As we count down to May 4th – the release of the Avengers feature film, let’s take a look at another version of the Avengers from Marvel Comics’ animation division. With the debut on April 1 of the Marvel Universe block on Disney XD alongside the highly-anticipated Ultimate Spider-Man animated series, the true gem of Marvel’s animation studio is the eagerly awaited second season of The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
The first season originally aired on Disney XD beginning in 2010 and featured a well-paced look at the creation of the Avengers team with founding members Iron Man, Thor, The Hulk, Ant-Man, and the Wasp. The team was also joined later on by Captain America, Black Panther, and Hawkeye, with the stories heavily influenced by the original Avengers stories created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby but also taking influences from almost 50 years of Avengers tales.
Season 1 focused on the origin of the team shortly following the destruction of the maximum security prisons for super-villains called the Vault, the Cube, the Big House, and the Raft. By the end of the first season, it was revealed that Loki, Thor’s half-brother, was behind the destruction of the prisons and aided the Enchantress in the creation of the Masters of Evil. Following a battle on Asgard, at the climax of Season 1, it was revealed that Captain America was captured by the shape-shifting race of aliens called the Skrulls and there currently is a Skrull disguised as Captain America in the midst of the Avengers.
Season 2, Episode 1 “The Private War of Doctor Doom” debuted on April 1st and featured the appearance of the Fantastic Four team with the Avengers. In typical Marvel-style, the Thing, Hawkeye, Captain America, the Black Panther, the Human Torch, and the Hulk are playing a game of poker but the game gets interrupted by Doctor Doom’s simultaneous attack at the Avengers mansion as well as at the Fantastic Four headquarters where Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic), Iron Man, Wasp, and the Invisible Woman (Susan Storm) are. Naturally there’s a lot of competition between the Hulk and the Thing about who’s the strongest, which is always a lot of fun. Doom’s reason for his attack foreshadows that again the Skrull invasion is getting bigger than originally thought.
In Season 2, Episode 2 “Alone against A.I.M,” Tony Stark finds himself without his Iron Man armor and has to face the menace of the Technovore, a monster created with one goal in mind: to consume all of the arc-reactor technology – including the one that controls Tony Stark’s heart. Plus, the episode debuts the first appearance of War Machine (James Rhodes) and it’s a treat to see him in action again the A.I.M. agents out to get revenge on Tony Stark and Captain America (still a shape-shifting Skrull in disguise) gets a new shield created by Tony Stark that comes in pretty handy against A.I.M. Meanwhile, the new S.H.I.E.L.D. director, Maria Hill, still thinks the Avengers are dangerous and wants them to register the Avengers with S.H.I.E.L.D. Pepper Potts, Tony Stark’s loyal assistant also gets some great screen time as well.
Overall, Season 2 is off to a great start. Series writer Chris Yost, who is no slouch writing comic books, has created a high-impact, smartly written show that appeals to fans of all ages. This season is looking to be just as exciting as the first season, as more Avengers will be joining the team including Ms. Marvel, Vision, Falcon, and Mockingbird, plus there will be appearances by many other characters from the Marvel Universe including the Red Hulk, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Captain Marvel, and the Guardians of the Galaxy. With classic storylines being features including an impending arrival of a Skrull vs. Kree invasion as well as recent plots from both the Skrull-based “Secret Invasion” comic book series mixed in with a little of the “Civil War” storyline, there’s plenty for fans to be excited about.