Tag Archives: The Enchantress/Amora

Avengers Assemble: Secret Wars – Rescuing the Heroes

It is not usual for me to review Avengers Assemble in bits and pieces. Previously, the closest I came to doing that was with season three of the series. And that was because the showrunners and writers did not air the episodes one after another – not on a regular basis, at least.

This is what they are doing again now, but with longer breaks between installments. Remember, readers, “Avengers No More” came out in August. It is now October, and they have aired eleven other episodes only in sporadic chunks over the course of two months.

Personally, I find this irritating. I do not know enough about television schedules to say why Disney XD is splitting the series up like this; maybe it is to make room for shows from other series that air on weekends. The timetable seems to have no rhyme or reason, though, and that always drives me a little crazy.

Since I did a review of “Why I Hate Halloween,” I will not include that episode in this post. Although I will say that it is definitely one of my favorite installments in this series so far, and it seems to have been set before the Avengers were teleported across the Marvel universe. I say this because (spoiler alert), in “The Once and Future Kang” we find one of the Avengers has been transported into the future. And he has subsequently aged.

By this episode, the Avengers’ B Team has been keeping Earth safe while Dr. Jane Foster searches time and space to find the original Avengers. In “The Once and Future Kang,” she tells the B Team that she has discovered their locations. In order to rescue the team, however, she has to send the Mighty Avengers after them. The way they will return is by using a “tether” – a device that acts as a teleporter – to pull themselves and the Avengers back to the present time and place.

Jane does this after the B Team has had to stop a monster from destroying the Statue of Liberty. She accidentally brought said creature to NYC when working on the devices to bring back the Avengers. And while I still do not like her, I admit that watching Carol Danvers rescue a deaf girl from the Liberty torch was a good scene. Yes, I still think she is useless, but the fact is it was a good scene.

Anyway, “The Once and Future Kang” shows Wasp and Vision teleported to the future to rescue the Avenger trapped there. They do not know who it is, but they know who is running the place – Kang. They soon learn that the Avenger they are after is none other than Falcon, now twenty years older than he was when the cabal transported him out of the present time.

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My main problem with this episode is: what’s his mom going to say? Sure, it is cool to have a Falcon who looks and sounds like Anthony Mackie’s film counterpart. But what in the world is Sam’s mother, who is alive in the Assemble universe, going to say about his rapid growth? One day he was a seventeen/ninteen year old kid going to college. Now he is suddenly an adult. Both she and the Avengers missed his transition from boy to man, meaning there should be a period of adjustment needed on all sides.

This is not the first time Marvel has pulled such a stunt, of course. In the X-Men comics, Colossus’ baby sister was kidnapped by an interdimensional bad guy who trained her in his arts and her powers for six or seven of his dimension’s years. But for the X-Men, seconds passed between Ilyana Rasputin/Magick’s disappearance and reappearance. She vanished as a frightened six year old and returned as a scarred, yet bright and chirpy, thirteen year old girl.

Colossus, as you might imagine, had a hard time wrapping his head around this. I am having a similarly hard time wrapping my head around Falcon’s transformation. It is not that I do not like him – I think Falcon is a really cool hero. It is just the whole idea of sending someone off into the future (or another dimension), and bringing them home at an older age which gets me.

Other things to like about this episode were Vision and Wasp. Vision, as usual, stole at least half of the show without really trying. And it appears that Wasp has finally lost that chip on her shoulder. Hooray!

There is also the fact that we got a glimpse of Kang’s face beneath the blue mask he wears, showing he grew older, too. I may have a hard time reconciling my heroes’ accelerated ages, but when it comes to the bad guys, I rarely have any sympathy for them. Kang does not get any tears from me.

Next on the list is “Dimension Z.” Scott Lang, a.k.a. Ant-Man, gets sent to rescue an Avenger from what is apparently 1930s New York. This version of the city is under the thumb of Arnim Zola. Here, Scott finds three of his teammates: Captain America, Hawkeye, and Black Widow. He helps them escape Zola’s HYDRA goons and they take him to their hideout, explaining that they are not actually in the 1930s when they get there. (Whew! I had had enough time travel at that point, anyway!)

Zola captured the gang early on, but they escaped and have been trying to free the people of Dimension Z from his control ever since. This has not been easy because Zola has the people wired with cybernetic implants. If they disobey him, he fries them. This also rules out using an EMP to fry him. That certainly is convenient, isn’t it?

