Monday, April 27, 2015

Recap: Avengers Assemble "The Ambassador"

Before I close out Avengers April with a super-secret Recap/Review, I'll take another look at Avengers Assemble.

When we last left our heroes.... they were diddly-bopping around for two episodes, apparently unconcerned by the fact that an alien with nigh-godlike powers had just been unleashed.

Let's continue that theme as we put the "ass" in ambassador.
Our episode begins with J. Jonah Jameson ranting about protesters protesting a controversial speaker who's due to make a speech at the United Nations building.

Jameson: "And no, it's not Spider-Man! This time."

Spider-Man punched out Al Gore at the UN. It's as canon as it is awesome.
Anyway, Nick Fury takes the Avengers (minus Black Widow because she has cooties) down a heavily-secured hallway to meet with the man causing so much uproar. Doctor Doom.

Now, you might be asking why Doom is apparently coming crawling to the UN, or why the Avengers are tolerating the wishes of a war criminal.

A. You'd be surprised at the people who have spoken at the UN before. Muamar Qaddafi once rambled on for a bit in front of the assembly about how the swine flu was a man-made biological weapon, for example.
B. As Captain America points out, every citizen of the world should have the right to ask for aid for their country.
C. S.H.I.E.L.D. probably wants to curry some favor after Spider-Man caused an international incident.  

Doctor Doom is in a heavily-secured room. Playing chess. By himself. With only three pieces. Only one of which is a king.

Captain America: "You can't get anyone to play with you?"
Doctor Doom: "None that are my equal."

Yeah, because nobody's as bad as you are. Except maybe Alfred Pennyworth.

As Captain America requests that they cut to the chase, he moves a knight. This is an illegal move because his king (the only king on the board, mind you) can be taken by Doom's pawn. Failing to move the king out of check is an illegal move. Doctor Doom follows up Cap's move by taking his knight with the pawn by moving the pawn one space forward. Pawns can only take pieces diagonally.

Dear animators, Please learn to chess. Sincerely, Newt
Back to the actual plot, Cap points out that Dr. Doom asking for the Avengers to protect him whiles he gives his UN address is a bit out-of-character for the vain, isolationist, egomaniacal dictator.
Dr. Doom: "An enemy- a very dangerous enemy- has placed a price on my head. Perhaps you've heard of them. The Cabal?"

Doom explains that the Red Skull offered him a membership into his super-secret boy band, which Doom politely declined. Red Skull wants to eliminate any potential opposition, so Dr. Doom is now Skull's number one enemy.

Iron Man: "You're easily number three or four on our list."
Hawkeye: "Or two. Get it? ...number two?"

But Doom won't have any potty humor aimed at him, and flips the table in rage. A fight threatens to break out as Hulk puts Doom against the wall, but Cap brings up the good doctor's diplomatic immunity, which means that, for all intents and purposes, he's untouchable. By the law, I mean. Not like Shadowcat.

A scan of Dr. Doom's armor reveals a bunch of weaponry, so Doom deactivates it to avoid losing his precious diplomatic immunity. But this is why Dr. Doom wants the Avengers to protect him in the first place. If Doom's not allowed to be able to defend himself, then the Cabal will surely make an attempt on his life. Hence, the Avengers. They'd be there to block the bullets rescue him.

He drops the white pawn at Cap's feet and asks if they're with him, or against him.

Roll titles.

Soon enough, Cap is escorting Doom to the podium for his speech while Hulk and the others keep the protesters out. Hawkeye asks Cap over his earpiece exactly why they're going to hear out the dictator.

Captain America: "Free speech, Hawkeye."



 That's what free speech is; it gives you the right to voice your opinion. To be heard. It does not give you the right to say whatever you want to whomever you want with no consequences, but it gives you the right to, for example, request aid for your country at a UN hearing. If I actually gave these episodes a final score, there'd be some bonus points awarded for that. And points taken away from "The Incredible Spider-Hulk."

As Dr. Doom and Cap have a conversation with tension so thick, you can feel it in the air, Doom reveals that he didn't request the Avengers. He just wanted Cap. You, know the only one who isn't dysfunctional.  After Dr. Doom is formally introduced, he whips out a built-in microphone with a built-in translator to give his speech in every language.

Dr. Doom: "I allow no interpreters to mangle my words."

He begins his speech, but is quickly interrupted by the Cabal's latest member, Hyperion, smashing Iron Man through the roof.

Dr. Doom: "Doom does not run."

Fine, then. Walk to safety.

Doom knows all about Hyperion's Superman-pastiche abilities, so he uses his microphone to generate a sonic wave to render Hyperion's super-sensitive ears temporarily deaf.

Captain America: "Hyperion, stand down."
Hyperion: "What!?"
Captain America: "I said..."
Hyperion: "Speak up!"

