Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Musings on Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes - Season Three

It should come as no surprise that I want a third season of Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes.

I mean, c'mon.  Duh.


I say this even as I have my misgivings.  Season One was exceptionally well-done, and I credit the visions and collaboration of Joshua Fine and Chris Yost for that.  I have high hopes for Season Two, given that Yost and Fine were pretty much still in charge of it when Jeph Loeb came on-board as the head of Marvel Studios.

Apparently Season Two has already felt the weight of his opinions, as at the San Diego Comic Con he did say that they went back and tweaked some of the later Season Two episodes to be more stand-alone and less multi-part story; this change probably weakened those episodes.  I wonder how much of his interference was incentive for Joshua Fine to decide to leave; we shall never know, as Joshua Fine is too professional to ever spill dirty laundry in that way (and more power to him!).

I'm doing my best to be fair as regards Jeph Loeb; I've never been a fan of his work in the comics industry, and his television/film work is hard to judge, as its a far more collaborative medium.  I'm hoping he leaves the Avengers pretty well alone, even though the Red Hulk (Loeb's creation) is allegedly set to appear as a villain.  I'm well aware that creators often shoe-horn their past work into new stuff so that they can get royalties and a higher profile for their work - but it also gets old.

In any case, the Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes was originally conceived as a vehicle to take advantage of the successful live-action movie run-up to the Avengers movie, and thus Seasons One and Two were authorized from the beginning, with 26 episodes per season.  Depending on when they start Season Two (not yet announced!), the end of Season Two should arrive around the same time that the live-action film debuts, just as the Thor-centric finale of Season One broadcast about the same time that Thor's movie was released.  I don't know if Thor 2 has been approved, but I do know that Iron Man 3 and Captain America 2 have been green-lit, which means that after the Avengers movie is released, there are potentially more movies to support.


At the end of the day, I don't know if being a marketing support for Marvel's live-action movies is enough to actually get them to green-light a third season. The AEMH has gotten remarkably little support from Disney XD in terms of scheduled playtime, although to be honest there are so many different ways for fans to see it that I'm not sure it really matters.  At the moment, if you want to see episodes, there are several ways besides subscribing to the Disney XD channel:

  • iTunes Season One subscription (this is how I watch them).
  • Netflix live streaming 
  • Marvel Website
  • Youtube 
  • DVD Release (at least the first half of Season One; the second half will be released in October).
This makes the episodes pretty easy to find, one way or another.  I find it odd that there have been no official toy announcements, but perhaps we'll get those this Christmas (although I'd have expected to hear about them by now).

In any case, its not clear to me how much of a success Marvel or Disney XD consider the series; clearly, they aren't in it for the money, what with the lack of licensed product and so forth.  Were there more licensed properties, I'd be able to bang the drum and encourage the fans to purchase them in support of the series - as it is, I think they're missing an opportunity and leaving money on the table.

I had hoped that the Avengers would be given a bit more promotional support, but its almost October (when Season One launched) and I've seen nothing - that doesn't bode well for DisneyXD's support for the show, nor Marvel's (although in every other way Marvel and Marvel Studios have been absolutely supportive).  Marvel announced quite a few new shows at the SDCC, including a new animated series for the Hulk (featuring even more Loeb creations, no doubt) - with their attention on the new and shiny,  I have my doubts as to whether or not they'll support what they see as "old news".  Unless Season Two shows itself to be remarkably successful without any Marketing support, I doubt we'll see a Season Three.

Dammit!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Captain America: The First Avenger Review

Review --- SPOILERS!






Captain America:  The First Avenger

Summary:

Scientists in the Frozen North find the wreckage of an aircraft, containing a red, white, and blue artifact which has been perfectly preserved in ice.

Back to Norway, 1942, where the Red Skull and his Hydra goons steal the Cosmic Cube, which has been secretly hidden for generations. 

