Monday, August 5, 2013

Recap/Review: Avengers Assemble, "Hyperion"

Now, I want to say right off the bat that this most likely won't be an ongoing feature.  It's enough work doing a weekly post and a weekly recap of Beware the Batman. However, after watching the latest episode of Avengers Assemble (and realizing that I've been talking much more about DC Comics properties), I've decided to recap and review it: Season 1 Episode 7, "Hyperion."

Before I begin, let me give the uninitiated a little background on this series. Avengers Assemble is an animated continuation of The Avengers where the end of that film (where they go their separate ways) and the events of Iron Man 3 are ignored. Here, the Avengers operate out of Avengers Tower (formerly Stark Tower), and they've even added a new hero to their ranks: The Falcon. The Falcon is a young, African-American tech-guy (not to the extent of Iron Man, though) whose name comes from the hard-light wings that he can generate, and use to fly/fight. If you've seen The Avengers, you're good on the rest of the details.

"High-PEAR-ee-un." Not "Hyper-Ion."
The episode opens with small meteors hitting the various buildings of New York City. Tony Stark suits up for action, and gets to work, with JARVIS informing him of the meteor cluster approaching quickly. Apparently, a planet exploded, sending debris to Earth.

Protip:  When planet chunks head to the Earth, expect glowing green rocks and/or rockets with babies in them.

Iron Man, Falcon, and Thor fly into the atmosphere with Hawkeye, Captain America, and Hulk riding in the Avengers' Jet. Thor lightnings meteors apart, Hulk jumps on them and smashes them, Hawkeye shoots them, and Captain America lasers them with the jet. Hawkeye falls out of the jet, but is saved by Falcon, who swoops down to catch him right before he hits the ground. In an aversion of the usual breaks from reality, this happens semi-realistically as Falcon tells him to go limp (to spread out the impact) and warns him that this will hurt. Falcon also actually catches him at an angle instead of stopping him, which would be the way to attempt this in real life what with the G-forces involved. Even when they land, it causes a hole in the road. Gotta say, I'm pretty impressed with the attention paid to real-world physics. 

And then Black Widow jumps a car from the ground into a meteor. 
...
...forget what I said about physics.

She jumps out and lands next to Hawkeye, making the customary flippant remark. Then they look up and see that there's one more meteor to go. Unfortunately, it's the size of Manhattan, and begins to burn up in the atmosphere. JARVIS informs Iron Man that it classifies as an "Earth-Killer." Ladies and gentlemen of the Avengers, you may begin to wet yourselves.

Hulk cools off the descending meteor with a sonic clap (which wouldn't work; it's heating up because of the wind blowing against it, so a gust of air would be like pouring vodka on a burning building), then jumps on it and tries to smash it while Iron Man tries to push it out of the way. No matter how much power they expend, it keeps falling. Hulk only manages to smash a semi-sized fragment, and Iron Man admits that this one is just too big; even the combined strength of Iron Man and Thor isn't doing anything. Iron Man's not giving up, but he admits that it's hopeless. After the titles and a commercial break (where I was forced to watch a Marvel Mash-Up, ugh), the meteor's still falling, but a grid pattern begins to glow on it. It's not Iron Man's doing, because he orders JARVIS to scan it and see what the heck's happening. Before that gets anywhere, the meteor explodes in a flash of light, and millions upon millions of cube-shaped meteor fragments fall to the ground. Oh, great, Earth's still doomed. 

Basically, if I may reintroduce those pesky "real-world physics," when an object falls from space to Earth, it quickly gains speed and friction occurs, generating heat. Now, a meteor the size of at least Manhattan has been split apart into millions of pieces, creating more surface area and thus more friction. With the incredible amount of friction that must now be occurring, the world is most certainly doomed to perish from a staggering increase of global temperatures, starting with New York City. In fact, all the warm air being generated should quickly rise into the air, bringing gale-force winds into New York causing problems with that, as well. Thanks for nothing, whoever split apart that meteor. What do you think this is, a Michael Bay movie? And finally, we still have to deal with the little problem of GOLFBALL-SIZED ROCKS LITERALLY RAINING ON NEW YORK CITY. Yeah, I think that's going to be a problem, too. Basically, a doomsday scenario has been traded out for a different doomsday scenario that also comes with a couple minor catastrophes.

Well, while we're waiting for the impending apocalypse, let's see how the rest of the episode goes. Cap lands the jet next to the other Avengers and asks, "What just happened?" while Thor picks up one of the cubes, noticing the atomic whirl on the side. After the Avengers begin WTF-ing, Widow notices a caped-guy standing on a pile of meteor rubble in the hands-on-hips pose.

Black Widow: "I don't think he's from around here."

This caped hero salutes, winks, and flies off with a sonic boom.

Hmm, he looks familiar, but I can't put my finger on it...
Hawkeye: "Did that dude just wink at me?"
Hulk: "YUP."

