Reload Site

Code Red

Season Two, Episode 46


Director(s) Ray Burdine

  Men of Action

Summary United States Secretary of Defense Dell Rusk is making an anti-Avengers speech, widely covered by the press; the Avengers must be accountable under the law.

In the Avengers Mansion, Iron Man and Captain America are in the training center, while Dell Rusk's speech, covered by the news, is in the background on monitor.  Iron Man is annoyed, but Captain America is unconcerned; politians are transitory, but fighting against Evil never ends.

After they finish sparring, Iron Man makes Captain America the leader of the Avengers, just before there is a gas explosion.  Toxic gas floods the Mansion, and anyone it reaches becomes infected.  The gas makes people sick with a debilitating condition, turning their skin red, and constricting their skin until they look like red human skeletons.

Outside the Mansion, more gas explosions begin to affect passersby.  Iron Man grabs Captain America and rushes him to the infirmary, triggers the Avengers Mansion isolation and security protocols.  He calls Thor, and requests that the Thunder God vortex the toxic cloud into space and away from the Mansion.

In the infirmary, Wasp, Black Panther, and Iron Man are standing around Captain America while J.A.R.V.I.S. scans Captain America's vital signs.  Captain America sees his reflection in Iron Man's armor, and knows who is behind this attack; the Red Skull.

Wasp is coming down with the sickness as well, and the Black Panther carries her to a sickbay bed.  Panther tells Iron Man that they need to take blood samples and get working on finding an antidote.

Dell Rusk calls the Avengers Mansion, and accuses them of having stored bioweapons, whose leak is the root cause of the toxic clouds.  Rusj tells Stark that he's shutting the Avengers down as CDC arrives outside the Mansion and start trying to help the civilians outside.  Tanks surround the Mansion as Rusk deploys the military.

Iron Man and the Black Panther continue to work on analysis and an antidote, until the Mansion is breached by Doc Sampson, the Winter Soldier, and the Falcon.  Ms. Marvel engages them at the front door, but she's already infected by the toxic cloud.

Thor is returning to Earth after dispersing the cloud in space, when he is attacked by the Red Hulk.

Meanwhile, in the infirmary, Captain America and Wasp both try to get up and help.  Wasp collapses back, but Captain America has a greater resistance, perhaps due to the Super Soldier Formula.  He puts Wasp back in bed, just in time to fight the Winter Soldier.  Captain America seems to recognize the Winter Soldier's fighting style.

In the lab, the Black Panther collapses with the infection.  Doc Sampson arrives, but Iron Man security-seals the lab, and before Doc Sampson can start working on breaking the barriers, he has to go round two with Ms. Marvel.

Red Hulk and Thor continue their fight.  The Falcon faces off against Hawkeye, who seems unaffected so far.  Ms. Marvel is getting worser, but continues to fight on against Doc Sampson.  Hawkeye defeats Falcon, and finds the canisters of the gas from deep inside the Mansion.  He identifies the explosive which dispensed the gas as Department of Defense ordinance before he passes out.

Iron Man is close to an antidote when Doc Sampson breaks in, just in time to get floored by Ms. Marvel as her last action before collapsing.  J.A.R.V.I.S.reports the latest antidote works, and begins synthesizing more.

Thor and Red Hulk fight, and Thor knocks the Red Hulk miles away. 

Iron Man starts administering the antidote to the Avengers, but can't find Captain America because the Winter Soldier has taken the unconscious Avenger to Dell Rusk's office in the Pentagon.

The Avengers are getting better, responding to the antidote.

In his office, Dell Rusk taunts Captain America, calling him an outdated fool who doesn't understand what America needs.  He tells Captain America that all of his plans were for Captain America's benefit, before he kicks Captain America unconscious.

Meanwhile, Iron Man is closing on Captain America with a dose of the antidote, about 300 miles out from his location.  A flight of F-16s surround him, and tell him that they are tasked with grounding him.  Iron Man responds that he respects their orders, has no intention of firing on them, but that he can't let them ground him.

While surrounded by them, he has J.A.R.V.I.S. use a satellite to get a targeting solution, and fires the antidote from one of his missles.  It is almost there when the Winter Soldier snatches it out of the air.  Dell Rusk gloats and starts to brutalize Captain America, and Captain America unmaskes Dell Rusk as the Red Skull. The Red Skull kicks Captain America a few times, until he hands Cap to the Winter Soldier to kill him - but instead the Winter Soldier shoots Captain America with the antidote.

Captain America rises and smashes him the outside through his office window.  Iron Man and news crews arrive just as Captain America lays out the Red Skull. 

Captain America looks for the Winter Soldier, but he has vanished.

Doc Sampson and the Falcon are taken to the Hydro Base, where they will be freed fromt he Red Skull's conditioning.  The world has seen the footage of the Red Skull, and now believe the anti-Avengers bit to be the ranting of a madman.

Meanwhile, Cap wonders what has happened to the Winter Soldier.

 Many questions regarding the Red Skull:

  • How did he survive WWII and not aged?  
  • Did he have control of Bucky/Winter Soldier, or was Bucky turned into the Winter Soldier by the Russians?
  • What has he been doing all this time; clearly he hasn't been involved with Hydra.
  • Was he the Red Skull for the rest of WWII?  During the 1950's?

I love how the gas basically is a slow version of the Red Skull's Dust of Death weapon.  All we need now is Chopin's funeral march.

This episode is probably the best of those done or completed by Men of Action; the attention is well-balanced and spread through the Avengers, with Ms. Marvel getting a good focus here. 

It would have been useful to have Hank Pym - you know, the brilliant biochemist? - around for this episode.  If they weren't going to use him, they should at least have made up an excuse as to why not.