The Avengers are no more. The heroes have disbanded and are pursuing their own lives. That is until one of their own is slain by the unholy alliance of the Red Skull and M.O.D.O.K. Can the team stop this new menace and avenge their fallen comrade?
First off let's just say that the series is a “spiritual” sequel to the last Avengers program. As shown in the teaser, the entire plot of the first episode is pretty much bringing the old gang back together without having to redo origins already established in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes. Though only one voice actor reprises his role from EMH (Fred Tatasciore as the Hulk and technically Roger Craig Smith though he voiced only Captain Marvel EMH, here he's Captain America and isn't quite bad at it).
The Other Voice Actors? Well a lot of the voice acting talent who voiced the Avengers team in Ultimate Spider-Man (Iron Man, Captain America, Hawkeye, and Thor) are used in Avengers Assemble; even Chi McBride reprises his role of Nick Fury. In a way, it is a nice way to make a linear Marvel Animated Universe.
Immediate Positive? No cut-away gags at all.
On the negative? Well, everything else is average or stinks. The animation seems lacking. I don't even know if it's an homage to the old Marvel cartoons or not, but the movement in animation feels clunky.
The plot? While an inspiring first episode, it feels like too much is crammed into the half hour. Also while Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes fired on all cylinders with their debut episode as a team. Everyone had a fair share of the limelight and got their own little kicks in. This series? Well, something just feels off so far in Avengers: Assemble. The writing seems humbled and there isn't a real balance of any the characters at all. Just when you think the show is about to give that highlight it switches to another character at a frantic pace. Really that's the best way to describe this show, frantic. It's throwing all these ideas and while they seem nice none of them last quite long.
The only character who gets a narrative throughout all this is Iron Man, which isn't surprising since he's the premiere member of the team. Everyone else feels cookie cutter and cardboard. There are no real character quirks other than, Falcon is the “rookie,” Hulk smash, Thor is fight happy, Hawkeye is cocky, and Black Widow is cool headed (and of the seven feels like the most wasted). Yeah this is the first episode basically for the characters, and I kind of wish this was eased more into it.
There are small glimpses of good such as the banter between Hawkeye and Hulk, but they're few and far between compared to what the previous show gave us. I almost wish this was a three-parter given just how crammed the episode feels. It might seem unfair to compare the two shows, but if Assemble is meant to replace EMH, it would be dishonest to not review it in that light. If only so I can show those who enjoyed EMH that Assemble will be a whole new experience.
That leads me to my main point, Adults? Keep your EMH episodes and/or the comics for Avengers stories you can relate too. I'm not really the target audience this is for Assemble. Kids, on the other-hand, will eat this up. Like Ultimate Spider-Man this is to expose children to the Marvel Universe and not for established fanboys. On the plus side Avengers Assemble is a MUCH better show than Ultimate Spider-Man (though any show can be when you're not overloaded with breaking the fourth wall cutaway gags). There's nothing that ever made me cringe in regards to the writing.
Avengers Assemble is mixed bag of good and bad. There's a lot of potential in the show, and hopefully the rest of the series it isn't as cluttered as the first episode was. Due to that, the episode just doesn't feel balanced. It feels like Iron Man & The Avengers - though given the first episode's ending, that’ll likely change. Likewise it also has the usual first episode jitters with animation which hopefully will be aired out over time. The biggest problem for the show is living under the shadow just a year after the VERY GOOD Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes. Fans such as me who've come off that show are expecting the very same quality here and alas we're not getting that. HOWEVER, this is the first episode. I'm prone to give this series five episodes like I did previous animated shows before I deem my final judgment in condemning or singing its praises. Again, I'm also not this show's target audience. The show is telling a tale made more for a younger audience, and for to that goal, Avengers Assemble is just simple good fun.
As it is for this episode by itself; it’s good, but what really hampers the it is how amateurish the animation is and the lack of time allotted for this overly busy script. The writing is what will shock those who hate Ultimate Spider-Man by how good it is. Hopefully, Avengers Assemble’s minor issues can easily be fixed and we get another quality Avengers animated series.
2.5 out of 5
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About the Author - Zechs
Zechs is the lord and master of The Toy Shed, Character Spotlight, and Cartoon Reviews. He's also an aspiring comic book writer trying to get some of his works published on the Outhouse. If there's any greater quality to Zechs, it's that he's an avid fan of comic book characters and would defend them to the bitter end against the companies that use them wrongly. Zechs walks the lonely path in Chicagoland area.
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