tek's rating:

The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, Disney XD
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Well, before the series actually started, there was a microseries (20 episodes roughly 5 to 6 minutes each) that I never got around to watching. But they're online, so I finally watched them when I started this review of the series (after having seen the first few regular episodes). The microseries introduced the characters and basic situation of the show. Of course there have been lots of Avengers stories over the years in various comics and TV shows and movies and such, so it's not completely new to me. But every incarnation is a bit different. Anyway, let's see. First we meet the superhero Iron Man, aka Tony Stark, head of Stark Industries. He's fighting an organization called HYDRA, which has been trying to take over the world for decades. (It's led by Baron Strucker, once a lieutenant of the Red Skull.) There's also an organization called SHIELD (Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division), which fights supervillains, I guess, in a more official way than the world's various superheroes. Its director is Nick Fury. Stark Industries used to make weapons for them, but Tony's not into that anymore. (But it seems HYDRA has somehow acquired Stark's weaponry.) We also meet Bruce Banner, who is dealing with his gamma-ray induced alter-ego, the Hulk, who is essentially a monster (or at least that's how the world sees him). Banner is worried that SHIELD wants to turn various irradiated people into weapons. (There's also a military group called the Hulk Busters to contend with.) But one agent of SHIELD, Hawkeye, has his doubts about whether the Hulk is truly a monster. Then there's a scientist named Hank Pym, who can make himself very small (bug-sized) or very large, hence the alter egos Ant-Man and Giant-Man. He can also control ants. He's studying a metal called vibranium. There's the Norse thunder god Thor, who has to worry about his home realm of Asgard, as well as our world, which Asgardians call Midgard. And Asgard is being attacked by an army led by Thor's own brother, Loki. And there's Janet van Dyne (who we like), a business associate of Pym's, who can shrink herself to bug-size as well, and fly, and fire energy blasts. She's known as the Wasp (and she's my favorite character on the show). And in the 1940s, during WWII, a weakling named Steve Rogers was injected with a serum that greatly increased his strength and speed, transforming him into the super-soldier Captain America. He and his sidekick, Bucky, fought the forces of Red Skull (then head of HYDRA), who was using a bridge between our world and Asgard to capture "mythical" creatures to use for his own purposes. We also see T'Challa, prince of the African nation Wakanda, whose father T'Chaka was the Black Panther (a position held by the king of Wakanda). The nation was usurped by the Man Ape with the help of Ulysses Klaw (who wanted vibranium, which existed within a meteor that crashed in Wakanda). Then there's another agent of SHIELD, Black Widow (who we like), who is engaged in a deal with HYDRA, but she frames Hawkeye for her own traitorous act. Also, centuries in future, Kang the Conqueror realized that somehow Captain America was disrupting his timeline. Having conquered Earth in his own time (which is now being erased from existence for some reason), he travels back in time to the present to try to conquer the world now, or at least prevent the destruction of his timeline (and also to save the life of his beloved Ravonna, who we like).

As you can tell from the microseries, there are alot of disparate elements that are all ultimately connected (and if it seems like I said alot, I've also left out a ton of details which will be important throughout the series). I quite like how much thought has apparently been put into all of this. Anyway, in the two-part series premiere, 74 of the world's most dangerous supervillains escape from SHIELD's four prisons (the Vault, the Cube, the Big House, and the Raft), which had been predicted by one of the prisoners, Mad Thinker, during the microseries. The first villain to make trouble is Graviton, and Nick Fury tries to fight him, but so do several heroes: Iron Man, Thor, Wasp, Giant-Man, and Hulk. After they take down Graviton, Iron Man gets the other heroes to join him in a new team called the Avengers, though they don't exactly get along that well. Hulk leaves pretty soon, because of his own problems, but while they're searching for him, they discover Captain America, frozen in ice since the 1940s, and he joins the team, too. A bit later, the team helps T'Challa (the new Black Panther) defeat Man Ape and reclaim his throne in Wakanda, but he then sets up a council to rule his country, while he joins the Avengers. Of course, the team is going to need all the help it can get, because there are still 73 escaped supervillains to be recaptured. Plus various organizations to fight, like HYDRA and AIM (Advanced Idea Mechanics), and any number of other enemies, including rogue Asgardians the Enchantress (who we like) and the Executioner.

There's not much else I can say yet, it's still early in the series. But it seems reasonably well written, I like the animation well enough, and it should be fun trying to get to know all the characters (heroes and villains alike), and trying to make sense of all the different pieces of the story.

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