Steve Rogers, the proverbial 98 lb weakling with a compulsion to always "do the right thing", has been repeatedly rejected in his attempts to join the army.  His best friend, James "Bucky" Barnes, has been accepted, and  ships out the next day.  He and Rogers double-date to the World's Fair in NYC, where Rogers attempts to enlist again - and due to the influence of Dr. Abaraham Erskine, succeeds and is assigned to the Strategic Scientific Reserve as a candidate for Operation: Rebirth.

Colonel Phillips thinks Rogers is an utter waste of time, but SSR officer Peggy Carter, disagrees; not being much in the physical arena but unwilling to ever really give up, Rogers has developed a quick mind to think his way through problems without brute force (as he has no brute force to use).  Evidence of his courage comes in a scene where Phillips tosses a dummy grenade in the middle of the trainees, and Rogers is the only one to dive on top of it.

Elsewhere, the Red Skull and his pet scientist Arnim Zola learn to harness the power of the Cosmic Cube, and bleed off its energy to power Arnim Zola's weapon designs.  The Red Skull plans to use Hydra and the advanced weapons to conquer anyone who stands before his dreams of global domination - including Nazi Germany.

The night before Operation: Rebirth, Dr. Erskine reveals to Rogers that the Red Skull was created by a previous version of the Super Soldier Formula, and suffered from several side effects.   He tells Rogers that it was important to find a test subject with integrity and courage, as those traits would be magnified as well. 
Dr, Erskine, assisted by technologist Howard Stark, conduct the procedure the next morning, and Operation: Rebirth is a success, but Dr. Erskine is fatally shot by Nazi agent Heinz Kruger, who attempts to take the last sample of the Super Soldier Formula in an advanced Hydra mini-sub.  He is captured by Rogers, but kills himself with a cyanide capsule

Colonel Phillips is disgusted; he wanted a platoon of super-soldiers, not just one.  Rogers is taken in hand by Senator Brandt, who uses him in a travelling USO show in order to sell war bonds (and is successful).  Rogers hates being a costumed performer.  Rogers discovers that his pal Bucky was captured (along with many others) and sent to a forced-labor camp, and leaves the USO show.  Aided by Peggy Carter and Howard Stark, Rogers infiltrates the Hydra base where the prisoners are kept, frees the soldiers and Bucky, and confronts the Red Skull, who sets the self-destruct charges and escapes. 
Colonel Phillips allows Rogers to recruit a team from the prisoners he's rescued, and Rogers, Bucky, and the "Howling Commandos" then proceed to destroy Hydra bases.  Rogers is given the Shield, and his costume is made battle-worthy. 

Intelligence reports that Arnim Zola is on a special train, and Captain America and Bucky attack the train, along with the one Howling Commando (Gabe Jones) that is able to ride the zip-line in time.   They capture Arnim Zola, but Bucky falls off the train to his death.

Arnim Zola spills the Red Skull's ultimate plan - he intends to use the Cosmic Ccube-powered experimental delta-wing bomber (the "Valkyrie") to deploy manned "buzz bombs", each one powered by the Cosmic Cube and roughly equivalent to a nuclear bomb.  Captain America, the Howling Commandos, and a group of Rangers with Colonel Phillips and Peggy Carter attack the base, but the Red Skull escapes in the  Valkyrie.  Rogers manages to board the aircraft, battles Hydra bomb pilots, and eventually the Red Skull, who is disintigrated by the power of the Cosmic Cube (which, taken out of its machinery, burns a hole through the fusilage and falls into the ocean).

Rogers forces the Valkyrie down over the Artic.  Colonel Phillips, engaged in rescue operations, retrieve the Cosmic Cube but fail to find the aircraft wreckage.

Rogers awakes in a room designed to look like the 1940's, but the vintage radio tips him off by replaying a baseball game Rogers himself attended.  Rogers escapes the facility, but is confronted by Nick Fury, who explains that the deception was intended to eases Rogers into the present time and minimize his culture shock.

