Friday, November 28, 2014

Review: Avengers: EMH "Breakout, Parts 1 & 2"

It feels so darn good to be talking about this show again. It's like an early Christmas present. Let's get crackin'!

A simple one, but a good one. The actual story can be summed up in one sentence. All the supervillains break out, and a team assembles to take down the most dangerous villain. There's quite a lot of stuff that has to be set up, though, even taking the Micro-Episodes into account.

Part one of the story is the set up. It starts off as just another day, then thing get bad. After spending an episode running damage control, things get worse once Graviton arrives. And in the second part, things get worse once Graviton shows up. From there, part two is a gigantic fight scene interspersed with enough plot development to explain the situation and get all the Avengers in the fight.

And you know what? That's not a bad thing this time. Sure, I've often complained about really long fight scenes in these shows before, but this episode earns it. All the fighting in the premiere flows organically. The plot never stops just so we can have a fight, but the fights flow naturally from the story. And that's how it should be.

Not only that, but there was a lot of buildup to these episodes. Twenty Micro-Episodes, to be presice. So in this case, the intense action allows for a lot of catharsis. Like the anticipation followed by the firework. And when there's no action going on, we get either plot or character development. These episodes are very light on filler.

I feel I need to address something. Yes, I've been criticizing Avengers Assemble for the bodycount. Specifically, how they go out of their way to make sure barely anyone gets hurt. In this episode, it's basically implied that a good chunk of Brooklyn was absolutely destroyed, casualties and all. I actually prefer this. Because it shows that there are stakes. There are lives at risk. Monsters attacking New York shouldn't be "standard protocol," it should be an emergency situation. And here, it feels like the Avengers prevented the apocalypse, instead of a gang fight.

These episodes merge together the classic Avengers origin with the origin of the New Avengers. The original Avengers teamed up to fight the Hulk because of Loki's trickery before teaming up with the Hulk to defeat Loki himself. The New Avengers teamed up to fight a massive supervillain breakout at the Raft.

Spider-Man and Dardevil were there, too. Not so much in this show.
The inclusion of the supervillain breakout just makes the world feel so full and real. Seeing so many supervillains truly makes it look like the entire Marvel universe has been stuffed into one cartoon. And I love it.

Iron Man
He gets a good deal of character development. He starts off as the self-absorbed loner who only works against villains who steal his tech, but realizes that not only does he have a greater purpose, but he can't go at it alone.

Actually, he doesn't get much character development. But he's still pretty three-dimensional. But nothing's changed since his Micro-Episodes; he wants to stay on Earth and protect it.

Sorry, Bruce. I'll miss you.

But the monster who hides from the world finally gets to stretch his legs and become accepted by a small group of heroes. And that's a step in the right direction for Hulk.

Though Ant-Man is a pacifist at heart, we see that he does have his limits. And even then, he's all about stopping the fight, not beating up the villain.

Her power is to literally get smaller and weaker, but she more than makes up for it with her chutzpah. Despite all the things I've said about her, she is easily the heart of the team. Her reaction when she sees the Hulk sums it all up. She sees him help save the day, gets confused for a second, then helps him without a second thought.

Even when on the run, he's still a hero.

Black Widow
We only see her shortly before the mass breakout is she to blame? Dun-dun-dunnn!

Nick Fury
Shady dealings and creating villains? What is he, the Nick Fury from Ultimate Spider-Man? He's the same as ever. Professional, tough, and uncompromising.

First and foremost, he got a much needed makeover.

Guess what decade Graviton's from. Here a hint: It's the 70's.
Not only does he make a good threat, he makes a good cautionary tale regarding joining S.H.I.E.L.D. It makes sense why the heroes wouldn't join Fury if this was an example of what could happen. So he's not so much a character as a plot device.

Interestingly enough, Magneto and Dr. Doom were being tossed around as possible threats, but the writers decided that it wouldn't make sense for the Avengers to assemble to fight a threat that other teams (X-Men, Fantastic Four) had defeated countless times.

All in all, an amazing start to the show. Good plot, good characters, good action, and the animation was as good as ever. Next time, we'll find out if the Avengers can keep themselves from killing each other. See you then!

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