Thursday, April 30, 2015

Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers - Episode 9: Spider-Man Is Missing!

It's been leading up to this, folks.  Ever since the beginning, our heroes have been divided, torn apart by Loki's machinations.  S.H.I.E.L.D. is frozen, unable to act to help anybody.  Nick Fury himself is in prison.  Heroes and villains were scattered across the globe, trapped in DISKs.  Spider-Man's been getting smacked around as if he was Frog-Man (there's a shout-out for you hardcore Marvel fans).

Finally, just finally last episode, our core five Avengers were finally reunited to face off against Loki's forces.  However, Loki's nowhere around, which means he must be up to something...

Enough chit-chat, let's get into it.

We open with a montage of everything that's happened before, because even the writers know that this scene needs to be HUGE.  I like that even when they're talking about how the heroes are just now starting their "counter-attack," they have Cap exclaim (in English, surprisingly) "AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!"  Then they cut to the opening credits.

Once we get back from the credits, I have to admit, after waiting eight episodes to see it, this is a pretty great sight:

I'm 99% sure that boat isn't going to survive the experience.

The villains do point out that the good guys really only get five minutes to try to stop them, but Cap makes it pretty clear that five minutes is "all they'll need."  I was going to point out that he's saying this against a group with the Abomination on its side, but then again they also have King Cobra, so he balances it out.

As the fight starts to get underway, let's check in on Spider-Man.

Aww, poor guy.  He's had a long day.  Let's let him get some sleep.

While Hulk and Abomination immediately start pounding on each other (I find it interesting that the Abomination is actually larger than the Hulk in this series), the Wasp takes on MODOK, just to find that her "Waspu Stingu" can't break through his force field.  What it IS able to do, however, is curve around his forcefield and do some damage to the mast right behind him.  MODOK might have a forcefield, but he's smart enough to get out of the way of a large falling beam.

I'm going to take a break from the action because I want to just look at that screenshot for a moment.  I'm a HUGE fan of older animation.  If you go back and look at classic Disney movies (before CG) and even cartoons like Popeye, you'll see that they clearly animated individual cells of characters moving and then placed them over painted backgrounds.  It allowed for simply breathtaking backgrounds that could be reused in multiple shots, such as the following.

Isn't that just absolutely gorgeous?  I know you can do a lot with computers these days, but when I watch an older bit of animation, I just get a sense of dedication to some of these projects that I just don't get any more, not when you can just Photoshop together a picture of a background or use some software to make a 3D model you can use from different angles.

King Cobra, showing a competence that was completely missing from EVERY OTHER FIGHT HE'S BEEN IN, manages to get Iron Man on the ropes by dodging his repulsors and slamming him into the side of the ship.  (I guess "animal" vs. "tech" attacks are "super effective.")  Cap tries to come to Iron Man's aid, but a quick smokescreen/gas attack brings him to his knees.

King Cobra wraps around Iron Man and starts to constrict him, and it looks like King Cobra might get some actual "wins" on his battle ticket.

That is, until Iron Man simply positions himself juuuust so, and then activates his boot jets, shooting him and King Cobra into the sky.  High, HIGH above the ship, he then pivots them around, and sends them shooting into the water at ridiculous speeds, torpedoing under the surface.  As Iron Man points out, "I don't know if you're a human or a snake, but I know you aren't a fish.  How long can you hold your breath?"

Drowning.  It's super effective.

As if that wasn't enough, Iron Man then flies up, holding King Cobra by the tail, and flings him at Cap at, oh, I'd guess about 50 to 60 miles an hour.

I...don't think he's going to get back up from that.

Right after this, though, Iron Man gets summoned back to his DISK (remember, he was busy getting through that twister for a while), so that means now both sides are down one combatant.

The Hulk vs. Abomination fight spills over to Cap's area, and Hulk takes a moment to point out that when he was "possessed" and was fighting Cap, he "wasn't at his best."  The two then charge the Abomination.