Roll credits.

After the credits, cue Rogers in the gym, beating a poor defenseless punching bag to a pulp.  This is followed by the Avengers movie trailer.

Comments:

  • There were many differences between the classical canon of the MU616 and the movie.  They are inconsequential.  The spirit of Captain America was perfectly portrayed.
  • Chris Evans and the writers nailed the character of Steve Rogers without making him either a wisecracking parody or an arrogant asshole.   Likewise, Hugo Weaving's Red Skull was the letter-perfect portrayal of the Red Skull.
  • Stanley Tucci was an excellent Abraham Erskine as the "father" to Captain America.
  • The relationship with Peggy Carter was very well developed, and very well played.
  • One of the technical things that has, in past attempts at making a Captain America movie, been making the Shield-tossing look real.  They nailed it in this one.
  • The car-hopping scene has been done before in other films, notably "The Phantom", but never done as well.
  • I cheered just a little bit when the World's Fair had the Human Torch android on display; I so wanted it to pop into flame!
  • Dum Dum Dugan yelling "WaaHooooo!" made me want to scream it with him.
  • I'd be willing to bet that the Red Skull wasn't destroyed, but rather his discorporation by the energy of the Cosmic Cube will be a mechanism to bring him back later.  
  • I thought the USO show was going to be a really cringeworthy cheese-fest, but it was actually quite well-done, and explains why Captain Rogers retained the suit - for newsreel propaganda purposes.  Buy War Bonds!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Women in AEMH

I recently ran across a post by the brilliant and talented Corinna Lawson, who is a writer of various things, in which she agrees with Gail Simone about the Wasp on the cartoon addiction of mine, Avengers: Earth's Mightiest heroes. She's pretty dismissive of the Wasp in her post, which I'll let you read so that you get the full context of what she says.  Off you go, but remember your "Back" button, neh?


Back yet?


Oh c'mon... its not that long.


Now, I'm not going to defend the character of the Wasp as such.


Well, OK, maybe a little bit.  But first, time to set my WAYBAC machine to the early 1960's. 


Janet Van Dyne, AKA the Wasp, was created in 1963 as the partner/sidekick to the Marvel Comics superhero Hank Pym, the Ant-man.  Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the character was very much a product of the time, from the same company and creative team which produced an endless stream of melodrama romance comics in that late 1950s/early 1960s period before the rebirth of the superhero genre in the Silver Age.  She and Hank Pym did the same angsty little dance that Captain America did with Sharon Carter, that Thor did with Jane Foster, that Iron Man did with Pepper Potts, et cetera, ad nauseaum.  She was one of the founding members of the Avengers, and one if its mainstays (especially when Pym and Janet stopped having a solo series).  The character developed over time, becoming strong and independent and clever and... well, basically she grew (pun not intended) into the role of the Avengers leader, and the mantle fit her well enough.  She was killed in the Secret Invasion storyline


Drizzle draizle drazzle drome, time for these ones to go home!  Back to the "Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes" (henceforth to be known as AEMH).


One of the things I admire most regarding AEMH is that they have taken the Avengers comic, and in the first year they have taken the heroes of the original team, and - similar to the live-action movies - updated them to the modern era while keeping the spirit, the flavor of the original work.  One of Ms. Lawson's complaints is that there are not more women on the team; in mitigation, there was only one woman on the original team as well, until the Scarlet Witch joined (and even after, for a long time it was only the two of them).  When the Season One of AEMH was being written, the Scarlet Witch was a character in the Wolverine and the X-men cartoon; as such, she was not available for use in AEMH.


I will say that while there is only one member of the Avengers team, there are plenty of intriguing female characters in the show, both as part of the (often-ignored) supporting cast (the hyper-capable Pepper Potts, the S.H.I.E.L.D. special agents Black Widow and Mockingbird, the Deputy Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Maria Hill, the Asgardian goddesses Sif, Karnilla the Norn Queen, and Valkyrie) and the villains (the clever and manipulative Enchantress, the Hydra agent/lieutenant Viper, Vapor of the U-Foes).  Carol Danvers is introduced and given her Ms. Marvel abilities, and she will appearing in Season Two (I believe as part of the Avengers team, not just an ally).


