As we saw in the last episode of Avengers: Ultron Revolution, while tracking down future technology, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes came face-to-face with Kang the Conqueror. After threatening New York, Kang retreats to the future, dragging the entire team, except for Thor, with him. Meet me after the time jump for my thoughts on “Into the Future.”
More desperate than last episode’s final scenes of the Avengers trapped in a dark future was that of Thor left behind and helpless. Animation is at its core just lines, but one could see the horror and frustration on Thor’s face when the time portal closed without him. He selfishly chose retrieving his hammer over staying with his friends, and pays for it.
One of my favorite things about the thunder god is that he is so much more powerful the Avengers. He is, as Moondragon once put it, slumming on Earth just to spend time with his friends. Rarely do we see the full power of Thor unleashed in Avengers, but when we do, we know without a doubt that he is a god among men… and that he doesn’t need the Avengers…
We open in the future, Kang’s future, with the Avengers wandering through an advanced city, recounting their plight. Two oddities strike me just as the episode is getting started. First, the Hulk complains of a hurt arm from last episode, his best smashing arm, his left arm. Maybe I’m being picky, but I know this because it was a plot point in the comics – the Hulk is right-handed in most of his personas. Only his ‘the Professor’ personality is left-handed.
Also this future of the empty neon city streets patrolled by flying Kang heads is described both as Kang’s home time and the 30th century. While his point of origin is the 30th century, didn’t Kang launch most of his attacks from, and make his home in, the 40th? And if this is the 30th century, where are the Guardians of the Galaxy, you know, the real Guardians of the Galaxy?
Iron Man vs. Avengers
After tipping his hand as to how to defeat him, Kang then takes control of Tony Stark’s Iron Man armor to fight the Avengers. Kang mentions that keeping the Avengers around and on the run would be a good example for the rebels. Oops, wait, you weren’t supposed to hear that. There are no rebels for you to team up with later and take me down and free the future. Remember that, no rebels. Damn, can I have a do over…?
Back on track, Kang taking control so easily of the Iron Man armor is yet another clue (or red herring) that Kang may be Stark or a Stark descendant. Who else would be so familiar with Stark technology? The fight between Iron Man and the Avengers is brief yet predictable, more a time filler like the fights on Guardians of the Galaxy than anything.
Another Avengers Museum
With the Avengers separated and Iron Man without his armor (just like two episodes ago) after the conflict, the heroes make their way to Avengers Tower, oddly still standing, yet dwarfed by the other buildings in the city now. Tony, Falcon, and the Hulk make it there first only to find that it’s been turned into a museum, but one of revisionist history, making the Avengers look like the bad guys.
There are holograms of the Avengers weapons, of Cap fighting cops, Iron Man and Falcon fighting each other, Black Widow against Black Widow (a preview of things to come?), all under an inverted Avengers A. Checking things out, Tony finds a new set of armor, the Omega suit, and Hulk manages to fix his arm. Just when things are looking up, Thor shows up, but not the one anyone was expecting.
The other Avengers run into those rebels Lang probably didn’t want us to know about. They are dressed in the trappings of wannabe Avengers, but specific the members featured in this series. No Ant-Man, no hint of those heroes who may be joining next season. Come on, this would be the perfect place for that kind of Easter egg. There’s maybe Rescue and Black Panther, and a slimmer maybe for Wonder Man, but not much else. I did love that one Hawkeye wannabe was wearing his old mask.
Thor, the 30th century’s bald and bearded Thor, is their leader and thrilled, after a brief scuffle, to see his old companions. Much is made of his beard and lack of hair. I wonder whose side of the family the baldness is on as Odin is not bald… The reunion is cut short however by Kang and his robot army. More time is filled by the Avengers and rebels fighting the robots, but what is Kang really up to?
Lessons of War
Kang’s after Tony Stark’s future arc reactor, and with it, he is going to use it to conquer the Earth in all times. Captain America stops him, and as seen in last Friday’s sneak peek here at Biff Bam Pop! (although broken up by commercials in the actual broadcast), they are both hurled back to World War II. Granted, it’s a family-friendly Marvel Animated Universe WWII where the Nazis with guns are Hydra agents with lasers, but you get the gist.
Dropped down in the midst of battle, Cap and Kang are unexpected allies. As Cap helps the American troops, Kang helps as well, while the two banter about the differences between tyrants and those that oppose them. One has to wonder if Captain America learns as much about Kang’s strategies as Kang does about Cap’s motivations. Either way they make light work of Hydra.
Cap vs. Kang
Once the home time battle is done however, Kang and Cap go back to warring with each other. Now while Captain America was absent for the Kang sagas of my youth (Kang Wars, Celestial Madonna, Wild West), he holds a special place in Kang’s crawl. Cap fought the Conqueror in most of the other stories, went toe to toe with him in space in “Kang Dynasty,” and was his primary target in the much missed Earth’s Mightiest Heroes animated series.
Here, Captain America uses his wits against Kang as well as his strength and fighting prowess by bringing to Conqueror to prehistoric times. Cap’s speech about tyrants almost makes me forget about the Captain Hydra debacle. Almost. In the end, almost against character, Captain America strands Kang in the Jurassic period, surely a decision that will come back to bite them all in the butt.
Stranding Kang in the Jurassic era? The Hydra thing aside, this is not really something Captain America would do. First off, it’s pretty cruel, and depending on Kang’s survival skills (and based on this episode, without his tech, they are probably nil) it’s tantamount to murder. One would also hope that Cap had some sense of the consequences of tampering with the time stream (has no one shown him Back to the Future since he came back from the ice?) and would know that stranding a dangerous sociopath like Kang in the distant past could have lasting effects on the present.
And then there’s poor Thor, reduced to waiting for his companions in the present, and turned into a bad hair joke in the future. Have the rules changed or can Mjolnir no longer open portals through time and space? I know he’s done it in the Avengers comics numerous times, usually during conflicts with Kang. Why didn’t he do it this time? I was fully expecting one of his famous last minute saves as he arrived in Kang’s future.
Complaints aside, I really did dig this episode, but then again, I’m biased as a huge Kang fan. I hope this isn’t the last we’ve seen of the Conqueror. Next time, the other Black Widow shows up, and tries to turn the Hulk into the Winter Soldier… wait, what??