'The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes - Volume 3' DVD ReviewPosted: December 03, 2011
Marvel comics’ The Avengers has so many origin stories across so many parallel universes involving so many of Marvel’s heroes it is hard to discount anybody’s recollection of the team. As this might present a problem for some, it presents an opportunity for others. Marvel and Joss Whedon are one team producing an Avengers story that seems to be a hybrid between the two current Marvel runs (the Ultimates and the, I guess it would be called, Normal universe). As the Avenger hype swallows the world, the children couldn’t be left behind and another take on the story is introduced as the animated series The Avengers: The Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
My son and I started venturing through this series in early September courtesy of Netflix. Our only prior knowledge had been the enticing advertisements for it, but unfortunately for my son, his father is too cheap to provide him a cable provider that could meet his cartoon needs; not too cheap, however, to share a Netflix streaming subscription with a friend. Alas, the day is saved and the father and son team of… oh, wait… anyways, we were finally introduced to another take on the Marvel super team.
The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes assembles the earth’s mightiest heroes (in the Marvel universe) into a super team to take on evil that not one member can handle on their own. The World War II super-human Captain America is unfrozen, by S.H.I.E.L.D. and is introduced to the modern world. While this is taking place, Doctor Bruce Banner is coping with his alter ego of a mean green monster and learning to finally control the terrible beast, at least somewhat. Thor has been introduced to earth and their mightiest warriors, while Wasp and Ant Man fill some extra seats in the team conference room. Surprisingly, Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, provides the headquarters and after some obvious rich-boy hesitation ends up assuming the majority of the leadership responsibilities that Avengers fans are used to seeing Captain America handle. Finally, we see Black Panther recruit the Avengers (as opposed to the other way around) and he eventually becomes a major asset to the team. As the team copes with coming together as one, Hawkeye works with S.H.I.E.L.D. and finds himself helping more on trying to unite the Avengers with S.H.I.E.L.D. so much it eventually leads to his membership with the superhero team.
The universe is somewhat foreign to me, as my largest dose of familiarity with the team is from the Ultimate Universe that keeps S.H.I.E.L.D. in charge from the beginning and never introduces us to Hawkeye, or many of these classic Avenger villains. This universe not only deals with a somewhat different attitude and hierarchy in regards to the Avengers themselves, but it also mixes earth’s mightiest villains both old and new. The team comes together due to the strange unison of prison outbreaks. All of the biggest, baddest villains have broken out of the four super-prisons, the Raft, the Cube, the Big House, and the Vault. Now, the heroes are united and start the quest of squashing this villainous scum.
The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes - Volume Three contains episodes fourteen through nineteen. The story has developed quite nicely at this point with the team getting through most of its early issues of fraternity and egos. At this point the underlying themes are there but each episode begins to carry itself. The first two episodes handle the team fighting off an imminent threat that is relatively easy to handle. Episodes sixteen through eighteen deal with Kang the Conqueror’s quest to take over the world. As he fends off Captain America and wages a war with his recently raised army, Kang ends up having to stand against the whole team. The volume is all wrapped up with a final battle (in space no less) that creates an even greater bond between the Avengers.
Even though the universe is as foreign as I said it was when I first ventured into this series, The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes captivated me effortlessly. The series is an animated spectacle targeted for youth, but many adults have found themselves enjoying the run as well due to the strong character development, continuation of themes and plot, as well as great voice performances. The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes portrays this super hero team exactly how many want it. Full of characters, both good and bad, that band together to create this large, vast universe of heroes and villains but don’t just muddy it with their presence. The overflow of characters is well maintained and helps keep each episode as interesting as the previous.
The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes - Volume Three collects one of the more entertaining arcs of the season. The heroes are well established, the villains’ mischief is all coming around full circle, and the battles hit the level of being epic. If you want to follow The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, start with volume one, episode one. But by time you make it to volume three, you’ll be pleased with what the creative team has done with one of Marvel’s most recognized teams.
Overall Score: 8/10