Thursday, December 4, 2014

Recap: Avengers Assemble "In Deep"

Welcome back to Avengers Assemble. This week, we get an episode that's infinitely better than "Avengers: Impossible." But, honestly, that's not saying much.

You get the Hell out of here, you pointy-eared, green-blooded hobgoblin.
The episode may be called "In Deep," but we're not as deep in the crap as we were last time.

Thank goodness.
This episode opens right up on the action, with a chase through New York City between the Avenjet Prime and... I don't know, some kind of purple jet-thing. In said purple jet is an equally purple guy named Grim Reaper, and a not-purple guy named Crossbones. Grim Reaper (whom you may remember from this Redesign I keep linking to when he shows up) has a scythe-arm, and Crossbones has pistols with skulls on the front. Because bone and/or pirate motif.

But the Avenjet Prime has a couple aces up it's sleeve, too. Namely, an odd-sounding Captain America and a stiffly moving Iron Man. After a televised crash followed by a televised scuffle in Central Park, Grim Reaper EMP's Iron Man and flies off with him and Crossbones.

Titles, commercials, and we're back.

Crossbones and Grim Reaper arrive at a seemingly-abandoned warehouse. As they drag Iron Man's limp body inside, they seem to be planning something. Crossbones warns Grim Reaper to keep "surprises" to a minimum for whatever it is. They enter a secret elevator in the warehouse, and soon arrive at the Red Skull's equally secret base. They offer Iron Man up to the Skull, and are soon shocked (perhaps... surprised!?) to discover that Red Skull's base is actually a submarine. Or a U-boat, as der Eisenkopf probably calls it. Nazi bastard.

Anyway, MODOK looks over the armor real quick and confirms that it's the real deal. Likely because this is Tony Stark we're dealing with and his armor probably smells like an old still. Heck, it probably is one. MODOK can't wait to get inside Stark's armor, but Grim Reaper tells him that won't be easy because the armor, and I swear he actually uses this word, is "awesome." Hmmm....

MODOK utterly fails to mind-control the Iron Man suit, getting unibeamed in the process by the otherwise limp armor, and MODOK orders the thing taken to his lab. After he and his AIM grunts leave, Red Skull offers the two mercenaries membership into the Cabal, even showing them the scale of the operation. As it turns out, Crimson Cranium's got quite the stockpile of ├╝berpanzers. Or super tanks, as we Americans would call them.

Crossbones and Grim Reaper start asking questions, like when they get paid, when they attack next, what powers the sub, and Red Skull grows suspicious of these mercenaries asking such nosy questions. Hmmmmmmmm....

"Hey, Skull. Is there, like, a self-destruct button of any kind?"
Anyway, vampires attack the two mercenaries. Reaper finds out his scythe-tech won't work on the sub, thanks to MODOK, and Red Skull tells the bloodsucking freaks to quit it. An alarm goes off, so the mercenaries and the Skull go to greet Attuma, the Atlantean warlord. Attuma offers some kind of shell-clad package that Red Skull refers to as a weapon, and it's clear that something's going down. Meanwhile, MODOK finally opens the Iron Man armor. It's empty, save for a poster of Iron Man mooning the camera.

MODOK: "We were tricked!"

Clad in underwear, because this is is Disney, I guess.
Meanwhile, tensions rise between the mercenaries and the Atlantean warriors as MODOK orders the fish-men to bring the human-men to the lab. Grim Reaper and Crossbones are grabbed by the Alanteans and have their masks removed, revealing them to be Captain America and Tony Stark!  Dun-dun-dunnnnn!

A fight ensues, which our heroes handily win, all the while debating the merits of well-planned... plans (Cap) versus instinct (Tony). They try to contact the other Avengers, but find themselves out of radio range, thanks to MODOK's anti-tech dampeners, which also keep Tony from summoning his armor. Cap formulates an intricate plan for escape, but Tony counters with "Plan Awesome," which is more of a goal than a plan: Sneak into MODOK's lab, get his armor.

The two escape into the air vents before Red Skull, Attuma, and assorted grunts enter the room. Already, the Cabal seems to be having problems with the chain of command, as they argue a bit over who gets to order around various troops.

Tony: "Looks like the Cabal ain't the well-oiled machine Skull made it out to be."

But Cap just wants to talk about plans and such.

Over at Avengers Tower, the best thing ever is happening. Hawkeye (who had been dressed up as Captain America while Cap and Tony were pretending to be villains in the opening of the episode) is doing his best Captain America impression.

Hawkeye: "I knew this plan a was a load of hooey. Skull must have put the knuckle down on Rogers! People, we've got Trouble with a capital T!"
Black Widow: "Worst Cap impression ever, Hawkeye."

You know, here's a question. Why is Hawkeye dressed up as Captain America? Let's ask an oddly clean-shaven Thor.

And Thor's one chance to wear a vest and tie, apparently.
Falcon, meanwhile, is tracking Cap/Tony's signal, but lost it underwater. Black Widow suggests that she, being the professional spy, should have gone, but Hawkeye points at the tied-up mercenaries in the corner.