Then Hawkeye straightens up into a pose that can really only mean one thing: No Homo. 

Um...  moving on, we cut to Avengers Tower the next day. Tony briefs the others on this new hero calling himself "Hyperion." Plugging volcanoes, rescuing kids from fires, he seems like a good guy. Falcon tells the others that he's been analyzing Hyperion for weeks; he's incalculably strong, has heat vision, flight, invulnerability, the works. Hulk's not impressed, and neither is Hawkeye, who wonders about his aim. Yes, it seems Hawkeye's worried about the length of his arrow, if you know what I mean. Cap points out that it has to be good if he diced up a meteor with his eyes. Hawkeye says they should recruit him.

Hulk: "YOU JUST LIKE HIM 'CAUSE HE WINKED AT YOU."

Okay, is this show trying to insinuate that Hawkeye's in the closet? 
Let's see:
*  over-defensive of receiving a wink from another man
*  wonders about this guy's "aim" while pointing an arrow at his picture
*  being strangely eager to have him join the team, despite earlier comments
*  Hulk's remark 

I'll wait for further evidence....

Black Widow, meanwhile, is wondering about Hyperion's loyalties. After all, it'd be pretty hard to tell this guy "no." As that sinks in, we cut to C-List villain "The Wrecker" (about 1/2 as powerful as Thor; similar powers, and uses a magic crowbar) attempting to rob an armored car. The Avengers show up, and a fight ensues. And by "fight," I mean "Hyperion shows up and smacks him down."  He does this by deliberately almost hitting him with the armored car (which still has people in it, as noticed by the wary Avengers). Wrecker quickly and wisely surrenders after Hyperion tells Wrecker that next time he won't miss. Hyperion thanks the Avengers for their help, and zooms away into the sky. 

We cut to Hawkeye watching TV, where J. Jonah Jameson praises Hyperion's no-nonsense attitude. Cap changes the channel, to Hawkeye's annoyance. Geez, why does Hawkeye want to watch Hyperion so badly? Oh, wait...  okay, adding that to the list:
*wants to watch a show bad mouthing himself and praising Hyperion.

Cap says that finding Hyperion's just become a priority, and Falcon's apparently tracked his position; a moot point, seeing as how his Flying Fortress of Solitude just appeared above them, and man is it huge. The Avengers pay him a visit, and Hawkeye's impressed with his "clubhouse." 

Hyperion: "Ah! The Avengers! I am Hyperion! Hi!"
Hawkeye: "'Hi?' Seriously?" 

Oh, just start making out already, guys, there's probably art of it already on the internet, even though I couldn't find any. Um, not that I was looking...? Anyway, Falcon makes fun of the statue he's building under his breath, and Hyperion good-naturedly responds that he wants to build an image to strike fear into the hearts of criminals. Iron Man tells Falcon that he should add Super-Hearing to the list of powers. Hyperion reveals that he's being studying the Avengers from afar, which sounds creepy until it's noted that the Avengers have been doing the exact same thing. Hmm, an interesting point to bring up, show. Kudos.

They tell Hyperion that they want to know his story, and Hyperion reveals that he's the last survivor of a distant world. He was the planet's champion, until their own corruption led to them destroying themselves. He made his way to Earth, and hopes to transform it into a crime-free paradise. (Amusingly enough, he shows visuals by telling his computer to show File E-712. In the comics, Hyperion is from Earth-712. Yes, I knew that off the top of my head, stop making fun.) He also takes a second to admire Thor's cape. ...okay. Using his super-hearing, Hyperion notices the Wrecker escaping, and goes to put a stop to that... permanently. He also cheerfully tells the Avengers to make themselves at home. 

As Hyperion fires his heat vision to kill Wrecker, Iron Man blocks it, though the force knocks him off the bridge they're all on. Hulk rescues him, and Hyperion cheerfully tells Hulk "Well done!" and just as cheerfully tells Iron Man that he might want to avoid his eye beamsBONK, as Cap's shield hits him in the face.

Cap tells him that heroes don't kill, but Hyperion disagrees, saying it's for the greater good. Cap won't back down from his ideals, though, and Hyperion declares that what happened to his planet will happen here unless he destroys the Avengers. A fight ensues, as Hyperion shrugs off everything Iron Man throws at him. The other Avengers evacuate the bridge as Cap keeps Hyperion busy. Dang, this is getting intense. Hulk joins in after Hyperion speechifies a bit more, knocking him into the Hudson, before he heat visions Hulk in the face. Thor zaps Hyperion, and swings his hammer. Astonishingly, Hyperion grabs it with one hand. HOLY CRAP. Then he steals Thor's cape and throws him into a satellite.

Just...  wow.  I would pay to see this in Avengers 2, no joke.

