I guess with the not so stellar ratings of the fantastic “Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes,” Disney figured it’d be a good idea to lay the ground work for another “Avengers” vehicle. This time, “The Avengers” are much closer to their cinematic counterparts, taking off from the first movie, and including superhero The Falcon, who is slated to appear in the upcoming sequel. What’s sad is, when you think about it, “Avengers Assemble” is actually a spin off of “Ultimate Spider-Man.” Marvel has laid the ground work for this new series with guest spots from the movie versions of the Avengers since the show started, with appearances from Iron Man, Thor, and the sun glasses donning Hawkeye.
Adrian Pasdar of “Near Dark” and “Heroes” fame is now the resident voice for Iron Man and Tony Stark, playing the character in the Anime, reprising the role in his appearances in “Ultimate Spider-Man” and now taking on the lead role as bucket head in this series. Of course, the dynamics in the series are what follows in the Marvel cinematic heirarchy. Established characters like Miss Marvel, Captain Marvell, and Black Panther and the like are all basically gone, as the series seems to start from square one all over again. The show centers on Iron Man mostly, who is trying to re-unite the disbanded Avengers and save the Earth, now under threat from Red Skull and Modok.
Since Red Skull was in the Captain America movie, and Modok almost introduced, Captain America falls under the strength of Red Skull and his forces in combat. Failing to save him, Iron Man brings together the Avengers protocol in spite of Nick Fury’s anger, and along for the ride is fledgling superhero and fan boy Falcon. “Avengers Assemble!” is noticably much more fast paced than “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” as the first two episodes seem to want to establish a lot of back story in such a short time.
So the action and pace is almost non-stop, and nothing ever really settles down. Which is distracting when compared to “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” which took its time telling the stories and arcs. The Red Skull is dying and is trying to find a way to maintain his life. He switches bodies with Captain America, taking on the Avengers, while Cap is left in his body. When that fails, Red Skull devises a new plan and traps Tony Stark, taking his armor and core and using it to build his own dark body armor that will maintain his life.
Why and how will it do that? Who knows? In either case, being a villain, when he rips every bit of armor from Tony’s body, he naturally assumes Tony has died. He and Modok high tail it, and the Avengers scramble to keep Tony alive. Tony obviously has a fail safe and is now equipped with new Marck armor that he’s still getting used to. Much of Red Skull’s plots seem contrived, and the series first two episodes avoid showing villains other than Red Skull and Modok. In an effort to take over the mansion, Red Skull and Modok possess the Avengers pitting them against one another, allowing Red Skull to seize much of their tech, building his own base.
The final moments of the second episode allude to many new villains appearing, and thankfully, Marvel seems flexible in which villains and characters they will be featuring. There is brief mention of Spider-Man, so who knows if he’ll appear to boost ratings? And there is a brief cameo of Fin Fang Foom. When Red Skull launches his call to arms for villains, we only see shapes and shadows watching the alert. So at this point, anyone or any team can appear. Unfortunately, since Marvel seems to want a return on their investment in Marvel, we’ll really only be seeing villains that can boost ratings and become merchandise, at this point.
It’s the reason why “Avengers Assemble!” is a much closer version of the hit 2012 movie, now. Disney wants a return, and sadly we have to settle for this series. Surely, it’s not the worst version of the Avengers team so far, but compared to “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” it can be so much better. I have faith it will become much more entertaining over the course of a few episodes. With “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” sadly ended, the good side is that Marvel hasn’t given up on “The Avengers.” Hopefully something involving “The Avengers” will click with audiences. It’s just sad that this version of the team may respond well. With the upcoming dreadful spin off “Agents of SMASH,” I’m hoping we can have at least one series that reminds us Marvel is amazing at telling wide spanning and epic stories that don’t pander to pre-teens. I like “Ultimate Spider-Man” well enough, but I cherish the awe and mythology more.
“Avengers Assemble!” premieres in July. Check Local Listings.