A.I.M. attempts to pay Iron Man back for past grievances.
Credits & Solicit Info:
From the events of the pilot, A.I.M. lays siege to Stark Tower as Iron Man is forced to fend against them alone. Alright, he has Maria Hill, Black Panther, Captain America, and James Rhodes helping him. So maybe he's not alone against A.I.M.
We get this episode coming off the heels of the great reintroduction of this show. It isn't bad per se, but given the string of back-to-back epics this show had since the middle of Season One, beginning with Kang Dynasty Trilogy leading up to this point, it feels disappointing. After this high us viewers have been on, we are hit with this filler episode, which is what this basically is. Only two current subplots are continued here: Skrull Cap's ongoing deception, and the likelihood of Civil War happening on this show with Maria Hill demanding the Avengers register with S.H.I.E.L.D. or else.
Still, my disappointment with the episode doesn't stretch that far. This isn't a bad episode. In fact, for filler this is pretty good. We get a key insight into Iron Man's world with many of Tony Stark's cast making key appearances here. Further, we get to see the impact of Tony's life as an Avenger and the toll it carries. The excess Tony has been imploring with the team since his debut in the micro-episodes is staggering, and it's good to see that the show isn't writing this sort of behavior off on Tony. I'm curious to see if Tony will heed the advice of his aide Pepper Potts, but given that it is Tony Stark, I doubt it. At least we saw his latest suit in action and this one is a better design compared to the Season One version. So much detail and a sleeker look than the one we got last season, showing the progression with the animation on the show itself.
The other big Iron Man cast member who appears here is James Rhodes aka War Machine. Yes, we do see him in armor using it in full glory. But really, that's my biggest problem with this episode. He was using a mixture of lasers and actual ordinance on his shoulder. So does that mean Rhodey was murdering some A.I.M. Soldiers (likewise Cap when he was using A.I.M. weaponry)? I mean we know some A.I.M. lackeys bought it getting gobbled up by the monster they unleashed on Iron Man, but did the others die too? Yeah I know it's nitpicking, but it's the sort of one you can't help but wonder when watching the episode because it's a distraction to the entertainment.
Back to the ongoing subplots: they were the true juicy materials that I enjoyed about the episode. Just how far and deep will Skrull Cap's betrayal go? We get a good hint of it this episode and I wonder what more is to come. How badly will the Avengers get hit when the Skrull Invasion happens?
The same goes for Maria Hill and her registration subplot. We know this is leading to an animated Civil War adaptation possibly, but I love the slow burn this show is taking with it. For the actual comic adaptation there wasn't good build-up and well let's face it, the comic version of Hill was a one dimensional bastard. Here, Hill makes a compelling argument as to why heroes should register and is a possible enemy; she still does the right thing to help Tony during this episode. It's this compelling dimension adds to whatever future plot comes of this and so far has been making this version better than the actual comic thus far. The same goes for Hill herself.
Overall, this episode was disappointing given what came before it. This didn't feel like an epic, like the previous episodes going back to Season One. Still, this episode had some great character moments and action pieces. The villain itself was lacking and the less said about the whole energy worm monster the better. This episode wasn't too terrible and was still a lot better than the other cartoons we got this week.
3 out of 5
Review by: Zechs