Since the production team made the decision to start the Avengers at the beginning, their options for female members was somewhat limited. 


One of the other complaints Corrina had - and to a large degree, justly so - is the flighty, immature nature of the Wasp character.  I have heard similar complaints about the Iron Man character, the Thor character, and the Captain America character in that Iron Man's armor frequently malfunctions, Thor is an arrogant prick, Captain America's character is too naive.  My answer to each of these complaints has essentially been the same; although we know these characters in their modern incarnations, these characters are presented to us as they initially appeared in the Marvel Universe.   The characters we know and love have 40-ish years of character development behind them; the Avengers in AEMH have not.  These characters have room for character development;  Iron Man is learning that the 'super-science' others call magic is real, and can be frustratingly potent, that his armor is not the one-answer solution to everything.  Thor is learning that his comrades are not "mere mortals", but allies worthy of his trust and respect.  Captain America is slowly emerging as the leader we know he becomes, without making a testosterone brawl out of it (like Hawkeye would *cough*).  Wasp's character development by the end of Season One has come together nicely, although perhaps not at the pace some might prefer. 


Now, a word about some of the other female members of the Avengers. My comments are based on Avengers history and prior characterization; obviously, if the creators of AEMH totally re-designed the characters, some of my comments may not apply.  Joshua Fine has defined Season One as the "Introduction" season, and Season Two as the "Cosmic" season (with the Secret Invasion, Kree/Skrull war, Guardians of the Galaxy, and more scheduled).  He has said in an interview that he had intended to make Season Three the "Magic" season, but whether or not that holds - or indeed, whether or not we get a third season! - is highly speculative.


  •  The Scarlet Witch - As mentioned above, when the first season was created, the Scarlet Witch was not available because of her inclusion in the cast of Wolverine and the X-Men.  As for her prospects for Season Two, Producer Josh Fine as stated "I will neither confirm nor deny that the Scarlet Witch and/or her brother will appear in Season Two".  I can't really imagine that she won't be showing up and becoming an integral part of the team by the beginning of Season Three, however.
  • Mantis - Unless they adapt The Celestial Madonna story arc, there really is no place for Mantis.  She was initially the girlfriend of the Swordsman, who has not yet been introduced, let alone reformed to the hero he became later.
  • Ms. Marvel - She's already on the way for Season Two
  • Moondragon - She's scheduled to appear in Season Two as part of the Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Sersei - The race of the Eternals has not yet been introduced.
  • Tigra - Tigra was the feminist hero the Cat, who underwent a mystic ritual that changed her into Tigra.  Perhaps if the plans for Season Three hold, we'll get to see her then.
  • Hellcat - Patsy Walker found a Cat exoskeleton suit when she was traveling with the Avengers during the Serpent Crown affair.  Perhaps if that arc is adapted, we'll get her then. Alternatively, if they make the Cat into Tigra, Patsy could have her old suit...
  • She-Hulk - Redundant, with the Hulk on the team.  Granted, I've speculated on a way she could join the team in Season Two (involving Maria Hill's activating the Hulkbusters, Jennifer being injured and getting the transfusion, and Hulk leaving the team so as to not make them Hulkbuster targets as well).
  • Black Widow - Already a part of S.H.I.E.L.D., even though she's not yet cleared of treason by Fury, who went underground (probably to form his Secret Warriors for the forthcoming Season Two Skrull invasion).
  • Mockingbird - Already a part of S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • Photon - I got nothing, except that her primary introduction and elevation to a leadership role was much later in the Avengers history, and would displace a few decades of Avengers team development.  Disclaimer - her powers also lend an immediate remedy to too many situations; she's too damn powerful for any significant threat short of Galactus, so the writers would have to scale her back or find a way for her not to fry villains at near-lightspeed.
  • Lionheart - The Avengers have yet to go to England.  Yeah, I know, poor excuse - but the character as created wasn't really interesting, either.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Avengers Origins

One of the strange aspects to "Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes" is the fact that the founding members of the Avengers have not been defined within the series:

Iron Man - We know that munitions billionaire and playboy Tony Stark invented the Iron Man armor, but we don't know any of the AEMH continuity details.

