Monday, October 6, 2014

Review: Avengers: EMH "Michael Korvac"

Is this a good episode? Is this a good introduction? Is Wasp learning her lesson? Let's examine, shall we?

Season 2 was described as the "Cosmic" season, with numerous appearances by the Kree and Skrulls as well as the addition of the cosmically-powered Ms. Marvel to the team. This episode has nothing to do with the overall story arc of the season, but still serves as an enjoyable stand-alone episode. Even though this episode is what you might call "filler." But it's good filler, dang it. Like a Hot Pocket.

I've spoken about the Avengers numerous times already; "Iron Man is written well, Wasp is written well," blah blah blah. None of them are any different than usual in this episode. Well, apart from Cap. ...Because he's not in this episode. Why? What did you think I meant?

Even so, let's talk about Janet.

This is the episode after she chews Hank out big time (which will help lead to his eventual breakdown). And what do we find her doing? Talking to Ms. Marvel. But more than that, she's finally gaining some self-awareness. The thought that maybe she needs to become a better person has begun to cross her mind. Now, as it is, Hank and Jan's shared subplot about their issues ends poorly, what with Hank being mentally unstable and all.

If this series hadn't ended after this season, their relationship may have finally begun to patch up (possibly after rejecting Hank for being worse than she is), but we don't get that luxury. While I will praise this episode for taking a step in the right direction, I still wish they could have wrapped their story up completely in Season 3.

Michael Korvac
In the comics, Michael is a cyborg from another dimension who travels to the Marvel universe and... it's complicated. But the gist of it is that he's a conqueror of worlds.

He's also much taller in person.
His simplified characterization and back story in this episode are both good, if standard, bits of comic book fare. Alien experimentation, great power, great insanity, et cetera.

Even though the episode is named after him, his story is only the means to an end. Said end being a team-up between the Avengers and the Guardians. While Korvac's tragic origin isn't anything particularly special, I think any more than this would take away from showcasing the two teams. As odd as it sounds, it's a good thing that Korvac doesn't get more focus than this. The episode already has to introduce aliens, a raccoon, and a tree. Sometimes, you have to decide what your episode is about and simplify the rest.

(Speaking of the Guardians, I'll go over them at the end of this Review.)

Good as ever. Nothing to really say in this area, except that the Jack Kirby art influence makes the space scenes absolutely gorgeous to look at. What can I say? I love me some Kirby Dots!

It's exactly what you'd expect from a Marvel crossover of any sort; it hits all the regular beats.
  • Character/team ends up doing their schtick in another character/team's turf.
  • Due to some sort of misunderstanding, the two characters/teams fight.
  • Characters/teams reconcile, then team up to kick butt..
Rinse and repeat, and you've got the formula for almost every issue of Marvel Team-Up. (Though DC is certainly guilty of using this formula, too.)

But this isn't a bad thing. It may use the old formula, but it does it with style. It's less of a cliche and more of a throwback to the old team-ups in the classic Marvel manner.

Amusingly enough, that alternate universe that I mentioned the comic-version Korvac coming from is the home of, you guessed it, the original Guardians of the Galaxy. What better way to introduce the  modern team than to loosely adapt their appearance in the Korvac Saga?

An excellent introduction to them. We learn who they are and what they do. Unfortunately, they don't show up again. At least, not in this show.

As it is, this version is a fairly-faithful adaptation of the then-present team. Making the characters line up with the film portrayal wasn't a priority because there was no film portrayal at that time. But whether you're going back and watching them now, or watching them in 2012, this episode showcases them excellently. My only complaint is that we didn't have more of them before the show got axed. Well, and I also like Star-Lord's film costume better.

But this was a solid stand-alone episode, and a solid animated premiere for the Guardians of the Galaxy.

We'll see the Avengers next time as the invasion gets tense, and we'll see the Guardians guest star in Ultimate Spider-Man.

See you then, and see you then!

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