JJJ tells the panicked crowds of NYC over the jumbotron that Hyperion is a menace, to which Hyperion responds by breaking the jumbotron, telling the crowd that he's not their enemy. A little kid throws a rock at him, yelling that he hurt the Hulk. To this, Hyperion grabs this 10-year old by the collar and flies in the air.

Hyperion: "Must I save you, even from yourselves!?"

He clearly gets ready to throw the kid at the ground, when Cap's shield hits him in the face again. The kid's saved by Falcon, and runs off, hilariously saying, "Thanks, Hawkeye!"

At least he got the continuity right, can you imagine if he called him "Hawkman?"
Cap orders Hyperion to stand down, and Hyperion (wearing Thor's cape) says "That's what they said on my planet too!" Something clicks in Iron Man's head, and he flies off. Falcon flashbombs Hyperion, to take out his enhanced senses, and Hyperion retaliates by ripping his wing-harness off. Hawkeye tells him to go limp, and returns the favor from the start of the episode by shooting him with a goo arrow to cushion the fall, then freezing Hyperion with another arrow. Hyperion smashes out, cutting up Hawkeye's face with ice. Hyperion and Cap keep tussling while Cap speechifies, and Hyperion realizes that all of it was a distraction. He flies off to his citadel, and Tony keeps doing what he's been doing: hacking into Hyperion's super-computer. 

Um, the Avengers may need a new Iron Man soon....
Hyperion shows up and hits him around a bit. Iron Man distracts Hyperion by talking so that JARVIS can keep hacking. Hyperion reveals that he chose to come to Earth to take it over as their protector. Iron Man takes out his citadel's flight stabilizer, and Hyperion whales on him for a bit.

JARVIS finally hacks into the systems, showing that Hyperion actually enslaved his homeworld. Hyperion freaks out, blaming his planet for everything, but Iron Man figures out that Hyperion destroyed his own planet when they refused to let him "protect" them.

Hyperion: "They wouldn't listen!"

Iron Man makes the Captain Kirk speech that humans need freedom more than paradise, and the Avengers show up. Hawkeye launches a distraction arrow (which has BANG pop out on a flag), and Thor smacks down Hyperion from space, taking him out and taking back his cape. Cut to JJJ praising the Avengers on a TV at... hey! The Avengers are back at the shawarma  place from the end of the movie! That's awesome! Anyway, Widow disinfects Hawkeye's face, as he's all like "I can't believe I wanted him to join us."

Widow: "We were all taken in. Power can be... seductive."

Add that to the list:
*Widow using the word "seductive" when talking to Hawkeye about their admiration of Hyperion

They all sum up the ending, and Tony hits a button on the remote control, showing Hyperion in a super-jail swearing revenge. Thor throws his hammer at the TV, and in the background, Tony hands money over to the cashier. Thor makes a small rousing speech, and ends it with a wink at Hawkeye, who gets defensive again. Thor downs his drink, smashes it, and demands "ANOTHER!" Tony hands his wallet to the cashier, and the episode ends.

Review
I made a lot of fun, but this episode was great.

The beats were nicely paced, the plot was excellent, and the action scenes were exciting, and kind of shocking at times (like when he's about to kill a 10-year-old. I mean, dang.) I'm actually wondering if this was originally conceived as an episode of the previous series, because the tone, content, and parody/pastiche is much more mature, subtle, and nuanced than what I've been seeing in the earlier episodes of this series. Hopefully, this is evidence of the series beginning to find its footing instead of being a fluke. And to think I thought that the series jumped the shark with the third episode. You may have noticed it, but yes, Hyperion is a pastiche of Superman, just like in the comics.

The episode is an interesting reversal of "What's So Funny About Truth, Justice, and the American Way?", where Superman had to defend his "boy scout" ideals against darker, more violent heroes. In this episode, the Avengers have to defend their "boy scout" ideals against what is essentially a darker, more violent Superman.

This episode is quite excellent, and I would say that so far, it's the best episode of the series and certainly a memorable part of Marvel history. I highly recommend this episode to anyone.
Also... I may be reading too much into the whole Hawkeye thing, but...  I don't know, watch and judge for yourself. 

Like I said, I'm not planning on doing more recaps of Avengers Assemble, but I will say this: If the rest of the episodes are this good, this will be a truly memorable series. The first few episodes were "meh," but that might be growing pains. I certainly hope so. Until next time, Avengers.... disassemble!

(8/6/2013 Edit):
I can now confirm that at least 1 person has found this page by searching for "Hawkeye/Hyperion."  Yep, I totally knew they were being shipped together.

2 comments:

  1. When Hyperion was playing vids of the Avengers around them, I noticed that Hawkeye showed up in like all of them XD

    Great review, love your attention to all the little details.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Glad you enjoy! I figure that if it's on the screen, they must've thought it was good enough to stand up to criticism. So who am I to not criticize everything I see?

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