The Avengers -united against a common threat

Avengers Earth’s Mightiest Heroes – Breakout


“And there came a day, a day unlike any other, when Earth’s mightiest heroes and heroines found themselves united against a common threat. On that day, the Avengers were born — to fight the foes no single super hero could withstand! Through the years, their roster has prospered, changing many times, but their glory has never been denied! Heed the call, then — for now, the Avengers Assemble!”

In late 1930’s, comics published the adventures of strange masked men and women fighting against the forces of darkness. The genre of superhero comics became immensely popular and also acted as a morale booster to US soldiers stationed overseas. In the 50’s, comics came under attack as subversive material leading to juvenile delinquency, causing publishers to panic and attempt various different ideas, dropping the men in tights who were suspected of warping the minds of the young. Back in 1960’s, in what is regarded today as the Silver Age of comics, the publishing world found a resurgence of of superhero comics, leading Martin Goodman, publisher of what would one day be Marvel Comics, to allow his head creators free reign in developing new heroes for a sophisticated reader looking for escape. The mighty Thor, Iron Man, Giant Man and the Wasp and the rampaging Hulk were immensely successful, but what if they were all in one book together?

The result was the might Avengers, a superhero team book that embraced the mood of temperament of the Marvel Universe, meaning that the members spent more time fighting amongst themselves than fighting evil doers. Tony Stark had donated a mansion to act as a headquarters along with his personal manservant, Jarvis. Few believed that Thor was actually a Norse God and Hank Pym’s ability to grow and shrink looked superfluous and absurd when compared to his teammates’ powers. The Wasp was desperate to impress her boyfriend and also operate in what was essentially a men’s club with very few special powers. The Hulk despised them all and it was only a matter of time before he exploded into a fit of rage that would bring the house down.

It was a marvelous book.

The new animated series developed by Simon Philips, Eric S. Rollman, Joshua Fine and Christopher Yost takes a few ideas from the classic 60’s comic books along with over 40 years of published history to bring what must be the most lavish depiction of the Marvel Universe ever seen before outside of the printed page. The series kicked off with a 2-part story that in many ways mimics the first adventure of Brian Michael Bendis’ New Avengers in 2005.

Exiled from Asgard, Thor is confronted by his brother Balder who asks that he admit humility and return to Asgard while their father takes his Odin Sleep. Thor is too proud and obstinate, however, and declares that the world of mortals needs his help. It becomes clear quite quickly that Thor is sweet on one mortal in particular, EMT Jane Foster. But he is also correct, there is far too much trouble on Earth for humanity to deal with. Not even Iron Man, the armored adventurer, can be in all places at once. He has also discovered that his own technology is being used by terrorists and cannot explain how they got their hands on it, though he suspects the global peacekeeping force S.H.I.E.L.D. who are annoyed with him for not developing weaponry for their use. Both of these plots take a back-seat to the four-way super villain breakout.

There are four separate high security prisons (The Vault, The Cube, the Big House and the Raft) where the world’s super-powered criminals are being held, with S.H.I.E.L.D. providing security for each. In the Cube, Bruce Banner tries to explain to his captor Doc Samson that the Cube is not a prison at all but a weapons development facility where gamma radiation is being studied as a tool for war. Before Samson can take the claim seriously, the Cube is shut down. The Leader takes the opportunity to gather his forces for a future plot against the planet rather than chase the Hulk who has escaped from the facility. The Mad Thinker predicted the breakout, much to Hank Pym’s confusion as the prediction comes true in short order. The prison cells in all four facilities open, giving the villains free reign to secure the gear and weapons before taking to the streets. In the Vault, Hawkeye, wrongly imprisoned as a traitor, is mistaken for a crook by Iron Man who ultimately has to destroy the building which has become over-run with super villains.

Despite all of this mayhem, Nick Fury decides to head directly for the Raft where the most dangerous villain of all is being held, Gravitron. Before he can get on site, Gravitron has freed himself from his chains and begins to unleash his awesome power on the world at large. It will take the combined might of all the various super powered humans to take down Gravitron before he lets his rage loose on his former jailers.

Iron Man is clearly over-powered but has all the smarts needed to deal with Gravitron, Thor has the raw power, but lacks the tactics to deal with the villain’s mesmerizing attacks. Hank Pym enlarges himself to take Gravitron down, but is obviously out-matched. Throughout the conflict, the Hulk looks on with conflicted emotions. He wants to pitch in, but knows that he is ‘just another monster’ in the eyes of the humans.

Then Gravitron has to go and claim to be the strongest there is… and it’s on.

