The Chopping Block: Avengers Earth’s Mightiest Heroes
The Chopping Block is a series based on TV Shows who’s Lifespans were cut way too short
“And there shall come a day like no other and on that day”, Earths Mightiest Heroes’ had premiered on Disney XD’s Cable Network with critical acclaim from both comic and animation enthusiasts alike.
In honor of the upcoming and hotly anticipated sequel Avengers: Age of Ultron, I would like to dedicate this segment of Chopping Block to one of the best Superhero animated series which lifespan was cut way too short.
The Avengers EMH series chronicled tales of the legendary Marvel Superhero Team with a few stories and situations that have been reimagined from long running Marvel Comic. The impressive roster consists of Captain America, Ironman, Thor, The Hulk, Black Panther, Ant-Man, Hawkeye, and The Wasp. (In later episodes, Ms. Marvel and The Vision complete the team’s roster.) Nick Fury frequently appears throughout the series as a major supporting character.
Avengers is clearly one of my favorite opening title sequences from an animated series. Where Justice League Unlimited had the cheesy Arena Stadium rock theme with compilations of scenes from an upcoming episode, EMH showcased each Avenger separately only to assemble a formation against hydra’s forces followed by the iconic Avengers logo.
I remember having Geekpimples (is there really such a thing as that?) when seeing Cap’s Shield whiz by and the rotating view as earth’s mightiest heroes take on a major threat.
The Band, Bad City’s “Fight as One” was the definitive intro theme of this series and it’s unfortunate that the song is not available to the public, thanks in part to Marvels legislative action that prevented the Band’s song from being released.
Fighting as One! (The Look and Hook of the Series)
Aesthetically speaking, the animation runs at a smooth rate and the overall look of the series from character designs to set pieces somewhat mirror the Timmiverse (Bruce Timm of Batman TAS, and Justice League) however, the art style differentiates enough to be a style of its own.
The Voice acting is top notch and Brian Bloom no doubt does the best Captain America – just like Fred Tastaciore’s Hulk. Ironman’s voiceover sounds remotely like RDJ’s and then there’s Phil Lamar (Green Lantern of Justice League) doing minor but notable voiceovers as JARVIS and Wonderman.
I liked the introductory 20-part Micro episodes focused on each Avenger respectively. This was a good way of introducing the characters to those who may not be familiar to the Marvel comic. (Prior to Marvel’s Avengers film.) It was a strategic method when testing the waters to see if whether Avengers would be a hit or miss.
From the 1st season’s Vault plot arc, began the formation of the superteam and quite a few scenarios from the Comics have been adapted to the series such as Captain America being revived from suspended animation and in doing so, join the Avengers. Eventually, he will assume leadership of the team and how he does it demonstrates EMH’s good use of character development between the titular characters, from Captain America’s coming to terms with the “New world”, the Hulk being an outcast at times, and then there’s Hawkeye being an arrogant SOB. (He actually thought he had a chance to usurp T’challa? LMAO)
Avengers EMH would be complete without the usual tropes such as, Time traveling, McGuffins, Mystical Worlds and alternate realities that are often found in Superhero animated series. Some stories became two-parters if not some story arc-block.
The episodes did not necessarily cater to a children’s demographic – as a matter of fact, more like 13 and up due to some of its violent content. Aside from the usual fisticuffs there have been scenes that kind of pushed the envelope; such as Grim Reaper literally cutting down a few Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., 4th tier villain (Grey Gargoyle getting hacked by The Executioner, an AIM Leader gunning down his subordinates and a few individuals being devoured by Alien Creatures just to name a few examples off the bat.
To a Child’s perception, it may be subtle to the extent that they won’t acknowledge certain death scenes on screen but to a teenager to adult, it’s quite obvious when a character gets “offted”.
However EMH is not all about “BIFF! BAM! and POW!” In regard to story content, there were some defining moments which came about from the consequences that have occurred regardless of the protagonists’ involvement. And it definitely shows, especially during the second season of “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes”
A primary example would be the negative perception of Captain America after being impersonated by a Skrull Agent. Thus kick starting the Skrull saga (It served as a major cliffhanger at the end of season 1) and of course the story arc had continued throughout the first half of the second season.
In “Prisoner of War” The imprisoned Cap joined forces with unlikely Allies in order to escape a huge Skrull ship.
In Secret Invasion, Cap and his fellow escapees warn the remaining Avengers of an impending Skrull Invasion but it is too late as the Pseudo Captain America initiates a Global Broadcast to “convince” surrendering to the shape shifting Alien Race intent on World conquest. Captain America finally gets well deserved payback after taking down the Faux Cap and his Super Skrull invaders thus proving that the Avengers are truly “Earths Mightiest Heroes” however, the episode ended in a poignant and pyric victory with The First Avenger becoming nothing more than a pariah after the events of this epic episode. Steve Rogers’ reputation is totally Fucked and how!
”The Skrulls turned you against each other. Broken bones, destroyed buildings..these things are easily repaired. But broken friendships, broken trust, Wounds such as these take much longer to heal”.
EMH did not shy away from the inclusion of other characters outside of the Team’s roster.