Hulk - We know that Bruce Banner suffered a gamma radiation accident, but we don't know whether or not it was during the testing of a gamma bomb, we don't know if he saved a youth who had sneaked onto the testing range named Rick Jones, et cetera.

Ant-Man/Giant-Man - We know that Hank Pym developed the size-changing Pym particles, and invented his cybernetic inselct-communication helmet.

Wasp - We know that Hank designed the procedure to give Janet Van Dyne wings and to channel bio-energy blasts, but we don't know why he conducted human experiments with such new procedures.

Thor - Clearly, there is no Dr. Don Blake in Thor's origin.

Hawkeye - All we know is that he has been a special SHIELD agent, and that he crew up in a circus; we don't know if he was already the bowman marksman when he joined SHIELD, we don't know if he was mentored by the carnie who would become the villain-turned-hero the Swordsman.

The Black Panther and Captain America (well, and Ms. Marvel, but she's not an Avenger yet!) are the only two of the Avengers for which we have relatively complete origins - mostly because they happened as episodes!


Friday, April 15, 2011

Captain America in AEMH


With the longest running Cap site (ongoing since 1993) on the web, you could say I'm a big CA fan... :D  

Some have questioned the Captain America screentime and 'kick-assed-ness' -- for lack of a better word -- in his portrayal in the Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes show.    I hate to disappoint those who are expecting me to buy in and join their rant, but to be honest those issues aren't very important to me.  What is important, IMO, is how he's portrayed in the time he is portrayed.  Obviously, I can't comment on what I haven't seen yet -- still holding the line and waiting for the USA broadcasts, not covering the episodes with the Youtube uploads from Australia --, but thus far the writers have positioned him (a) as the fighting spirit of the team, (b) the go-to guy on combat tactics, and (c) the guy who is always working to make the team stronger.

Would I like more screen time, more 'kick-assed-ness'?  Of course I would.  But just as I find Iron Man fans kvetching over how Iron Man is treated badly, and Thor fans kvetching how Thor is treated badly, and Hulk fans... -you get the idea - a tad ....partisan, I'm not really about to work up a lather about how they're not making the show "Captain America and the Avengers".

Its an ensemble show with a large cast, guest stars, and the villain du jour; I think they've done a pretty good job thus far in highlighting everyone with good character moments and the like, building team dynamics without necessarily hitting us over the head with it.

How Captain America is portrayed is much more important to me than how often he's the focus of the show, and so far the creative team has done one kick-ass job of portraying Steve Rogers as he should be.  I have no complaints.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Australian AEMH

In the USA, the remaining episodes of Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes don't broadcast until after the release of the Thor movie, May 6th. In Australia, they're already being broadcast, one a day, until the rest of the season is done.  These are, as one might expect, being made available to Youtube. 

I will not be discussing or using the content from these episodes until their USA release dates.

My reason is simple.  Respect - the same reason why I have an iTunes subscription to Season One, and will subscribe to Season Two as soon as its available. 

There is an implicit relationship when a company - in this instance, Marvel Studios - authorizes the creation of a show.  They put out a reasonable investment, they hire such professionals as Joshua Fine, Chris Yost, and a horde of others to create the best Avengers show they can.  The writers, artists, directors, production logistics folk - all of them work very diligently.  If, as consumers and fans, we like what they have done, we make a certain effort to reward it; in the case of "Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes", this requires access to the DisneyXD channel, which means paying a company for access, or paying a subscription fee to iTunes for the whole season.  