The episode is a good one for Hawkeye. Although he plays around with the 1930s New York accent and slang, it’s less of a joke this time and more him trying to lighten the mood. Widow is usually aggravated by his period repartee, but she slips a couple of times and uses the lingo herself, showing his attempts to cheer everyone up aren’t wholly failures. Cap does not seem to mind the fun Hawkeye and Widow have with the jargon either way, which is nice.

Despite her fussing, Widow comes through the show with flying colors, too. While growling at Hawkeye for his attempts at humor, she works well with him here. This is a far cry from their earlier team-ups in the series, which had her constantly bickering with him when they were on a mission. She gets to give Scott a “suck it up and have some confidence in yourself” pep talk as well, which is in keeping with her character.

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Scott does nicely here, as compared to previous episodes in season four which present him as a bumbling, fumbling fool. (No, I am not counting “Sneakers” when I talk about those shows.) He gets to prove his brains and his heart, which is a pleasant change from the writers’ earlier treatment of him.

Captain America does not, sadly, get by nearly so easily. For some bizarre reason, the show writers decided to reference Marvel’s HYDRA Cap fiasco in “Dimension Z.” Though Cap is freed of the HYDRA influence fairly quickly, and while I can see how having him under Zola’s spell serves the episode’s plot, I really wish that the writers had not done this to him. Bad enough they have to demean me and other readers by mistreating him in the comics; when they start  messing with him in their other media, I become even less amused.

With this caveat out of the way, I have to say Steve did not do terribly outside of this event, which literally was not his fault. The whole reason Zola wanted him in Dimension Z was so he could highjack Steve’s body; doing this would mean he would not have to rely on those mechanical bodies we have seen him using thus far in the series.

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At first, Steve resisted Zola’s attempts. But he and Hawkeye were captured together, so Zola zapped Clint to make Cap stop fighting him. While I still do not approve of the HYDRA Cap reference, I have to admit, this scene hit me right in the “feels.” It showed the brotherly affection between the First Avenger and Hawkeye, who stubbornly insisted Steve not surrender despite the fact that another zap would have killed him.

In a way, this scene bridged the gap between the original – and better – comics and the new ones today. I only wish the writers would show these relationships between the Avengers more often in Assemble. It is truly inspiring.

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T’Challa got sent after the Hulk in “The Most Dangerous Hunt,” which was actually more fun than I was expecting. Transported to Asgard, Panther finds Hulk being hunted for sport by Skurge the Executioner. Using a magic crystal in the head of his axe, the Executioner can control Banner’s transformation. When Banner gets too tired to run, Skurge says a spell to make him the Hulk. When the Hulk gets within a hair of smashing him, the Asgardian hunter speaks a counter spell which makes him Banner again.

The whole yo-yo effect has left Bruce terrified. He has been in control of his power for so long now that not being able to change at will scares him more than his previous, involuntary transformations did. It is actually kind of nice to see Banner this vulnerable; before we only saw his distaste for becoming the big guy, period. Since the writers have allowed him to control the change, it adds a new dimension to his character.

Only one thing in this episode really annoyed me. This was Hulk returning to his old baby speech pattern for most of the adventure. While I doubt I will have much of a problem with it in Thor: Ragnarok, here it kind of rubbed me the wrong way. I guess it was because it made Hulk sound more like a beast than a person – which was the point. Skurge considered him nothing more than an animal, after all, not a fellow sentient being.

Panther came out of this show very well, too. He got to demonstrate his intelligence, his honor, and his heart. We also got to see what he is like when enraged, since Skurge was able to reverse the spell and use it on T’Challa. No one understands wrath like Bruce does, and watching him assist the suddenly helpless Black Panther was a great moment.

I have to admit, though, that I did not see the Hobbit reference coming. Really, Marvel writers? Stealing from Tolkien now, are you? Too bad you won’t study him rather than pilfer from the surface of his work. Maybe if you actually learned from him, your comics would be entertaining again.

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“Under the Spell of the Enchantress” was not quite as torturous as I thought it would be, mostly because by the end, Thor got to be Thor. I still find Captain and Miss Marvel to be awful, flat characters, but having the Son of Odin break Amora’s spell when he saw Miss Marvel in danger was a good scene for him. I think the reference to Frozen might have been a bit much, though.

Thor’s characterization was just as good in “The Return.” Here we learn that Loki orchestrated the events of “Avengers No More.” We also see that he is now suddenly taller and has more brawn here than he did in prior episodes. By the way, fellow writers, what the Sam Hill is up with that five o’clock shadow you gave him?