In Private War of Doctor Doom, this is the first opportunity many Marvelites have witnessed the Fantastic Four teaming up with the Avengers.
Another “amazing” appearance of a Marvel character, was from the episode; “Along came a Spider.” this story debut everyone’s favorite wall crawler, Spider-man in his first appearance in an ensemble based series.
What stood out from this ep other than Spidey, was how Cap struggled to overcome the public distrust of him after having a Skrull assume his identity from the previous episodes.
Spiderman empathized with the Living Legend’s dilemma since he himself, is perceived as a menace thanks in part to Daily Bugle Publisher J. Jonah Jameson’s constant character assassinations. This story of redemption was no doubt, one of my favorite episodes and worthy of mention.
Other notable appearances throughout the Series, were Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain Marvel, The Falcon, Wolverine, the other Ant Man, Mockingbird, Beta-Ray Bill, Luke Cage and Iron Fist just to name a few.
Eventually some of the aforementioned characters shall be deputized as Avengers in future episodes.
(See episodes: New Avengers and Avengers Assemble)
During 2011, it was announced that the 2nd season would be its final.
Reason being, that the “geniuses” behind Marvel (Including that Asshole, Jeff Loeb) had decided to reboot the franchise and in a typical sense of The Marvel Method (Cashing in on what’s “Hot” at the cost of creativity.) they focused on characters based on the live action Avengers Film. Needless to say that the end results were less than satisfactory.
Was the cancellation due to the unfortunate loss of Boyd Kirkland, who alongside Christopher Yost and Eric S. Rollman was the main driving force behind the series? Or was it just Marvel being greedy fucks by cancelling EMH to developing a whole new series in order to sell toys?
In the final episode rightfully titled: “Avengers Assemble” Cap unites virtually every Marvel Hero to offset an impending threat from a certain Purple Planet Eater. I guess it was Marvel’s answer to DC’s Justice League Finale and likewise went out with a bang. The silhouette of the team followed by the iconic “Avengers” Logo worked excellent for the series’ swan song which leads me to the next segment.
I was pissed off that the series had ended after 2 seasons and this is mainly because the clueless fucks at Marvel Disney wanted to revamp the series so that it could mirror its celluloid counterparts.
Apparently, they are not aware of the golden rule; “if it ain’t broke, don’t fuck with it”!
Has anyone seen how lame the Avengers Assemble series is???
With boring stories, dialog, uninspired animation, corny Music Avengers Assemble is nothing more than a Fucking travesty and an embarrassment to say in the least!
I for the most part, refuse to acknowledge or watch this Piece of Shit! Fuck Jeff Loeb and fuck Disney!
With decisions such as these, it’s no wonder why DC is still kicking your Asses in the animation department as of now.
Ah, what could have been.
Here are but a few conceptual drawings and plotlines from what would have been had Season three existed.
Although the series wrapped up things cathartically, there were a few plot arcs that could have made it on the small screen such as Agent Hill’s increasing skepticism of Meta humans which of course would lead to the Superhero Registration Act. And of course more adaptations from the Comics; Infinity Gauntlet, Civil War, etc.
Despite not achieving the success or lifespan compared to Justice League, The Avengers had a great limited run and needless to say, that it’s one of the best Animated shows of this decade and beyond!
“Avengers Assemble “!!
Bonus round: Now you know
- When development started on the show in 2008, there was concern about launching the show with Captain America as the leader of the team. A great deal of research showed that Cap met a lot of negativity outside of the United States. So, to give people a chance to know the character, it was decided to have Iron Man, whose popularity skyrocketed at the time of development due to the Iron Man (2008) film, lead the team. Most importantly they wanted to mirror the original Stan Lee & Jack Kirby run and form the Avengers using the original 5 members and have Cap join later after they discover him in ice.
- In terms of tone and style, the series is based primarily on the original stories by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. However, it also utilizes material from all eras of the comic’s run and other sources such as the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
- In episode 20 of season 01 “The Casket of Ancient Winters” Hawkeye mentions that they need to move to the West Coast. In the comics, Hawkeye goes on to create “West Coast Avengers.
- Although HYDRA appeared to be a stand-in for Nazi Germany, Christopher Yost would later clarify they were a branch of the Nazi regime. That is the same way HYDRA would be portrayed in Captain America: The First Avenger (2011).
- In the comics Nick Fury led the Howling Commandos. However, since Nick Fury leads SHIELD in the early 21st century, many years from World War II, they are led by Jack Fury (the father of Nick Fury). Nick Fury is depicted as a mixture of the original (616) one with graying hair and the ultimate version.
- The producers loosely considered the live action films Iron Man (2008) and The Incredible Hulk (2008) to be Iron Man and Hulk’s background for the series. For the Hulk there was the stipulation that the final scene in that movie is what gets the Hulk/Banner relationship to where it is and a more intelligent incarnation of the Hulk. Also, the Abomination has a British accent as he did in the film.
- At the beginning of the second season, characters adopted their ultimate version such as Nick Fury: a shaved head and a goatee, the Skrull impersonating Captain America adopted his ultimate outfit and the Skrulls appearance was taken directly taken from the ultimate comics.
“Now you know. And knowing is half the Battle”!