Thursday, May 28, 2015

Review: Avengers Assemble "By the Numbers"

In all seriousness, writers, if you can only think of a single plot for Iron Man, then tell us a story about another character. Hawkeye? Black Widow? Maybe a Spider-Man team-up? Just do something new.

I find that the biggest problem with the main plot of the show is the fact that it’ll go on pause for several episodes at a time. I mean, since Red Skull unleashed Hyperion, we’ve had two filler stories, and we’ll have a few more before the finale. It makes it feel like the Avengers are just sitting around with their thumbs up their butts while the bad guys plot and scheme and plan.

Having said that, it was nice to see the logical next step of the Red Skull’s technological arms race with Tony, and the stakes are getting pretty high. It’s actually a little exciting to see. Too bad we’ll have to wade through some more filler until we get to the next installment in the main plot, though.

My main criticism with this episode (aside from you-know-what) is the whole deal with the Tesseract. Where did it come from? Did it teleport in or fall from space? Why isn’t it in Asgard? How closely are we following MCU continuity? If the Tesseract and Space Stone are the same thing in the MCU, why are they different things in Avengers Assemble? How come Falcon is now faster than the Avenjet? Why wasn’t Red Skull’s base still destroyed? Why wasn’t Red Skull’s monocle still destroyed?

Why didn't holding the Tesseract cause the same problems that it did in the Captain America film?
This episode raises too many questions.

Here's another question. Let's go back to the episode synopsis.

"The Avengers and the Cabal have a huge confrontation that leaves the team forever changed."

How was the team "forever changed," exactly? They're pretty much the same as ever. Unless Tony's lesson actually freakin' stuck this time.

Learning to work with a team and not rely solely on technology.

I am sick and tired of typing that phrase. I feel like a broken record. And I’m sorry.

This show has relegated me to simply making the same complaint over and over and over. You guys deserve better than that. You guys deserve better than just reading me complaining about the same thing again and again and again. At least Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. gives us different kinds of crap to deal with for each episode.

Red Skull

Honestly, it’s hard not to root for him at this point. The Cabal is like a classic team of underdogs. Pretty much the only thing rendering the Red Skull unlikable for me is the fact that he’s a Nazi. If it weren’t for that, I’d be cheering him on. At the very least, he actually seems to learn his lesson from episode to episode.

Tony Stark

I believe I’ve made it abundantly clear how I feel about Tony’s apparent amnesia regarding the lesson to stop relying too much on his technology. But to be fair, of all the episodes this season that dealt with that lesson, I’d say that this episode did the best job with it. At least it actually ties in with the themes of the premiere.

And I really like the idea that Tony’s been struck with guilt over losing the Pre-Play system. It adds a depth to his actions beyond the simple arrogance and overconfidence we’ve seen in previous episodes. Although Tony’s lack of communication with his team really highlights what an inept leader he actually is. But he sells the most toys, so he gets to be in charge.

Honestly, the animation was better than usual for this episode. The dodgeball scene had some nice cinematography and the fight through the Badlands was actually pretty exciting instead of being the usual boring slugfests this show tends to give us.

Not to mention that MODOK's new guns actually made him look like a threat for once.
That's probably the most impressive detail in this episode.
Final Thoughts
Overall, a solid outing. Not as good as “Bring on the Bad Guys,” but a lot better than the other episodes where Tony “learns” a lesson. And Red Skull going cosmic at the end really ramped up the tension. Which, of course, is why the main plot will be put on the back burner in favor of a Guardians of the Galaxy tie-in, a Hawkeye-centered episode, and… a certain other episode.

And since I’ve already recapped “Guardians and Space Knights,” I’m stuck having to recap… that other episode next. See you then.


  1. ...If by a certain other episode, you mean "One Little Thing", that's my favorite episode, it doesn't deserve to be referred to like that

    1. Really? Well, more power to you. Unfortunately, I can't say the same. Though I'd be very interested in hearing your opinion in detail when I end up reviewing it.

    2. Thanks. Oh, and, you didn't hear this from me... but I heard Deadpool might pay a visit to this site next year when his movie gets released.

    3. Right. Looks like I'll have to buy some Spackle after he demolishes my fourth wall.