Based on one of the greatest adventures of Earth’s mightiest heroes, this episode of “Marvel’s Avengers: Ultron Revolution” follows Baron Zemo and the Masters of Evil as they attack our heroes in their own headquarters. Meet me after the jump for my thoughts on “Under Siege.”
Avengers Under Siege
In the comics, the Under Siege saga is one of the most epic victories and defeats in Avengers history. Written by Roger Stern and illustrated by John Buscema, this was the mother of all battles in the late 1980s, as Baron Helmut Zemo and a huge reformation of the Masters of Evil not only took over Avengers Mansion, but soundly defeated Earth’s mightiest heroes.
Rising from the ashes, a ragtag new team took back their home and fought back against insurmountable odds. While eventually driven out and defeated, it cemented Zemo and this iteration of the Masters of Evil as some of the most dangerous opponents the Avengers had ever faced. Though triumphant, the Avengers suffered great losses both physical and emotional. Both Hercules and Jarvis nearly died from the assault.
The Masters of Evil
There have been several incarnations of the Masters of Evil in the comics, beginning with the original Baron Zemo’s band of baddies back in the Stan Lee days. There was even a grouping led by Ultron who at the time disguised himself as ‘the Crimson Cowl.’ The animated Masters of Evil seen here approximates the team that took the Mansion, and would later become the Thunderbolts.
Led by the younger Zemo, its membership included former Spider-Man foe the Beetle; super-villainess Moonstone; tech wizard the Fixer; and former metahuman wrestler turned super-villainess Screaming Mimi. And then there was Erik Josten, who was original granted ionic powers just like Wonder Man by the original Zemo and called himself Power Man. Later when his power waned, he became the Smuggler, and much later with exposure to Pym particles, he became the evil Goliath.
The Losers of Evil
At the start of this episode, the above five sans Zemo are attacking a low level Stark research facility when the Avengers engage. They are disorganized and argumentative, and obviously and ‘leadingly’ in need of guidance and leadership. Hawkeye considers them a joke, and may soon live to regret it. Intent or not, I almost felt a little sorry for them.
Toward the end of the fight, Goliath gets really big but with no real plan – which appears to be the Masters’ real problem. I couldn’t help thinking however that this would have been a great time to have Ant-Man around. He could have easily gone toe to toe mano a mano with Goliath. Another lost opportunity. Once defeated however, the Masters are teleported away, from the Avengers, and to Baron Helmut Zemo who offers them more power.
While the rest of the Avengers track the Masters of Evil to Brazil (nice homage as that’s where the original team operated from), Hawkeye insists on staying home at Avengers Tower to work on his trick arrows. There’s a tinge of perhaps Hawkeye feeling a bit useless surrounded by gods and monsters and legends of World War II, but I also couldn’t help but think of Patton Oswalt’s bit about the Avengers taking anybody and recruiting at sporting goods stores.
The point is Hawkeye is alone when Baron Zemo and the new and improved Masters of Evil come calling at Avengers Tower. And he’s unarmed and barefoot, so it’s a little Die Hard too. All told Hawkeye does at least as well as Bruce Willis and Macaulay Culkin, but it’s not good enough. By the time the Avengers return, their own headquarters has been turned into a death trap.
Duel as Equals
The battle between the heroes and villains is lengthy, and unlike most animated superhero fights, this is intense and edge of your seat action. Unlike previous seasons the Avengers now work as a team as opposed to individuals, and the horrific part is that so are the Masters of Evil.
With Zemo’s training, planning, and encouragement, the Masters have become credible dangerous threats. Even though Zemo escaped and the Masters were captured, we know they will be back. This show is on a roll this season, and it’s just getting better… even as it gets worse for our heroes… the Thunderbolts are coming…