It should come as no surprise that with the Marvel Entertainment machine moving towards an Avengers film in 2012, a series of tie-ins to remind those unfamiliar with the comic book series just who the characters are. For those unfamiliar with the world of the Avengers, this may all come across as a bit fast and furious with characters leaping across the screen so quickly that it’s difficult to keep track of them without a handbook. That being the case, the writing is so sharp that the heroes and villains are given just enough time on screen to get the idea across without becoming distracting from the main plot.

When the Justice League cartoon debuted back in 2004, it bore more than a striking resemblance to the Avengers. There are even specific stories that feel more like Marvel Comics tales than those published by DC (such as the union of Solomon Grundry, Doctor Fate and Aquaman that feels very like a Defenders adventure). It’s clear to me that Bruce Timm and crew were big fans of comics in general and had no qualms about using material from the other side of the street where Marvel’s offices lay. I’m happy to see that after a few false starts, Marvel finally has a cracking comic book cartoon on its hands that embraces its strengths, history and obscure characters all at once.

After following the micro-sodes week, after week, I was worrying that I was being shown all of the good material in short bursts, leaving nothing but dross for the premiere, but I could not have been more wrong. Now in its 13th episode (episodes 3-7 are compilations of the micro-series episodes), it is evident that the Avengers have finally arrived in full form. If you are unfamiliar with the team, this is a great way to catch up and see why the Avengers is such a big deal.


Baron Zemo strikes against the Avengers!

The most hated villain Captain America has ever faced, Baron Heinrich Zemo is a survivor of WWII. While the character was active in the 1940’s, he is actually a 60’s creation by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, introduced in the pages of the Avengers. A brilliant and twisted scientist who threatened world peace throughout the second world war, his face became bonded to his cloth mask during an accident whilst experimenting on his super-adhesive (the 60’s were all about adhesives).

Zemo was of course featured in the 60’s Captain America cartoon, appearing to be very animated and emotional even within the confines of the Grantray-Lawrence animation techniques.

Zemo is responsible for the death of Captain America’s sidekick Bucky, an act that Cap refuses to ever forget. This could be the only villain that causes Cap to lose his cool and for that reason alone he is a deadly threat. This coming Sunday, he will threaten the Avengers again in animated form.

Via the ComicVine:

Baron Zemo returns in a new episode of “The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” on Sunday, December 5 at 10:00 a.m., ET/PT on Disney XD. The Avengers may be Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, but now they’re faced with Earth’s Mightiest villains—the Masters of Evil!

On Sunday Morning, Evil will be Avenged with Brand New Episodes of “The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” — Sundays at 10:00 a.m. on Disney XD.

‘The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes’ Review From Screen Rant

While at the 2010 New York Comic-Con I had a chance to attend a screening of Marvel Animation’s two-part premiere episode of the new animated series The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, which is set to premiere next week on Disney XD.

The two-part episode, entitled “Breakout”, was a fairly entertaining experience that should appeal to Marvel fans and cartoon fans alike, be they young or old. For all the positive things about it, however, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes still doesn’t quite reach the acclaimed status of DC Universe and their animated projects.

Written by acclaimed comic book/cartoon scribe Christopher Yost, “Breakout” is a wonderfully simple and effective setup for this Avengers cartoon. In a version of the Marvel Universe that not-so-subtly mirrors the Marvel Movie Universe, S.H.I.E.L.D. is a policing force that takes on the baddest terrorists and super villains from around the world. Led by Nick Fury (who here appears as an amalgamation of the Sam Jackson and classic versions of Fury – i.e., black but with hair), S.H.I.E.L.D. operates four key prison facilities that house the world’s worst offenders: The Cube, The Raft, The Vault and The Big House.

All four prisons are stocked with baddies that have been defeated at the hands of heroes like Iron Man, Thor, Ant-Man, Wasp and Nick Fury himself. All of sudden, without warning, a mysterious force strikes all four prisons at once, effectively shutting them down. Of all the villains to escape, there is one that S.H.I.E.L.D. has been keeping under tight lock and key for a long time: Graviton, the evil master of gravity. When Graviton awakens and breaks free of his shackles, all of Manhattan is put in danger. Our heroes must band together as a team to defeat this Omega-level threat, and must even turn to the most unlikely of allies to get the job done: Dr. Bruce Banner, a.k.a. The Hulk.

All in all, The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes is a a step forward for Marvel Animation. I’ll actually stick with this show, and it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to say that about a Marvel cartoon. For one thing, I’m very curious about how tightly this animated Avengers world will tie into the live-action Avengers movie we’ll be getting in 2012. If “Breakout” were the basis for Joss Whedon’s Avengers script, I certainly wouldn’t be mad about it.

