Reload Site

Alone Against A.I.M

Season Two, Episode 28


Director(s) Boyd Kirkland

Story by Chris Wyatt and Kevin Burke

Summary Somewhere in the world, at an A.I.M base, A.I.M. drones are busy carrying a high-tech cage containing Technovore, which breifly escapes, creating chaos among the guards until it is re-captured by the Supreme Scientist, who wants to use it for revenge - on Iron Man!

Meanwhile Stark is busy tinkering with a new engery shield device for Captain AmeriSkrull  while listening to Stark International executives report the loss of revenue following the closing of their weapons division.  Pepper Potts coms in to re-inforce the message; the board of directors is very concerned that Stark's time is seemingly all spent on Avengers projects than making his company successful.  We also find out that Stark has been financing the Avengers out of his personal fortune.  Stark gets a call - its Captain AmeriSkrull, telling Stark they are ready to move his remaining armors from the Armory to the Avengers Mansion, to make Stark International less of a target.

Stark then takes a meeting with an irate Maria Hill, the Acting Director of SHIELD. She renews her call for the Avengers to join SHIELD.

Captain AmeriSkrull, Black Panther, and James Rhodes are transfering the Iron Man armor, which is contained in high-tech crates.  We learn that one of them is Rhodes' armor, the War Machine, but that he has no interest in being an Avenger.

While the A.I.M. drones continue their preparations to unleash the Technivore on Stark International, Maria Hill and Tony Stark continue to discuss her demand, with Stark pointing out that SHIELD already knows who the Avengers are.  Hill counters that if Iron Man steps forward and the Avengers register, it will go a long way to setting an example; other heroes are popping up, like Spider-Man and the X-Men, and they need to be held accountable for their actions.  Hill also points out that it only will take one violation, one failure, for SHIELD to come after all heroes.

A.I.M. invades the Stark International building, with the Supreme Scientist of A.I.M. leading the way.  He enters Pepper's office area, and unleashes the Technovore while taking Pepper prisoner.  While A.I.M. secures its prisoners, the Technovore slithers around SI, homing in on Stark.  It has been conditioned to seek out the arc reactor tech which powers Stark's heart.

A.I.M. begins to loot the computers and tech of Stark International, when they encouter Black Panther, Captain AmeriSkrull, and James Rhodes. While A.I.M. downloads and destroys, planting bombs, Stark and Hill are attacked by the Technovore, which is basically a giant, shrimp-worm that seeks to devour technology. Stark uses his new energy nanotech A.I. who was designed to destroy data, but exceeded its programming.  Stark And Hill escape the Technovore, but run into A.I.M. Drones, and they report the encounter to the Supreme Scientist - but Pepper takes his comlink and tells Stark of their plans to blow up the Arc Reactor.  Stark and Hill must stop them, or such an explosion would take out the whole building.

The Technovore catches up to them, and launches itself onto Stark, starting to eat Stark's heart.  Hill knocks it away.  Elsewhere in the building, Captain AmeriSkrull and the Black Panther are beating up A.I.M Drones.  War Machine comes out to play, as more A.I.M. Drones arrive. The Technovore heads down the elevator shaft, and Hill and Stark follow; Hill conveniently has an appropriate device for repelling down the elevator cable.  

A.I.M. Drones have finished downloading Stark International computer records of Stark tech, including armor tech. The team which planted the Arc Reactor explosives withdraw. Technovore assaults War Machine and knocks him into the Arc Reactor room, while the Avewngers take down the A.I.M. Drones.  

Stark has entered the fray in his new Mark 9 Iron Man armor, knocking Technovore off War Machine. They start up the Arc Reactor and set it to overload. It attracts the Technovore, which Iron Man forces into the energy stream. The stream expands, and Captain AmeriSkrull  expands his new energy shield to cover all the others. Stark leaves the Technovore in the middle of the stream, where it absorbs too much energy, exploding itself.  The reactor winds down, and Stark realizes that A.I.M. still holds Pepper Potts prisoner.

The Supreme Scientist and his remaining drones are almost to their escape craft, but encounter Captain AmeriSkrull, the Black Panther, and Maria Hill, who make short work of the drones.  The Supreme Scientist threatens Pepper Potts, who turns in place while his attention is on Iron Man and War Machine and lands a nice uppercut punch, knocking the Supreme Scientist on his yellow butt.

After, Hill and Stark continue their argument. Hill underscores that the Avengers put people at risk.
Commentary Once more, the folks at the helm of the AEMH show that they're really at the top of their game.  The story is crisp, the action dynamic, and the writing a nice blend of the main story of the episode and progress on the longer sub-plots and arcs, very reminiscent of the pacing of the best of the Avengers comics in the days before decompressed storytelling and padding...err...writing for the trade collection.

It was gratifying to have another Stark-centric episode, if only so that we could see his much-neglected supporting cast again.  Pepper Potts and Rhodey should have appeared before now, especially with Rhodey in his War Machine armor.  The War Machine design nicely combines elements of its MU-616 incarnations, and, not to put too fine a point on it, kicks yellow A.I.M. butt, as it should.  It may not be as flexible in its responses as Iron Man's new armor, but it sure as heck packs a lot of firepower.

Others opinions may vary, but I really enjoyed Technovore; frankly, I've been waiting for him since "Breakout" in Season One.  I know he's basically a short worm-shrimp monster, but I was raised on cheesey horror films like "The Tingler" when I was growing from a tadpole, and retain my affection for the genre. 

The AEMH world moves one step closer to mandatory superhero registration, and hopefully this time the concepts will be intelligently explored; the comic version was hasty and ill-thought-out, a bare excuse of a plot device for poorly-written "hero VS hero" fanfic-level conflict.  My expectation, built from the superlative job the writers have done thus far, is that this arc will be far more thoughtful and the heroes written true to their characters.

In other notes:

* Stark wears the Mark 9 Iron Man armor.

* Does Maria Hill have any other mode other than irate and bitchy?

* So far, Hill's arguments for super-hero registration are a lot more convincing than the comics ever were.

* A few of the arc reactior reaction lines show in Stark's chest, a nice touch.

* Hill conveniently has an appropriate device for repelling down the elevator cable. Batman ain't got nuthin' on SHIELD tech, baby!

* "I expect to have this reflected in my pay raise" - Pepper Potts, after decking the Supreme Scientist.