|Along with the fact that the Doctor also likes to taste random things.|
Yeah, it’s one big spiel today.
The episode was based on Avengers #274-277, known as “Avengers Under Siege.” Attack the mansion, defeat the Avengers, et cetera. Of course, that version of the team had, like, eighteen members in an attempt to defeat the Avengers through sheer numbers. The approach here is a bit more nuanced.
The actual Masters lineup (though the team is never called that in this episode) owes a lot to multiple incarnations of the team. Baron Zemo, Enchantress, and Executioner are classic members, but Crimson Dynamo was from the Heroes Reborn incarnation while Abomination was only a member in the Marvel Adventures line. Still, they’re a diverse crew, and I like how different they all are, like their counterpoint team.
As for the episode’s setup, it’s a classic situation that goes with any team. The most competent/strongest/etc. team members are out of commission, so the day has to be saved by the other guys.
|Sometimes, quite literally.|
Ant-Man got a chance to prove that when push comes to shove, he will mess you up. I mean, he was doing pretty well against the Masters of Evil by himself for a bit.
Hawkeye and Black Panther, on the other hand, are relatively new recruits without flashy powers or an ongoing subplot. So giving them a chance to save the others lets them show the audience why they should be on the same team as Cap, Iron Man, Hulk, and Thor.
But alongside that, we got a look at what makes the Masters different from the Avengers.
Teamwork vs. Working Together
The Avengers are often likened to a family, but they’re not quite at that point yet. Their roster changes a lot, and there are still a few trust issues to work out.
|And Iron Man's probably a bit sensitive about being the shortest member without the ability to shrink.|
Unfortunately, the plan to eliminate the Avengers was more than a bit lacking. There was simply no reason for Baron Zemo to keep any Avenger alive after defeating them. But no, he kept going on about victory, unimaginable power, unlimited rice pudding, et cetera while completely failing to ensure his own victory.
|Baron Zemo might actually be a worse villain than Syndrome.|
|“Defeat you? Zemo, we’re not Indiana Jones, we don’t make it up as we go.|
We brought Ant-Man here thirty-five minutes ago.”
|"Well, time to go be a deus ex machina. See you guys later."|
Apart from Loki’s over-efficient shroud of darkness, par for the course, but I’d like to point out how good the average animation is compared to its successor. Avengers Assemble is content to have characters moving around stiffly over static backgrounds. EMH has actual cinematography. Interesting camera angles, atmospheric lighting, dynamic motion… We didn’t know what we had until it was gone.
Though I was disappointed with how this episode kind of failed to deliver after all that buildup, this is still a solid episode with good writing, acting, and animation. And in the end, seeing the Avengers fight this team of diverse villains is something that we have yet to see in the Marvel Cinematic Universe at the time of this writing.
While the Masters of Evil had appearances in Avengers: United They Stand and Marvel: Ultimate Alliance (among a couple other appearances), Avengers: EMH had the most nuanced, carefully built-up storyline involving them. So as of yet, this is the closest thing we have to an MCU version of the Masters of Evil. And we haven’t seen the last of them.
Next time, aliens invade! Because whether they’re Kree, Chitauri, or Skrull, that’s what they do. Invading Earth is the only thing they can really agree on. See you then!