Iron Man is trapped in another dimension, and as the Avengers try to rescue him, the Leader and his new Cabal of super-villains confront them. Are Iron Man and the Avengers lost forever in these animated Secret Wars? Meet me after the jump for my thoughts on “Avengers No More, Part One.”
The Other-Dimensional Iron Man
As some of you might remember (although I would understand if you wanted to forget), in the last episode of Avengers: Ultron Revolution, in order to stop Ultron, Iron Man had to be stranded in the Dark Dimension. Of course this raises more questions that it actually solves, but on almost every level, this is a bad idea.
I brought it up when it happened, but has no one really thought about what a bad idea it is to put Ultron in the same place as the dread Dormammu? Ultron has frequently been shown to work well with others, why not match up the machine messiah with an otherdimensional entity of unlimited power? And who knows what the two of them could be doing to Iron Man all this time, right?
As we open, the Ghost is spying on the Avengers, the original animated team, none of the new members from the last season or the shorts. They are busily building something to bring Iron Man back, just in time for a Stark Expo event. With Iron Man on speakerphone, so to speak, from the Dark Dimension, it’s a wonder how he’s still manipulating a publicity stunt, and making the Avengers do all the work.
I found it curious that for an outside event, that Iron Man’s otherworldly voice is coming from loudspeakers, rather than, say, individual earpieces. Is it really wise to make it public knowledge that Iron Man is not on Earth? They are kind of doing this ‘Tony is out of town’ thing, but no one is buying it. And why are the Avengers doing all the grunt work, as opposed to actual Stark employees?
Here we have the animated debut of Jane Foster, originally a nurse and romantic interest of Thor back in the Silver Age, the actual bearer of Mjolnir and the title Thor now in the Modern Age. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe she was upgraded to scientist as played by Natalie Portman in the two Thor movies, but absent from other Marvel installments.
Here in the Marvel Animated Universe, she works for Stark, so I guess we get one employee, as a cross-dimensional engineer. She’s built a beacon, an inexplicable beam of light into the sky just like in every superhero movie of the last ten years or so. The beacon will guide Tony across dimensions home. Perhaps the showrunners have conveniently forgotten which dimension he’s in.
There’s the gist, the Avengers must guard this beacon right out in the open, until Tony is home. Naturally, every super-villain in town wants to take advantage of that. First the Ghost, then the Leader and his Humanoids. Not that it matters with the Avengers around, but does Stark as a company have no security department? The old paradigm was that Iron Man was Tony’s bodyguard, but surely that’s not enough.
Again, it’s nice to see the Hulk with a brain. He understands Jane Foster’s big words, and is able to offer insight on the Humanoids, foes he’s fought before. We also get a look at Hawkeye/Widow teamwork with the ‘face-plant special on the rocks.’ Fastball Special it is not. Although I’m curious why a code is needed for seemingly mindless foes. And finally, in the skirmish we do see a few random token Stark workers.
While the Avengers are engaged with the Humanoids, the Leader steals the beacon. I like the new animated Jane Foster, not only is she a fighter and doesn’t let the Leader get away easily, a moment later she’s barking orders at Thor – probably one of the few mortals who can. When the Leader gets away, Thor takes it hard like it’s his fault.
This is according to program, if Thor isn’t unworthy, how else Jane get hold of the hammer? It works, but it’s weak. But how else does one tell this kind of story in twenty-odd minutes? When the Leader next attacks the Wakandan embassy (why would there be vibranium there?), the Black Panther gets a quick spotlight, and Thor annoyingly whines some more.
The New Cabal
When the Avengers arrive, the Leader decides to unveil his new Cabal. This is an odd assortment: Enchantress, Executioner (called Skurge, can we not say Executioner on a kids’ show?), Arnim Zola, and that great team player, Kang the Conqueror. Like I said, an interesting grouping, and all Jack Kirby designs, natch.
We get far too little of them before we get to watch the Avengers battle magically conjured apes. Surprisingly the apes give our heroes a harder time than the Cabal did. Maybe without Iron Man’s leadership, the Avengers are that lacking? Another question – we can’t call Skurge the Executioner but he can still heft that big axe?
In the end, the Leader’s plan is to use his new ‘static expander’ on the Avengers, perhaps to send them across dimensions like Iron Man, and most importantly away from Earth. Only the Black Panther is left to face the Cabal, which honestly if this was the comics, that’s an even match in my opinion.
Despite some fairly large plot holes, some twists of convenience, telegraphed foreshadowing, and the tragic underuse of the Falcon, this was a pretty good episode. Turn off your mind, don’t think too much, and it’s enjoyable. However that’s not how I prefer my television. It was good, but hopefully it’ll get better next time…
Next: The New Avengers!