Granted, these are not huge costs to pay, but they are there, and part of the implicit contract between those who provide us with the show, and those of us who eagerly watch the show. 

In the United States, the show is slated to help promote the movie, and "prepare the ground", so to speak, for the Captain America movie coming in July.  It is my belief that honoring their wishes shows the proper respect for those who make the show we're all so fond of, from Joshua Fine and Chris Yost to the in-betweener artists and the production slav....er...assistants.  I value what they do, and my way of showing that respect is to not take advantage of the availability of the episodes via the Australian release, but to wait patiently for their USA release, as intended.


My appetite for the new episodes is as great as anyone's, so I do understand the temptation to indulge in the new episodes before their USA release date.  I know many of you will roll your eyes at the concept of respect due the creators of AEMH, and extending to them an inconvenient courtesy.  Courtesy and respect are rare commodities these days, and have little value to those who don't want to wait to see the episodes; and in fact, I'm not expecting many of you to join me in waiting.  I am explaining why I am waiting, and why the site's content will not be updating with it (for the most part - I reserve the right to make microheroes and cast entries with what I know when information is legitimately released, as with the episodes "Ultron-5" and "The Casket of Ancient Winters") until the USA release dates.

Sometimes, just because we can do something is not a good enough reason to actually do it. 

As ever, YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary).

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Quality Will Tell

I'm about halfway through an Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes marathon - it started when I needed to pull reference from the first episode, and I let it run until ... well, lets just say I just finished "Living Legend".  Some scenes still send a chill up my spine.

The humor, the spot-on characterization by Chris Yost and his team of writers, the whole Silver Age gestalt... the series holds up to repeated viewings in the same way that Batman: TAS and the Justice League cartoons do, with the difference that, well, not to put too fine a point on it... these are my Avengers.

Shame the comics, under BENDIS!, are for me absolutely unreadable - cardboard mannequins in colored costumes.  They look alike, they sound alike, they move like chess pieces to fulfill the fanfic-level crap plots.

The difference is... excruciatingly, nausea-inducing pain.

Friday, March 25, 2011

AEMH and the End of Season One

Ordinarily I don't worry overmuch about spoilers on my site, but I am warning you now, you might not want to read the rest of this if you really don't want to hear me talk about the end of Season One.

So instead, I give you a couple of microheroes to serve as Spoiler Space:


The All-Father!


Jane Foster

OK, spoilers are over!

Now, on to Asgard.

In the classic MU-616, Loki was the impetus who brought the Avengers together.  In many ways, during Season One, his tendrils have been just about everywhere; he formed the Masters of Evil, which has been one of the major thorns in their side.  

All of Loki's machinations (well, maybe not all of them, but a lot of them) come home to roost.   In "The Casket of Ancient Winters", Thor finds that he is exiled from Asgard; he cannot follow the Enchantress back and regain the Casket of Ancient Winters.  

The Masters of Evil prepare the ground, and Loki's forces invade Midgard (that's us).  In their way - only the mortals of the Avengers plus one beleaguered Thunder God stand in their way.  I don't have any real specific knowledge, but we are told that the Avengers get scattered across the Nine Worlds, trying to survive.  In the end, the Norns (or at least the TV guide summary of the season finale) declare that Loki will stand triumphant.

...but can he hold what he has taken against Earth's Mightiest Heroes?

Time will tell the tale - all I know is that in the meantime, I have a lot of Asgardian-related microheroes to do!


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

This is the Winter of our Discontent!

While we wait out the dearth of new content - we still have seven episodes yet to air for Season One, but so far no information about the episodes, or when their will air - I thought I'd toss out a list of things I'd like to see in future episodes (while being perfectly happy if I don't see any of it, so long as the writing stays as top-notch as it has thus far!) or seasons.