So, we have Abomination versus Hulk and Cap, Wasp against MODOK...who does that leave to fight Thor?

...that, ladies and gentlemen, is what we call a "mismatch."

Five peons against the god of thunder.  One of them actually tries to dart forward and attack Thor with a Katana, giving him the "More Bravery Than Brains" award for this episode.  This, predictably, fails, as Thor simply snaps the sword in half with one swing of his hammer.

At that moment, though, Hikaru suddenly runs towards Thor, stating they don't have time to fight there.  Thor, obviously, is taken aback that Hikaru would charge into the field of battle like that, when suddenly-

Illusion magic.  It's super eff- eh, you get the idea.

Loki's staff also punches enough power that it's able to shoot Thor through bridge of the ship.  This gives the bad guys a chance to come up with a plan, and that plan is "Abomination, sink the ship."  Which he does with one punch down on the deck.

I'm...not sure boats work that way, but okay.

The Abomination is then D-Secured back to a DISK, but Loki teleports his minions away before they're able to secure Diablo, Whirlwind, or King Cobra.  Cap has Jessica and Edward handle that aspect of it, and tells Thor to carry them up to the planet to safety.

Are we forgetting anything?

Oh, right!  Spider-Man!

Hulk, Wasp, and Cap rush down to the lower decks to try to locate Spider-Man in time.  There's a bright light that all of the heroes see, and then the ship explodes and falls apart.

But okay, they're not really going to just kill Spider-Man, right?  I mean, it's not like there's going to be a huge news announcement later stating that he's de-

Well, okay, maybe they would.  But she's a villain!  You can't take her word for it!

The city of New York does, though, and the people in Times Square all suddenly take on the atmosphere of a small child who just lost a puppy.  There's cries of disbelief, slumped shoulders, and a noticeable depression.  I kept waiting for J. Jonah Jameson to appear and cheer, honestly.

However, it isn't actually the case (duh), as Spider-Man suddenly swings by overhead and lands on a nearby rooftop to the cheers of a crazed, happy populace.

It turns out that the Hulk got tired of trying to find his way through a sinking ship and just started punching through walls until they got to the hold where Spider-Man was.

That might be how ships work.  I don't know.

However, the whole thing is enough for Loki's "Senator" secret identity to rile up the United States to the point that the President issues an edict stating that from now on all superheroes are to be under the government's thumb.  The United States government is going to force all superheroes to register an- hey, wasn't this the plot of Civil War?

Yeah, it was, except this time the government is clearly being lead by someone evil here, and all the good guys are on the opposite side.  Any heroes who resist are going to be arrested and have, to quote the show, "limited freedoms."

With that, "Senator Robert" and a squad of soldiers show up at Stark Tower while the good guys are still celebrating.  They storm the building, but it's completely empty.

So where are the good guys?  Tokyo, naturally.  After all, Tony Start has "party places all around the world."

It appears the heroes were forewarned that there was a government plot to bring them under the control of shadowy figures.  By who, you might ask?

They're just bringing everybody out of the works right now!

Meanwhile, at a building outside of downtown Tokyo, two ninja dressed in white costumes stand guard outside a classic Japanese building complex.

And here you thought I was just making stuff up to see if you were paying attention.

It turns out Tony asked Akira to take him to this place to meet an old, shall we say, "acquaintance."  Akira expects it to be a businessman, or perhaps another hero, but instead...he's in for a shock.

That's right, we've got an actual X-Men villain showing up!  Tony even calls him the "worst villain in the country" right in front of Akira, leaving the kid rather shaken.  What are they doing there?  What could Tony possibly need from a guy whose claim to fame is "I have a weapon that can kill Wolverine in one hit, therefore I'm NEVER ALLOWED TO HIT HIM with it?"

Well, we'll just have to wait and see, because that's where the episode ends!

So come back next time, we'll find out just what Iron Man needs the leader of the most obvious ninja dojo in the world for.

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