Anyway, this episode was pretty good. Though no one seemed the least bit phased by Falcon’s age, which felt a little off, the story was quite the pick up from the season’s earlier fare. Cap got his shield back and Hawkeye actually got to figure out how to save the day – using an idea this author had considered five or so minutes before the crisis point of the show arrived, no less. 😉

Thor, as I said, shined in “The Return,” but so did Vision. I won’t spoil anything, but I will say that Loki badly underestimated him. Scott got to notice an important fact, which Miss Marvel unsurprisingly missed and dismissed, while Jane Foster was allowed to be the super genius she is. And she did not even have to leave her apartment to do it. I really hope they do not give Mjolnir to her. It would spoil her part in “The Return” so badly.

Finally, I have to say that I enjoyed the various nods to Thor: The Dark World in this show. The film itself did not have a great plot and got bad reviews for it. I liked Dark World nonetheless, mostly because I never go to a Marvel movie to watch the bad guys. I go to see the heroes, and I thought the second Thor movie did right by them. Watching the writers tip their hats to it was fun.

On the whole, I was more impressed with these five episodes than I was with four of the ones I reviewed previously. But as I said in my post on “Why I Hate Halloween,” now is not the time to become complacent and think Marvel is cleaning up its act. Certainly, these recent shows offer us fans some hope that the company will value our patronage more than PC grandstanding. But now is not the time to bank on such an assumption.

Part of the reason I say this is Loki’s gleeful warning at the end of “The Return.” “Strange things are coming,” he tells Thor’s back when the Prince of Asgard leaves the detention center. Tony still has not come home yet, and the writers here did nod to the HYDRA Cap debacle. I find these small instances in the show more than a little worrisome.

So we are not out of the woods. These are hopeful signs and, if unaltered by the future, I could say they were a turning point. But the future is not the present. Therefore, I advise caution before commitment, as well as the firm hope matters will change for the better.

But to quote Aragorn, son of Arathorn, the only thing we can do now is say, “We shall see.”

Avengers – Assemble!

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Top Ten Smack-Downs Marvel Should Do

Many people have their own preferred Marvel battles, either one-on-one fights or team vs. team battles.  There are very few of these generic battle types that I am especially partial to, but there are several battles in particular that I would enjoy seeing Marvel write up, preferably for a TV screen.

So, without further ado, here they are!

Superman_vs_Thor

(1)  Thor vs. Superman

It may be that this incident has already occurred – I don’t know for certain – but it would be interesting to see just how long the Man of Steel would last against Marvel’s Thunderer.  Some might say I have it in for old Clark Kent/Superman.  All I have to say is, “You say that your character is the best and strongest guy around?  Okay.  Then let’s see your champion beat…him.”

And, yes, I DO have it in for ol’ Superman.  Sorry…no, actually, I’m not.

Hawkeye's New SuitGreen Arrow

(2)  Hawkeye vs. Green Arrow

This is an old fight in some ways; Marvel and DC crossed their respective universes and had their two greatest archers meet during the crossover.  Still, as far as I can tell, the only fighting the two really did was a lot of bickering.

Personally, I would like to see the two duke it out, either competing on a target range or actually fighting against each other.  My money would be on Hawkeye all the way.  When listing his credentials beside Green Arrow’s, one can see the odds are in his favor.  If Marvel and DC would be willing to put these archers in single combat, I would enjoy watching them try to see which one is really the champion of comic-book marksmanship.

Hulk-Vs-Superman6

(3)  Hulk vs. Superman

Now people will say I am trying to get Superman killed.  I admit that I want to see him drubbed, but dead?  I’m not that heartless.  Besides, DC already killed him once.  Maybe they’ve killed him again in recent years; I don’t know for sure.  I don’t keep up with DC comics.  To kill Superman again, however, would be DC’s prerogative.  However, I highly recommend they avoid killing him another time.  It’s pretty sad when a writer is so desperate to sell a story or series of stories that he murders the character(s) several times over.  It’s an unimaginative way to make money; readers soon lose their interest in such stories.  I know I did, and quickly.

Still, I would enjoy seeing how long the perfect, powerful Superman would last against the rage-empowered muscle of the Hulk.  That would be more fun than RAW any day of the week – and twice on Sundays!

Black WidowMystique

(4)  Black Widow vs. Mystique

If there is one Marvel villainess I loathe above the rest, it is Mystique.  This is primarily due to her treatment of Rogue and Nightcrawler, X-Men for whom I developed a soft spot when I first began watching the 1990’s TV series.  That TV show, and subsequent TV series, only further raised my ire against the character.  I would truly enjoy watching her take a beating from one of Marvel’s heroines.