Some tap dancing will be required without the presence of the Scarlet Witch, but I am confident that they can either work around that, or (even better!) add her to the team.

* "Invasion of the Lava Men" I like the lava men, what can I say... (Av v.1 #5)

* "The Coming of the Swordsman" Intro Swordsman as a traitor Avenger. We can include the subplot with him being a spy for the Mandarin (Av v.1 #19)

* "Attuma Attacks!" (Av v.1 #26) *cue Arnie voice "Its not a tumor!"*

* "Sign of the Serpent" Sons of the Serpent (Av. v.1 #32) - Preferably with some of the Serpent Society acting as officers/leaders.  I always though that once the Serpent Society was introduced, that the Sons of the Serpent (sans their racism) would be a natural name for their human operatives.

* "In Our Midst - an Immortal" Intro Heracles (Av. v.1 #38) We can have overtones of the Thor storyline with Pluto as the enemy, too ...

* "Let Sleeping Dragons Lie" Diablo and Dragon Man (Av. v.1 #41)

* "Behold - The Vision" Intro Vision. (Av. v.1 #57)

* Combine Avengers #59 and 60, with the Circus of Crime, but minus the wedding. To0 early...

* "Enter - the Squadron Sinister" Intro the Squiddies! (Av. v1 #70)

* "The Lethal Legion" Intro Lethal Legion (Av. v.1 #79)

* "Check and Mate" Intro Space Phantom into AEMH (Av. v.1 #108)

* "Your Young Men Shall Slay Visions" Hard one without Scarlet, but has one of the best Cap scenes ever. (Av. v.1 #113)

* The Avengers/Defenders War! Go Loki!

* Any plotline with the Collector.

* The Zodiac, but any decent plot will do... (Av v.1 #120)

* Any Legion of the Unliving story, Intro Immortus (Av v.1 #130)

* Avengers Vs. Kang in the 19th Century American West (Av. v.1 #142)

* The Serpent Crown storyline. (Av. v.1 #144, et al)

* Acts of Vengence (Av v.1 #313)

* The Lunatic Legion (Kree renegades trying to take revenge on the Avengers for their part in the Kree/Skrull war)

* "Once an Invader" Et al - any excuse for an Invaders flashback. Come to that, lets see a plot with Baron Blood recapping his first appearance in the Invaders (Invaders #6-7).

There are some plots that I'd like to see - the Magneto in the Savage Land with his mutates, around Av. #112 or so? - but Magneto is problematic, given his "X-Universe" status.

I also wouldn't mind seeing "focus" episodes - adapted stories from the individual Iron Man/Thor/Cap/Hulk titles.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Avengers EMH and Wolverine and the X-Men

Chris Yost has commented, in response to a question on his Facebook page (which is a nifty place for AEMH news):

"At one point, season 2 of W&TXM was in development the same time as season 1 of AEMH, so it would have matched that more or less. Supervising producer of both shows Josh Fine probably knows better than I do, but i always assumed the microepisodes (except Cap, obviously) took place after W&TXM season 1 finale. I'm sure there's a thousand reasons why that doesn't work, but that's what i was thinking."

I had wondered that myself! As for whether or not the two series remain in the same universe:

"But as you say, it's all up in the air now. :)"

In short, it was the plan, but not the current plan, as "Wolverine and the X-Men" are no longer in production.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Wolverine & The X-Men in the AEMH Universe?

There is a contention that the Wolverine & The X-Men (W&tX) animated series and the Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes (AEMH) animated series share the same universe.  There are three things offered as indicative of this:

* Christopher Yost indicated that they were in a chat log.
* The voice actor who performed the voice of Nick Fury is the same.
* The MRD, mentioned by Nick Fury in one of the micro-episodes, was invented in the W&tX series.


