Episode #10 - Everything is Wonderful
Original Airdate - November 10th, 2010
A business decision by Tony Stark leads rival Simon Williams to go to extreme measures for revenge… he seeks help from the Grim Reaper and AIM. Now transformed into the ionic powered Wonder Man, Simon takes the fight back to Tony Stark! But the only one there to defend Tony is the one Avenger who dislikes him the most… Ant-Man. Has Tony Stark changed? PLUS! Wasp and Thor versus MODOC!

Written by Brandon Auman
Directed by Vinton Heuck
Review by ShadowStar
Media by Marvel Animation Age

Some might dismiss this episode (which didn’t focus on the search for the Hulk or the aftermath of the discovery that a mysterious stranger had infiltrated Avengers Mansion) as a filler episode, but I say thee nay! Hank’s festering contempt for Tony was begging to be addressed sooner or later, as was the question of whether the former’s assessment of the latter was apt. Could Stark be vindicated from Pym’s accusations? “Everything is Wonderful” presents us with the answer to that question, and shows us whether there’s any chance of them clearing the air.

The interplay between Iron Man and Ant-Man/Giant Man, and the exploration of the former’s changed attitude towards those he could crush under his heel when acting in the interests of his company, were fundamentally important to this episode. The only thing I didn't really like was Hank accusing Tony of being insensitive, only to later distractedly remark to Simon that he'd like to study him, when he should've been fixated on talking him down. This inconsistency was puzzling, but I guess nobody's perfect, and Hank was just thrilled to see this “wonder of science” (as M.O.D.O.C. referred to Simon).

It was great to see Wonder Man; this story, while not quite comparable to B:TAS’s “Heart of Ice” in terms of emotional impact, was more his story than anyone else’s. One has to feel sympathetic as he’s led astray by his shady super-villain of a brother, who’s only too happy to gamble with his life. I wasn’t familiar with Simon Williams’ villainous comic book roots, but he was one of the better Avengers if memory serves, so watching his character arc unfold on this show should be fun. If Enchantress is calling the shots now, as she's currently the only one who can keep him alive, then I guess he'll remain a villain for the foreseeable future. That’s not a bad thing, since the team roster will be crowded enough before too long, but I hope he finds some redemption later on, say in season 2. And when will he take the name Wonder Man?

I was quite impressed with how Phil LaMarr nailed Wonder Man’s voice. Normally LaMarr uses a distinctive voice, whether it's his John Stewart voice (which is not unlike the voice of one of the AIM henchman heard in this episode) or his Static voice (which was similar to his Hermes Conrad and Wilt voices), but here he was almost unrecognisable. Aside from a monotone 'scream' at the beginning of the episode, he did a fine job. He’s not too shabby as JARVIS either.

Needless to say, I was pleased to see further developments like the return of AIM and the Grim Reaper; the latter is proving to be a really cool villain. While the different plots didn't intersect until near the end, I still enjoyed much of what was transpiring, from the tension between Tony and Hank to Thor and Wasp hurling insults at M.O.D.O.C. Ah, M.O.D.O.C: the butt of everyone’s jokes, as he should be. I recall him being a subservient lackey in the 90s Iron Man cartoon, but that was a step too far if you ask me; he should be ingenious and deceptively cunning, as he was portrayed here.

It's a bit strange that the Black Panther sub-plot wasn't advanced but I can surmise that Tony and Cap decided to just wait and see if "the one in the black catsuit" will come calling again. If I’m not mistaken, Tony was trawling through his systems to get more information on the break-in as the episode began. In any case, T’Challa’s reasons for pilfering knowledge from JARVIS will probably be explained soon.

The climax was shocking, as Wonder Man faded away before Stark and the others could save him (but this wouldn’t last as Simon was back in the very next scene), and it was finally revealed that Tony’s actions had sprung from a kind incentive which he never had the opportunity to explain to Wonder Man. Now Tony and Hank have reached an understanding, but poor Simon is caught between a rock and a hard place. Overall, this made for another good episode. As ever, the humour was great (Thor’s “I tire of these… geeks” garnered a chuckle from this viewer) and it was good to see the writers challenging our perceptions of these characters, whether by showing a softer side to Nick Fury (who was in awe of Captain America) or by asserting that Iron Man isn’t as consumed by self-interest as Ant-Man had feared.