Monday, November 10, 2014

Recap: Avengers Assemble "Molecule Kid"

Does anyone else think that Beta-Ray Bill and the Molecule Kid sound like characters in a Space Western?


Yeah, I'm stalling. I haven't been looking forward to this one. I don't remember if it's good or bad, I just remember that it's absolutely infuriating. Let's go.

Wasn't Molecule Kid a member of the Legion of Super Heroes?
The episode opens on a carnival, where a bored Sam Wilson (Falcon) looks on while Clint Barton (Hawkeye) plays one of those Hit-the-Bottles-Win-a-Prize games over and over, winning a pile of Hulk teddy bears. After Sam walks away out of boredom, Clint gets lassoed and dragged onto a nearby roof by Black Widow.

Well, it's about goshdarned time, writers!

Black Widow has only shown up sporadically since the premiere, which is a far cry from the exposure the character had in the last show she was in. I'm just glad she's in an episode where she's not the victim. Cough. Blood Feud. Cough. But I guess she's been working with S.H.I.E.L.D. while she's been gone, because she's got a mission for Hawkeye.

Black Widow: "He's back." 
Hawkeye: "Who's back?"

The man behind the mask? And he's out of control?

Black Widow: "Molecule Man." 
Hawkeye: "Molecule Man?" 

And we enter a flashback. Hawkeye flashes back so far, he ends up thinking about Avengers: EMH. No, that's not a joke, that's what actually happens. The flashback is animated in the costumes and styles of Avengers: EMH.

You thought I was kidding?
According to the writing staff, this little "Easter Egg" was meant as a love letter to the fans of that show, while also allowing the possibility that these two shows were connected.

First of all, these shows are not connected. See this post. 

Second of all, while this was no doubt done with the best of intentions, it kind of just serves to rub salt in the wounds of everyone who preferred EMH. All they're doing is reminding us of something we'd rather be watching.

Still, I can't really fault the writers. I mean, let's face it. After the cancellation of EMH, they were working uphill to win fans over. I get what they were trying to do, and I can't hate them for it... but I don't like it, either. Another problem is that the EMH characters have their AA voice actors. It kind of ruins the moment. Another thing that ruins the moment? The Captain America in the flashback is the Season 2 imposter (sorry, spoilers). You can tell because he's wearing the Ultimate Captain America outfit, not the classic one. No, you're nitpicking!

Back to the actual episode, Hawkeye is flashing back to a big fight with Molecule Man.

Wait, what?
 Um, no. Not that one.

Now that's an obscure reference.
Not that one either.

That's the one. Still pretty obscure, though.
Anyway, Hawkeye defeated Molecule Man by firing an arrow at his Matter-Control Wand, knocking it into a sewer.

Iron Man: "Great shot. Thanks for keeping me from being able to dissect the invention of the century." 
Hawkeye: "Sorry."

In the present, Hawkeye wants to get the others in on this mission, but Widow tells him that it needs to stay between the two of them. Because Tony Stark is not stable enough to be allowed to know the wand is still out there. No, really.

Black Widow: "Fury's orders. Our mission is to secure the tech. Tech Fury thought was destroyed. Tech Fury thinks would be far too dangerous in the hands of an inventor with Stark's curiosity."

Sam chooses this moment to burst in on them and ask what's going on, and they both tell different lies that they quickly amalgamate together into a weak story about a "surprise poker party." Sam doesn't believe them, but he's stopped caring and goes back to the carnival, much like I would rather be doing as well.

The hunt is on! Naturally, they carry out their search by jumping across rooftops instead of utilizing their hoverbikes, or S.H.I.E.L.D. resources, or anything logical like that. Also, they banter.

Hawkeye: "P.S. I can take a mission un-seriously and still ace it."

I've tried to convince my boss at work of the same thing. It has not worked so far.

Surprisingly enough, Widow finds exactly who they're looking for because, get this, there's a guy wearing a hoodie in the teal/pink color scheme of the Molecule Man. I don't know if she's genre savvy or if she just read the script. Hawkeye aims a knockout arrow, but Widow kicks it out of his hand, alerting the target. She claims that they need to get the wand then stop the guy, but that's. Just. dumb. That's like saying you need to slice the cow into steaks before you kill it! But if she didn't stop Hawkeye from taking the shot, we wouldn't have an episode.

The Hoodie-Guy runs into an alley as goons of the Advanced Idea Mechanics chase him and try to subdue him.

Hoodie-Guy: "You're not taking my dad's wand!" 
Black Widow: "That's not Molecule Man." 
Hawkeye: "More like Molecule Kid."

And we have a title.

The kid turns the nearby buildings into pudding, and our heroes and the AIM goons get stuck in it.

"Eat pudding! ...I mean the road-goo, not, like, Jell-O."
After the titles (boy, that was a long teaser), our heroes manage to free themselves as the Kid gets stuck in his own trap. A three-way fight commences, and havoc is raised as Molecule Kid makes his escape. Black Widow and Hawkeye get into her flying car, and give chase, dodging the Kid's blasts. But eventually, he knocks some asphalt into their car, crashing it into the Bugletron. He then makes a tower of cars and yells at the heroes to leave him alone. More chasing, more wandy-zapping, more revelations. Apparently, MK doesn't trust anyone after the "good guys" locked his dad up forever.

Hawkeye: "He does have a point."

Not really. His dad got sent to jail for breaking the law, not just because he had a wandy-thing.  Anyway, the kid escapes again.

Hawkeye: "Can you just mommy-talk him before he destroys the city?" 
Black Widow: "'Mommy-talk?' You did not just say that with me positioned to kick you in many painful places."