Hawkeye: "Reaper's and Crossbones' costumes wouldn't have fit you."

Actually, now that you brought it up, how does Tony fit his hand in Reaper's costume? He's wearing a prosthetic scythe that he clearly can't hide his hand inside of. Did he cut off his hand just for this mission?
Or maybe his right wrist is just really tiny?
Actually, knowing Tony, it probably had something to do with three bottles of whiskey and a bet that Hawkeye didn't think he'd actually take.

"Fetch me a laser cutter!"
Anyway, Hulk and Thor start threatening to rough the two villains up a bit to get them to talk as we cut back to Cap and Tony. Cap wants to escape and regroup, Tony wants his armor. They run from some of MODOK's AIM goons, and Cap gives a pep talk on playing to his strengths. He throws Tony at one of the piloted robots following them, and he rewires it to attack the others.

I gotta say, I love the guy on the inside pounding on the glass, yelling "It's not me!" I mean, you know it was that guy's first day on the job. 

So, robots beaten, time to fight vampires. This goes poorly, until Tony breaks the sub's window to disguise the fact that they're hiding in another vent. The Cabal heads show up again, argue a bit more, and get back to their evil plan. Apparently, they've recovered a weapon.

Tony tells Cap that plans are all well and good for a super soldier, but all he can do is improvise. Because he's just Tony Stark.

Captain America: "The Tony Stark. Billionaire. Genius."

You forgot "playboy philanthropist."

Captain America: "You're as tough as they come. You invented hardcore."

Well, there was that DVD he made with the Black Widow... That's not a joke. Look it up; Ultimates 3.

Back with the villains, Red Skull gleefully holds his new weapon, which is this glowy, gnarly trident. Apparently, it used to belong to Neptune and gives you control over the oceans. Seeing this, Tony comes up with a plan.

Tony: "Get caught."

Ten outta ten, Stark.

They surrender to the Cabal, but there's more to the plan. But for now, Red Skull tests out the trident by letting ocean water into his ship and tosses the heroes around.

Red Skull: "Three-quarters of the Earth is now the Cabal's to control."

More like 2/3, but I'm being pedantic.

"Do you think Ocean Master will mind if I steal his schtick?"
Suddenly, Cap punches Tony in the face. Before you wonder if I mistyped that, he winks at Tony, signifying that he's improvising a plan, or he likes him likes him. Tony joins in, and the two fight, to the Skull's glee. Tony makes a remark about how Skull and Cap are leeching off of MODOK and himself, respectively, and this leads MODOK to claim the trident. Then Attuma decides he wants it.

MODOK: "You're a fishmonger!"

Okay, that's hilarious to me, but only because I have an English degree. See, "fishmonger" is a little bit of Elizabethan slang that I don't think was intentional. If it was, I salute whoever slipped that past the censors.

Back to the episode, Tony shorts out MODOK's tech-dampener, puts on his armor the same way as in Iron Man 3 (complete with jumping upside down to get the faceplate on), and the scuffle ends when Captain America breaks Neptune's trident. Unfortunately, this invites Neptune's wrath, creating a gigantic maelstrom which is probably creating tsunamis somewhere. Oops.

Iron Man blasts a way out of the sub, and they fly partway to safety before being rescued by the Avenjet (Cap called them in when the tech-dampener was destroyed). Cap is weirded out by Hawkeye still wearing his costume, Tony learned about planning, Cap learned about instinct, and the Cabal is probably entirely dead. And Grim Reaper and Crossbones probably are, too, because we never saw them after Thor and Hulk threatened to rough them up a bit.

Also, that whirlpool is probably causing floods and tsunamis, as well as screwing up ocean currents, therefore screwing up climates. So... job well done, I guess?

...Let's review?


  1. What does the Marvel Animated Universe have against love interests? I mean no Peter and MJ, no Betty, no Pepper from what I've seen and now not even Sin (Are she and Crossbones still together in the comics? If not, forget about that last part)

    1. Well, I'm planning on going into detail in another post, but I think it has to do with the idea that the focus seems to be predominantly on single-episode, single lesson conflicts that lend themselves to lots of fighting. When you introduce love interests, then things get complicated and you have to do more than create fight scenes.

    2. You know, come to think of it, maybe it's because they figure little kids (who are the only people that watch cartoons, you know) find love icky

    3. I respectfully disagree. Earth's Mightiest Heroes gave us Hank and Jan, who had a complex, interesting relationship despite never having any real "Oh, gross, they're kissing" moments to alienate this hypothetical audience.

    4. You don't necessarily need to tell a "love story." I can't believe I'm bringing this up, but look at Ultimate Spider-Man. You need look no further than White Tiger to see how a non-lovey-dovey love interest could be written.

    5. I'm not saying that's my opinion, I'm just saying what I think the guys in charge (the same guys who think people won't find Bruce Banner interesting despite being the only thing that makes Hulk interesting) think

    6. Right. And though I don't like to throw words around like "wrong," I think the showrunners have been taking the wrong approach. (Though the MAU has been improving since Man of Action got kicked upstairs to producing.)