As for choosing Widow to be that heroine, it just makes sense.  Both are assassins, both are well versed in hand-to-hand combat, and deception is their game.  I would be rooting for Black Widow the whole way.  “Paste Mystique!”  “Make pancake batter out of her!”

I despise Mystique.  ‘Nuff said.

Black Widow Madame_Hydra_Viper

(5)  Black Widow vs. Viper

Viper I do not hate as much as Mystique.  On the list of Marvel villainesses I detest, she probably ranks a solid eighth.

However, this all around femme fatale deserves a smack down.  As noted above, the best one to accomplish this beating is Black Widow.  It takes a femme fatale to pulp a femme fatale.  Go Black Widow!!!

Thor vs. Juggernaut

(6)  Thor vs. Juggernaut

I’m pretty sure the Hulk and Juggernaut already went toe to toe, with Juggernaut the loser.  That is no real surprise, considering the Hulk’s strength.  And Big Jug has probably already fought Thor.  Still, that would be a punch-out to watch.

I know that Juggernaut has turned over a new leaf in the comics, but that still leaves the TV screen to host such a brawl.  So, if these two titans could ‘play’ on the tube for five minutes – in cartoon or live action format, I don’t care – that would be fun.

theIncredibleHulkVStheBlob

(7)  Hulk vs. Blob

Every now and again, when Blob is introduced in a new cartoon series, he refers to himself as “immovable.”  Well I, for one, am fed up with that title of his and would like to see what would happen when “The Immovable” meets the “Strongest There Is.”

This battle may have occurred in the comics, but I have yet to see it on film and videotape.  At a guess, I would say that Blob would be very immovable after the Hulk had finished with him.  Oooh, what a fight that would be!

Hawkeye's New SuitDomino

(8)  Hawkeye vs. Domino

Some would say that this isn’t a fair match.  After all, Domino’s mutant power is her probability manipulation, which allows her to hit targets no one else has a prayer of hitting.  Hawkeye is a normal man whose skills are his only ‘power.’

Quite frankly, I think Domino cheats.  She needs her mutant powers to do what Hawkeye has learned to do through years of practice.   Her powers only work when she’s in motion.  Hawkeye would need to catch her unawares to take her down, but he could accomplish it, I think.

So which of them would win – the one with years of practice and natural talent or the one with mutant powers?  For the record, my money is yet again solidly on Hawkeye.

SifThe Enchantress

(9)  Sif vs. Amora the Enchantress

Originally I thought that having the Scarlet Witch face off with the Enchantress would be a satisfying good girl/bad girl smack down.  Thinking it over, though, I realized that Wanda hasn’t got the power quotient or skill to go up against Amora, even with the power boost the Scarlet Witch has received in recent years.

Sif, on the other hand, is Asgardian.  That makes her just as strong as The Enchantress, albeit not a sorceress.  Plus, she and Amora both have a thing for Thor, so letting them duke it out while arguing over which of them likes Thor better would be a good way for Sif to blow off some steam.  Can you say, “Catfight”?  Me-OW!!

CAPVSSUPERMAN

(10) Cap vs. Superman

I can hear the Cap fans now: “Are you CRAZY?!!!?!”  “He’ll kill Cap!”  “Cap would never stand a chance against Superman!”

Now honestly, what kind of Marvel fan would I be if I wanted Cap to lose to Superman?  (And why are you bunch so pessimistic about his prospects?  He’s beaten guys nastier and more powerful than Superman.  Have a little faith, why don’t you?)  As a matter of fact, Steve Rogers is one of my favorite Marvel characters.  And I think he’s far, far better than Superman, who looks about as impressive as a block of wood when someone stands him next to Cap.

However, I was not going to suggest a battle of muscle between Marvel and DC’s respective titans.  I was going to suggest a battle of personalities, of wits, of character, as it were.  It could be anything from Cap and Superman reading the newspaper across from each other to the two of them playing chess.  If I were to write such a scene, I would show Cap and Superman having a conversation during this “idle” moment, in the duration of which Cap would philosophically paste Superman.  Then they would go back to their separate universes and work on saving humanity.  Again.

Now THIS is the smack down I want to see most!  GO CAPTAIN AMERICA!!!

Later,

The Mithril Guardian

http://spinoff.comicbookresources.com/2014/01/25/five-animated-team-up-films-marvel-has-to-make/