Avengers, “Living Legend”

09Nov10

Sorry for the late review-I was out of town, so I couldn’t catch the episode until I came back to my DVR. But we press on.

It’s a little strange to say this is when we finally get to meet Captain America, considering he appeared in several of the mini episodes and this was only the third episode of the full series…but it does feel like we’ve been waiting for him, at least for comic book fans of the Avengers. I know that I was as well, but that’s because I’m a big fan of Captain America as a character. I honestly think that he is the best answer Marvel has had to Batman, even if he’s never really matched him in popularity. But that’s probably a topic best saved for another post.

As they try to find the Hulk in the Arctic (without mentioning how they tracked him, considering the Hulk ended up smashing his Avengers ID last episode), the Avengers instead come across Captain America, still somehow alive in the ice. Apparently they decide that’s better than the Hulk, since they give up looking for the green guy. We get a very brief flashback to how he ended up there, until Cap wakes up…and starts to destroy the whole team. Really, it’s the best fight of the episode, as the 90 year old man keeps throwing them all around like ragdolls until the Wasp manages to convince him they’re not villains (or as Cap specifies, Hydra agents.) After getting him calmed down enough to stop kicking their asses, the Avengers bring him to their mansion where everyone tries not to act completely star struck by him, with Iron Man in particular acting like he’s about to break out in a girlish squeal over the whole thing.

Meanwhile, thanks to his very public trashing of 2 scientific geniuses and a god, Captain America has been publicly sighted. In the middle of pimp-slapping Baron Strucker into giving Hydra back, Baron Zemo finds out Captain America is alive. He decides to focus on killing him with the help of Arnim Zola, the best giant-faced android in all of comics. There’s another “flash back” to Zemo and Captain America fighting in 1941-though unlike the first one, it’s new footage, rather than a short clip from one of the mini episodes. The original comics origin for Zemo’s hatred of Captain America was that he smashed a vat full of super strong glue over Zemo, so now the guy can’t remove his hood. The updated origin is that instead of glue, it’s a virus, and somehow he survived due to unexplained treatments, because….well, because comics, that’s why. It’s the most hand-wavey part of the series so far, and it’s a bit too blatant. But it establishes the idea of Zemo being a very old enemy of Captain America, without getting into the comic’s explanation, that it’s actually his son-or grandson-carrying on a family tradition.

With Zola’s help, Zemo sends a bunch of living dough things to attack the Statue of Liberty as a distraction, while going to Avengers Mansion with one floating doughboy (Why can he float and the others can’t? No explanation is given) to attack Captain America directly. It’s all a bit awkward, at least until Cap starts to fight Zemo directly, with a brief assist from the Black Panther, who’s been sneaking into the Mansion all episode. And then he puts one hell of a hurt onto Zemo, before going to inspire the rest of the Avengers to stop messing around and actually kill the putty monster.

This was a bit like a second pilot for the show. I doubt that this is the final line-up, mind you-one of the advantages to the Avengers is the idea that you don’t need to have certain members to make an Avengers team…even if it feels more official with at least some of the big guns on the squad. But Captain America is probably the biggest change to the Avengers line up, and gives them a no-nonsense leader. Some of the awkwardness that the actual pilot avoided seems to have appeared here instead. But Captain America kicks enough ass to get past it (seriously, shield uppercuts look supremely painful). However, as much as I hope the Black Panther thread doesn’t get forgotten, I’d also be fine with the next episode not introducing him in full. We need at least a few episodes where new heroes aren’t coming in, so that we can focus on the ones the show already has.

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