But, Widow, it's actually a good idea. What's this kid scared of? Authority. What to you keep yelling at him like? A cop. What's this kid missing? Parents. Figure it out.

Hawkeye's suggestion, though missing tact, is actually a very good one. Just talk to the kid! Put down your weapons and talk to him. Heck, call up Fury and get the Sandwich Club over here! Spider-Man's whole Season 3 schtick is recruiting other teens with powers! Or you can both be idiots, whichever.  They corner him again.

Black Widow: "Gimme the wand or else!"

Unsurprisingly, the Kid turns the ground into honey and runs away. But as Hawkeye brings up from an earlier plot point, the wand has no power over organic materials. Logically, they're stuck in artificial honey-like sweetener. Luckily, Captain America noticed the fighting earlier and helps them out. Widow explains that they need to keep this out of Tony's hands, and Cap quickly understands. Unfortunately, while Black Widow and Hawkeye continue to bicker, Molecule Kid gets abducted by the Super-Adaptoid.

Hawkeye: "Now it's a party."

You and Hawkeye remember parties very differently.
The flying Adaptoid lands in the street and starts running... for some reason. Why didn't it just stay in the air? Oh, right, because the plot says so, like every single other thing that happens in this episode. The three heroes manage to stall it long enough to save the ungrateful kid (who thanks Captain America by tying him up in a street lamp), and Falcon shows up to help.

The Adaptoid stops, apropos of nothing, and MODOK's face appears on the robot's chest for no other reason than to rip off Arnim Zola from the comics.

If you're going to steal your style from a Nazi, at least wear some Hugo Boss.
The Avengers resume fighting and rescuing the Molecule Kid. Cap and Falcon take the Adaptoid, Widow and Hawkeye go off to help the kid. And Widow even tries talking to him. Unfortunately, Hawkeye appears and it's not so much Good Cop/Bad Cop as it is Motherly Cop/Rebel Cop.

Unfortunately, this kid comes from a broken home with an absent mother and villainous father, and this was the trigger. He uses the wand to zap all of New York into an Escheresque limbo.

"Hey, Widow. Is everything getting wibbly, or do I need to get new prescriptions?"
"Your glasses or your pills?
And just as things couldn't possibly get worse....

Iron Man: "Looks like you need a hand."

He lightly blasts the kid, and everything goes back to normal. Tony takes the wand and wants to know what's been going on while geeking out about what he could accomplish. But before he can do anything, Molecule Kid grabs it back, so Iron Man just up and breaks the darn thing. New York gets zapped again, and...hmmm.

Didn't Homer Simpson come here in one of those Treehouse of Horror Specials?
MODOK sucks the power into the Adaptoid and begins making a black hole to destroy the Avengers.

MODOK is way into those sparklers.
But the Molecule Kid grabs the wand halves, sticks them together, and defeats MODOK. But the switch in his brain gets flipped, and now they need to pep talk the Kid into fixing reality. After some moping, and a bit of "With great power...", Molecule Kid fixes everything while the Avengers fend off the Adaptoid. Everything goes back to normal, but S.H.I.E.L.D. arrives on the scene. Fury yells at Iron Man and Black Widow, and for some reason, there's a lesson about trust. Molecule Kid gets an offer, as well.

Hawkeye: "S.H.I.E.L.D.'s got a program training high school recruits, right, Nicky?"

Nick Fury doesn't say "yes," though.

Nick Fury: "We'll discuss it over lunch on the Tri-Carrier."

Seeing as how there are super-villains imprisoned on the Tri-Carrier, and we never see Molecule Kid again, I'd say that this kid was taken into custody about five minutes later.

Widow and Hawkeye fistbump and the episode ends.

Time to review this episode of Ultimate Spider-Man, I mean, Avengers Assemble.


  1. Molecule Man, Molecule Man, doing the things a molecule can! What's he like? It's not important. Molecule Man.

    - That One Anon

    1. Is he made from atoms? Of course he is you idiot Can he combine into organisms? I don't think so how would he? Look out! It's Molecule Man

  2. "You and Hawkeye remember parties very differently."

    Why, of course one wakes up intoxicated after it in someone's bed with a male spanish prostitute named Juan while wearing a mini-skirt... and Black Widow's the designated driver

  3. Ever considered reviewing non-comic book based hero cartoons? Danny Phantom, Ben 10?

    1. Yes, actually. But there are a few obstacles in my path
      1. I'd be starting from scratch, because I've never seen most of them.
      2. I'm already doing, like, twenty shows.
      3. No one's asked before.

      But who knows what next year will bring? I'm planning on recapping a show I've been teasing, a bunch of short cartoons, and a couple other surprises. You might be pleasantly surprised in 2015....

    2. And now that it's over a year later, I can safely say that you were probably not pleasantly surprised if you were hoping for Ben 10 or Danny Phantom within the past year.


    3. Don't apologize, I never do.

      Seriously though, eh. C'est la vie.

      If I dare make small suggestion for future though? Secret Saturdays.

      1) It's only 36 episodes long (I'm assuming you prefer watching whole show before making recaps.) 2) They guest star in Ben 10 later, so you'll be prepared for that. 3) It's an underrated gem and more people need to know about it and you deserve to watch it.

    4. Generally, yes, I do prefer to watch an entire show before I do recaps. I attempted weekly, up-to-date recaps of Beware the Batman and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but changed my mind very quickly.

      I prefer to do research into the behind-the-scenes stuff, which is always easier after about one season into any given show. (And my initially sluggish pace for recapping Agents of SMASH and Beware the Batman made me realize this.)

      But yeah, I was looking at Secret Saturdays as a potential replacement for Gravity Falls, once I've finished recapping that. Thanks for the suggestion!