09th Jun2013

‘Avengers Assemble: Episode 1 and 2′ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars (the voices of): Laura Bailey, Troy Baker, Adrian Pasdar, Bumper Robinson, Roger Craig Smith, Fred Tatasciore, Travis Willingham, Charlie Adler, David Kaye, Chi McBride, Liam O’Brien, J.K. Simmons | Produced by Man of Action

avengers-assemble

Designed as replacement for the previous superhero ‘toon The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Avengers Assemble is part of Marvel’s new continuity-driven “Marvel Universe” block and is set to air alongside Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. and Ultimate Spider-Man on Disney XD this July.

Marvel’s Avengers Assemble reunites Marvel’s most iconic super heroes – Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Hulk, Hawkeye and Black Widow. Featuring the team that took the world by storm in the big-screen epic The Avengers, this new cartoon follows the action-packed adventures of Earth’s Mightiest as they protect the Marvel Universe from the biggest threats they’ve ever seen. This new series also sees the introduction of Sam Wilson’s Falcon in the iteration that is rumoured to be taken directly from his appearance in the forthcoming Captain America 2 film, replacing the traditional costume with a new “Project Redwing” suit designed by Tony Stark.

The first episode, entitled “The Avengers Protocol Part 1″ sees the Red Skull team up with MODOK to kidnap Captain America so Skull can transfer his mind to a more fit body. However Iron Man has other ideas and takes the fight to the Red Skull. Despite being defeated by a reassembled team of Avengers, Red Skull takes Iron Man’s armor for its life support system, leaving Tony for dead… “The Avengers Protocol Part 2″ picks up the story where the first left off, with Tony Stark on the brink of death and the Avengers heading back to their mansion to save him. However Red Skull attacks them at the mansion, using MODOK’s micro tech to control their minds and bodies, turning them against each other – all of which is a diversion to allow him to blow up the mansion, a task which is once again thwarted by the Avengers.

Like any good season premiere, the two-part opener of Avengers Assemble introduces the new state of play for our heroes following their last cartoon outing; this time banded together in the second episodes conclusion by the Red Skull’s formation of his own team of super-villains, The Cabal; and holed-up in the former Stark Industries tower, which doubles as the new Avengers HQ. It also introduces the new “voice” of the show, the rookie Sam Wilson who is essentially the audiences guide into the world of the Avengers – the everyman that they can identify with and whom can express the same sense of wonder that kids (and kids-at-heart adults) will have about the teams adventures.

I’ll freely admit I wasn’t a huge fan of The Avengers: Earths Mightiest Heroes, it seemed aimed at a much younger demographic than the film versions of our favourite superheroes. Thankfully, whilst this is still a kids cartoon at its core, it seems Disney and Marvel have decided to up the ante in terms of production values and storytelling, with this new iteration of Marvel’s most famous superhero team produced by another great team – Man of Action (aka Joe Casey, Joe Kelly, Duncan Rouleau and Steven T. Seagle); whose track record speaks for itself: Ben 10, Generator Rex and Ultimate Spider-Man and the experience that they bring to Avengers Assemble is visible on the screen and in the script from the get-go.

Blending comic book visuals, the kinetic action only achievable in animation and some witty humor in the script – especially the banter between the Hulk, Hawkeye and Thor – Avengers Assemble is, at least for me, light years ahead of anything other cartoons Marvel have produced. Just how good is this ‘toon? Well I downloaded the first episode for free on iTunes and immediately signed up for a season pass for the rest of the show – something I’ve NEVER done for a brand new show, especially an animated series!

Avengers Assemble is slated to premiere on July 7th 2013 on Disney XD in the US. The first two episodes are also available now on iTunes US.

***** 5/5

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