronger, and more effective Super-Adaptoids.
These Adaptoids give the Avengers quite a fight. It’s painfully obvious the team is out of practice and their teamwork skills are more than rusty. The Hulk’s new bestial nature is worrisome, and presented well by voice actor Fred Tatasciore’s added growls. Things get worse when the Adaptoids merge with the Scientist Supreme to make a Super-Super-Super-Adaptoid. Seriously though, this is cool, and a closer version of the character to the comics than we’ve seen before.
Okay, this episode wasn’t perfect, but it did get off to a great start. Oh sure, I’m disappointed by no Ant-Man, no expansion, and that the former showrunners Kevin Burke and Chris “Doc” Wyatt have moved on to “Ultimate Spider-Man.” I am willing to give the new folks a chance however, after all we did get several Avengers villains the first time out.
I could nitpick. The Falcon making containment spheres is a bit much. And if you wanted a female Avenger with battle staves, why not use the female Avenger with battle staves instead of turning Widow into Mockingbird? I’m also not sure how I feel about a whole season of Ultron. I’m a bit Ultron-ed out lately, but this episode was good enough to have me coming back.
Next: Ultron, and “The Ultimates!”