Are they...?

Captain America: "I said, stand down!"
Hyperion: "What!?"

Somebody tell the writers that the "deaf person asking people to speak up" joke is probably older than they are.

"Superman wannabe says what?"
"Heh heh heh...."
Luckily, Thor comes in to hold Hyperion off with Iron Man while Cap gets Doom to safety. Doom insists that he won't take orders from Captain America, which Cap counters by pointing out that not only is he getting Doom to safety, but Doom asked for him by name. So he's going to do his job.

Suddenly, MODOK's Super-Adaptoid bursts in on them, but Hulk comes in to rescue them. But then, Hyperion returns. And Dr. Doom done got injured. So Cap uses a smoke bomb and disappears into the subway with Doom, heading for Avengers Tower to get him medical attention. Dr. Doom's not a real big fan of heading to the home base of his enemies, but there's no time to debate, because Dracula suddenly appears. And he's out for blood. Cap's blood. Dr. Doom grabs the vampire king's leg as well as the electric subway rail, electrocuting Dracula long enough for Thor to arrive and stall him.  The odd couple keeps going until, you guessed it, another member of the Cabal attacks. This time it's Attuma, flooding the subway yet again. And once again, two Avengers come to save them. Falcon and Hawkeye.

If that whole sequence sounded repetitive, it's only because it is. Cabal attacks. Avengers rescue. Rinse. Repeat.

As Doom and Cap escape, Doom is actually impressed at how easily the other Avengers will put themselves in danger to follow Cap's orders. This brings up the idea of "trust," "respect," and the further idea that Captain America doesn't fully trust Dr. Doom. Somehow, some way, Doom is still in control of things. And Cap knows it.

But enough of that. The Red Skull finally shows up to blast Cap in the back before setting his sights on Dr. Doom. Words are exchanged, blasts are fired, and it seems as thou Doom isn't injured after all as he picks up Captain America's shield to defend himself. But the various fights between Avengers and Cabal... ers has come to the surface.

The full-on battle rages as Doom leaps in to save Captain America.

Dr. Doom: "Never presume to lecture Doom... on how to earn respect."

Just a little bit. Just a little bit.

The Avengers hold off the Cabal as Cap piggybacks Doom to the tower, where the plot-convenience energy shield activates, repelling the Cabal.  But as soon as Doom is safe inside Avengers Tower, he reveals that he's absolutely fine. He overrides the security and explains his plan to the now-captive Captain America.

I like this screencap more than I probably should.
He knew Red Skull would come after him, so he crated a plan to get inside the tower: Captain America.

Dr. Doom: "A man who accomplishes miracles through sheer will alone."

He knew he could count on Cap to be a goody-good and get him back to the tower for medical attention. And now that he's here, he downloads Tony Stark's pre-play algorithms so he and the Red Skull can be on equal footing. And some S.H.I.E.L.D. codes. And weapon designs. And probably Stark's credit card numbers.

And he does it with a ten-dollar USB drive from Best Buy.
But the other Avengers return to save the day! Which is too bad, because Doom finishes downloading the data and teleports away.

Back at Castle Doom, Dr. Doom looks at his downloaded data... only to pull up a Skype call from the Avengers, who expected Doom to pull something like this. They put this program into the data banks disguised as sensitive data, and Doom took the bait.

Dr. Doom: "You could simply have not brought me into your tower."
Captain America: "You were still under diplomatic immunity. I had no proof."

That's... really clever. Like, in all seriousness. They couldn't oppose him over something he hadn't done yet...

There's a different branch of law-enforcement in charge of that.
...but they could still set a trap. I give the Marvel Animated Universe a lot of crap, but that was a legitimately clever solution to an interesting problem.

And since Dr. Doom stole Iron Man's data and ran off, he violated international law. Good-bye, diplomatic immunity. Now if only someone could teach him how to play chess properly.

The Avengers watch on their TV screen as Tony's malware shuts off Dr. Doom's power, among other things....

"My Netflix queue! Not again!"
...the episode is summed up, Cap smiles at the white pawn that Doom used to taunt him, and the episode ends.

Review time!


  1. "Doctor Doom is in a heavily-secured room. Playing chess. By himself. With only three pieces. Only one of which is a king."

    Did everyone learn how to play chess by watching Code Geass?

    "Dr. Doom: "A man who accomplishes miracles through sheer will alone."

    If that's all you needed, you could have just gotten any Shonen protagonist

    1. If the chess in these shows gets any worse, they'll be playing with Monopoly pieces.

    2. "Checkmate, I sunk your battleship, now crown me and give me that "Get out of jail free" card"

    3. YAHTZEE! Do not pass Go. Do not ante.

    4. "What were we playing again?"