The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes has its one-hour premiere @ 8:30 on Disney XD. Full episodes will be available a day later on iTunes, Xbox Live, Playstation and Disney XD Mobile VOD.

Read the whole review here:

Missed out on the Avengers microsodes? Click here to watch them all!

Get a look inside the Big House in Avengers Earth’s Mightiest Heroes #20

Captured in one S.H.I.E.L.D.’s maximum security prisons called the Big House, Whirlwind is frustrated that none of the super criminals have managed to escape. He soon discovers the reason why no one has gotten out of the prison and why they call it ‘The Big House.’ The Scientist Supreme Hank Pym and Janet Van Dyne have formed an uneasy alliance with S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury, but like Tony Stark, are not happy with the results.

For the last several weeks, we have watched the expansion of the Marvel Universe in these five minute cartoons. The last Avengers microsode connects various plot threads running throughout all 20 parts involving S.H.I.E.L.D.’s plan to both for a supergroup and weaponize captured super criminals.

Step inside the Big House…

Avengers Earth’s Mightiest Heroes premieres October 20th on Disney XD.

Beware the Black Widow – Avengers: Earths Mightiest Heroes microsode #19

Like many Marvel Comics characters, the master superspy Natasha Romanov started her career on the other side of the law. Sent by the KGB to destroy industrialist Tony Stark, Romanov lured the archer Hawkeye into her web to do the dirty work. After defecting to the United States, she took up work with S.H.I.E.L.D. as an intelligence agent and was sent into action that she could never speak of. Years later, she discovered some of the details of her past, including the memories implanted by the Red Room program designed to produce the perfect assassin.

Armed only with a pair of wrist-mounted stingers, the Black Widow uses her training as a ballerina to transform her movements into a fine art. Clad in close-fitting armored leather, her killings are a sight to behold. A one-time leader of the Champions and Avengers, her loyalties are always questioned, perhaps due to the nature of her work and the manipulation of her memories. While it may never be clear just who the Black Widow is, you can be sure that she is as deadly as her namesake.

In a previous microsode, Hawkeye had spoken to an incarcerated Bruce Banner who told the bow slinger that the maximum security prison designed to hold not only the Hulk but many other monsters was actually a weapons lab in disguise, designed to weaponize the captured beasts for combat. In the latest Avengers: Earths Mightiest Heroes microsode, Hawkeye discovers the truth about his partner and finds that he has no idea who the Black Widow really is or what she is up to.

Kang the Conqueror reigns supreme in Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes Microsode 18

Kang the Conqueror

The early days of the Avengers saw the supergroup facing off against space phantoms, masters of evil, lava men, and even the Hulk! However, the first really impressive threat came from the future when Kang the Conqueror arrived from the 40th Century. He had already taken over the Earth but had grown bored with his kingdom as there were no challengers worthy of his mettle. Browsing the historical database, he saw footage of the Avengers and identified them as a possible contender. Kang’s arrival in the 20th Century proved his biggest mistake as he found the Avengers impossible to defeat and also created a divergent timeline.

Time travel stories in comics are common, but the tale of Kang the Conqueror ranks amongst the best of them. In the latest Avengers microsode ‘Lo, There Shall Come a Conqueror!’ viewers are introduced to the complex domination plan of all time from Kang and the threat posed by the Avengers that challenges all that he has worked for.

The Black Panther Strikes in Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes Episode 17

Black Panther

The King of Wakanda, T’Challa has rules over his secret kingdom as the Black Panther, a mantle passed down for generations. A genius, Olympic level athlete and hand-to-hand fighter without compare, the Black Panther has protected his kingdom from invaders eager to steal the valuable vibranium mound on which the city rests. As an Avenger, the Black Panther was vetted into service by Captain America who thought of T’Challa as the ideal replacement for the shield-slinger who had become embroiled in other duties.

One of the most successful minority superheroes in comic books, I have always enjoyed the Black Panther’s adventures. He is not only a superb superhero, an engineer on the level of Reed Richards, tactician on the level of Steve Rogers and combatant on the level of Daredevil, but he is also a member of royalty as well!

The microsode tells the tale of T’Chaka, father of T’Challa, who was defeated by the deceitful Man Ape through collaboration with the villainous Klaw, the disfigured scientist and would-be conqueror of Wakanda.

The 17th micro installment of the Avengers Earth’s Mightiest Heroes bids viewers a warm welcome to Wakanda!