Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes Review – Episodes 1-12 and 1-13

Somehow managed to get this one up just under a week after the episode aired. Whew! This review is for the Gamma World two-parter that aired on November 26.

Spoilers

The Avengers are chasing down Hawkeye when SHIELD arrives to tell them they need their help at a situation at the Cube. The Leader has taken over the Cube, and surrounded it with a dome of gamma radiation that turns anyone who enters into a gamma beast under Leader’s control. And the dome is expanding.

SHIELD outfits the Avengers with gamma shielding and Doctor Samson joins them in trying to take back the Cube. They are ambushed by the U-Foes, who are wearing gamma chargers to boost their powers. It becomes clear that the U-Foes (and other gamma powered villains like Zzzax) are more interested in trying to destroy the Avenger’s gamma suits. Wasp is the first to fall, turning into a mutated wasp creature. Black Panther slips off and with the help of Thor and Doc Samson, he destroys the generator creating the gamma dome. But, it’s quickly clear this was only a test. The Leader has a much larger dome set to launch, right in the middle of Las Vegas.

While this is all going on, Hawkeye tracks down the Black Widow and manages to take her down. He decides to bring her to the Avengers, knowing that SHIELD still considers him a traitor. On the way to the Avengers, he sees the Las Vegas dome. He quickly realizes that he needs help from Bruce Banner, and drops Widow to go find him.

The Vegas dome manages to turn all the heroes into gamma monsters except for Thor and Samson. Leader announces that he plans to remake the entire world in his own image and that from now on, he will do all the thinking for them.

Hawkeye finds the Hulk, and helps them fight off some Hulkbuster units. He asks Hulk for help, and when Hulk refuses, Hawkeye threatens to put him down. This causes Hulk to laugh and revert back to Banner. Banner is able to create a injection to protect Hawkeye from the gamma radiation. They return to Vegas to find Thor getting beat down by Abomination and a Uru-powered Absorbing Man.

Samson, Thor, Hawkeye, and Hulk manage to defeat the villains and destroy the Leader’s gamma dome generator. Everyone reverts back to human form, and Leader’s big head gets even bigger. Hawkeye’s Sky Chopper recorded everything that happened between him and Widow, clearing his name, but he declines rejoining SHIELD. Hulk agrees to become an Avenger as long as Hawkeye joins too. Abomination ends up being recruited by the Masters of Evil.

End Spoilers

It was great to finally see another Avengers episode that didn’t feel rushed. The two best episodes so far have been Break Out and Gamma World, and I really think it’s because they had two parts to tell the story. I am usually the first person to complain about padded comic stories, but when you actually have the story to fill two parts, USE TWO PARTS!

The pacing and action in this one was pretty damn near perfect. Each of the featured characters (Hawkeye, Hulk, Thor, and Dr Samson) got a chance to take the spotlight. Hawkeye’s arrogance was perfect, down to him suggesting he wouldn’t join the Avengers because of how easy the Leader took them down. We got to see Hulk being effective as both Banner and the Hulk. Thor was just awesome in battling all comers, and not quitting no matter how bad it got. And even Samson got to give a great showing.

One thing I really liked about this episode is that it helped show how much history the heroes had even before the cartoon started. We are told that Leader and Hulk have fought several times in the past. I hope they do a few more mini-sodes showing some more of the pre-Avengers history of this universe.

I am also really curious what the plan is for Black Widow. There were two different times in the episode where I started to think that maybe she’s actually working for Fury, not HYDRA. I can definitely see Fury leaving Hawkeye out to dry if it served his purposes.

Watching Hawkeye, Hulk, Thor, and Dr. Samson team up to save the day was a lot of fun. I also loved the banter between Hawkeye and Hulk at the end. Definitely not something I was expected.

Jeffrey Combs was great as the Leader. No real surprise. Jeffrey Combs is always great! Quick side note, I got to meet him at a Star Trek Convention earlier this year, and he was talking about his voice work. Because I am a child, I yelled out, “It’s the Question!” He grinned at me and said, “It’s all a conspiracy, my friend.” So thanks to Jeffrey Combs for being as cool as he is brilliant.

My only complaint about this episode is, why does Black Widow keep losing her accent? It definitely got distracting at times. She’s not much of a spy if she can’t remember if she’s supposed to be Russian or not.

And where did the Masters of Evil pick up Crimson Dynamo? Seemed a bit random since we saw how each of the others was recruited to the team. Only time we saw Crimson Dynamo before this was in the Vault (and it was never made clear how Hawkeye or Crimson Dynamo escaped when Iron Man blew it up).

I am definitely looking forward to the first meeting between the Avengers and the Masters of Evil, but with all the build up for this story, you’d think it would be an hour episode. I’m definitely worried it will feel rushed and disappointing like the conclusion to the Wakanda story.

Final Score: 9.5/10 – This episode just goes to show what Avengers can do with an hour long story. Pretty damn near perfect! Bring on the Masters of Evil!!

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