The most powerful argument for me is the first; that Christopher Yost, who serves as the Story Editor for AEMH indicated that they would share a common universe.  However, that was back before the W&tX series was officially canceled; if the two series were both running, then such a cross-marketing synergy would have made sense.  Once the W&tX series was canceled, however, it made no sense at all; why limit your use of roughly 1/3 of Marvel's characters by adhering to the W&tX series continuity when there was no upside?
 




The two series sharing a voice actor is not proof of anything.  There are a handful of actors who are very popular in the hero adventure animation world.  Fred Tatasciore (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0851317/ ) has played numerous characters in the Marvel and DC animated features, including the Hulk in the Lionsgate Hulk VS features, and a video game; that he has played the character in several venues does not mean those venues share a common continuity with the AEMH.

Further, while the same voice actor may have played Fury in both shows, the appearance of the two characters is quite different, including having eyepatches over different eyes!

The appearance of the MRD is categorically not proof.  It was created for the W&tX show, but was introduced to the mainstream MU via X-Factor, 204-206 (June 2010) or so, by Peter David. Arguing that its proof is just the same as arguing that Batman: Brave and the Bold is the same universe as B:TAS because Harley Quinn first appeared in one, then the DCU, then B:B&B.

Don't get me wrong - While I think it would be a bad idea because of the differences in "age" of the MU (AEMH seems to be set in modern times but with the MU begining framework) and the W&tX, as well as putting unnecessary restraints on the writing team, I'd have no serious complaint about it as such; but saying/wishing it so doesn't make it so. 

Until there is an appearance unique to both shows, all one can show is intention, and speculation - neither is proof.  If the W&tX show is meant to share the continuity, we shall at some point be provided with such proof - but we have not yet been.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Kang & Time Travel

"The Man Who Stole Tomorrow" - Avengers Episode 17

I am, myself, having a problem with Kang's basic premise that Captain America somehow doesn't "belong" in the 21st century. He was active until he was frozen, then sat in the arctic deep freeze as a Capsicle for ... what? Six and a half decades? Then he was defrosted.

He's not an anomaly; he never left the time-stream.

I'm also curious as to why Kang wasn't able to track Captain America's history to the pivotal moment where Cap's presence begins to tip the balance.

My theory goes something like this... Kang's time-monitoring equipment can't actually allow Kang to visit/record/whatever - the observer bit like he did in the micro-episodes - anything close to a time period when he personally manifests, so he was able to track Winghead up along the time-stream and no further. So he sees Captain America defrosted, sees the post-Kree-Skrull War after-Earth, and perhaps assumes that Captain America is the causation pivot.

If he could have presented the Avengers with the specific causation event, it could be avoided without harming Captain America. We know - as an audience - that three things are certain:

1 - Kang does not eliminate Captain America
2 - Kang ultimately fails to conquer the Earth
3 - The Kree-Skrull War fails to destroy the Earth

Any hypothesis must conform to those three fourth-wall facts.

if Kang had been serious about ridding the present of Captain America's presence, then he could merely have gone back a little further to when Cap is still on ice, removed the huge ice-cube, and tossed it into the sun, all without opposition.

I think that Captain America is Kang's scapegoat, as his ego will not let him come to the conclusion that its his own attempt to mess with the timeline of the 21st century that causes his own future to fade; that his time-travel back is part of the timeline, and that his own timeline is a branch always doomed to fade, unless he can learn to not go back - a conclusion to which he's not capable of coming.

Yeah, its a sideways paradox - but it could be the minute one leaves the timeline the first time, one essentially becomes a paradox when one travels upstream, and not subject to normal causation. Kang exists because he didn't exist to interfere - once he does not interfere, he exists to interfere, and once he does, the true 'baseline' timeline - in which another future is written, not the one he traced back to this divergence point - becomes his dominant timeline, and the branch from which he's from is 'pruned'.

The real question for me has become how did Kang's equipment trace Captain America as the causation point, or did it merely bring Kang to the approximate era and Kang himself decided that Captain America was the causation point?

.... or, umm... something like that.