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New Avengers

Season Two, Episode 49


Director(s) Steve Gordon

Christopher Yost

Summary  The Avengers are confronting Kang, who has modified the Arc Reactor at Stark International to be a time machine.  They attack, but Kang banishes them into the timestream.

Flashback to Kang recieving a visit from the Council of Kangs, a congress made of alternate timeline Kangs.  They free him, and bade him destroy the Avengers if he wanted to continue his timeline.  He intends to use the Arc Reactor time machine to pull his Citadel from his old timeline, which he will then use to conquer this timeline.

Back to the confrontation with the Avengers, who are banished to the timestream, but not before Iron Man can tell JARVIS to initiate the New Avengers Protocols.

A side-effect of Kang's time scheme is that things from different timelines start appearing.   Iron Fist and Luke Cage fight displaced ninjas.  Spider-Man  teams with Wolverine to put "Paid" to a set of Velociraptors (granted, no feathers, but not everyone has up-to-date research on dinosaurs).  War Machine and the Thing take out a Martian War-of-the-Worlds (I think) battle robot. 

JARVIS contacts these heroes, and informs them that the Avengers Protocols are an initiative planned by Stark to round up heroes for a new team of Avengers if they are ever defeated.  These heroes gather at the Avengers Mansion for a briefing against Kang. 

The Avengers go up against Kang, and after a battle where they try to fight as individuals, are defeated.   They regroup, and try again, working as a team this time.  The rest of the team fight Kang, while Spider-Man, with a little help from JARVIS, shut down the time machine.  Kang gets tossed back into the timestream, and the Avengers are brought back.

The new Avengers go back to their lives.  Luke Cage sends Iron Man a bill.  Spider-Man is given an Avengers IdentiCard and made a reserve Avenger.

 I have mixed feelings about the episode; granted, I have the benefit of hindsight, but I feel that this episode, with so few left, was a real waste of time.

My first gripe comes with the nature of the New Avengers Protocols themselves; if you are going to think ahead, then why not actually think ahead? Why not contact these heroes in advance, give them comm-link cards, and access to training facilities and data files? If they don't want to be active Avengers, go for Reserve or Associate status, but these guys "fight the good fight"; they shouldn't be shut out until the other Avengers are dead? Training, information, transportation... the logistics of the hero biz.

The selection of heroes was also a little disappointing, although I get that this was a tribute to the (IMO stink-tastic) BENDIS! reboot of the franchise. I also get the whole "real-world marketing" angle to it all; I owned a comic shop, I know what sells well enough. That said:

* War Machine makes the most sense; he's Tony Stark's best friend, he's a tactical thinker, and his suit has the raw firepower.

* The use of Spider-Man's "Spidey-Sense" as a way to navigate the shut-down was an inventive and unique way to use that power.  Shame it probably won't be used again.

* A Thing/Wolverine "fastball special" was cool.

* Spider-Man is an OK choice, and I can see the connection as he has already performed with the Avengers, and impressed Captain America.

* Luke Cage and Iron Man are very understandable, given the superficially commercial nature of Heroes For Hire - but if they were going to (essentially) put them on retainer, why not include Ant-Man II?

*"If you need me, call..." All of the Avengers aren't gone, either - the Jade Giant is off sulking, but he could have been used instead of the Thing.

* Wolverine's appearance was a reach, and a cop-out; if you are are aware of Wolverine, who is clearly active and well-known enough, why not go for a full-on X-Men team, with the Avengers being the equivalent of "post-graduate studies" and public relations for mutants? Why Wolverine? Why not someone more personable to the general public, like Storm, for example? Or Ice-Man, Angel, Collossus, or any of the older "students" for that matter. Add Cyclops so that JT Marsh can have a decent writer characterizing him for a change... *grins*

* Other candidates for the New Avengers that would have made sense include the Falcon, Doc Sampson, and the Winter Soldier, although I can understand why they wouldn't use them so close the end of the recent arc. One wonders why not add Quake, or Mockingbird, or the Black Widow. Even the Black Knight would have been welcome, from distant England.

* At the end, why is Spider-Man the only one made a Reserve Avenger?  You'd think the rest of the heroes had earned an IdentiCard as well.

While the time-phased creatures and enemies were superficially entertaining, I couldn't help feel that with a little more time and a second episode, we could have had the New Avengers struggle a little more, and gotten a little more depth. Kang was defeated way too easily, after the threats he's presented earlier; he was almost a throwaway plot mechanic for the gathering of the "New Avengers". If you are going to use Kang, and time travel, and some version of of Kang's usual shenanigans, lets do it big-time, and get some time-lost folks that are a creditable threat; better still, don't waste the Council of Kangs' cameo appearance. Lets see the medieval Black Knight, lets see Midnight to fight Iron Fist, lets see Ghengis Khan, lets see Isis snatched from Ancient Egypt. Lets see an Eternal or two, maybe!

Anthony thought it was one of the best episodes ever, just on the basis of Iron Fist... *grins*

All in all, I enjoyed the episode in spite of these issues, but with so little time left, I'm disappointed that we couldn't have gotten a real episode (which might have addressed some of the shortcomings and non-Big Three characters) instead.