Episode #14 - Masters of Evil
Original Airdate - December 5th, 2010
Zemo! Enchantress! Executioner! Abomination! Wonder Man! Crimson Dynamo! Individually they are the most powerful Super-Villains on the planet. Together, they are unstoppable. Avengers Mansion is laid siege and one by one, the Avengers fall. And with the most powerful of them defeated, what hope do Black Panther and Hawkeye have?

Written by Christopher Yost
Directed by Sebastian Montes
Review by ShadowStar
Media by Marvel Animation

The second half of season one begins with the Masters of Evil making their move after waiting in the wings for the last few episodes, and it’s wall to wall action! It was undeniably cool seeing all eight Avengers take them on, and the end product was the most entertaining outing yet. However, my enjoyment was hampered by the dull soundtrack, which is in dire need of sprucing up… It’s as lifeless as the music in The Batman was. I did promise in my review for “Breakout, Part 1” that I wouldn’t dwell on this, but someone had to say it.

The Masters are quite a mixed bunch. Abomination talks like a joke villain, and I can hardly believe that he didn’t warn the other villains about Hawkeye and Black Panther. Crimson Dynamo’s voice sounded different to how it was in “Breakout, Part 1”, but at least he doesn’t talk like the DC character Starfire anymore (“Iron Man, long has the Crimson Dynamo waited for this!”). Baron Zemo, meanwhile, reminds me of Slade from Teen Titans; Zemo has a clearer motivation though. Unfortunately, his voice wasn’t particularly threatening when he was squaring up to Crimson Dynamo or Abomination. “Because I am better than you” sounded like too much of a stock comment for a big time villain to be coming out with, and I stifled a laugh when he scolded Panther and Hawkeye like they were school children. Although Zemo was great against Cap in "Living Legend", I didn't find him fully convincing as leader of the Masters of Evil. He was the brains of the team, but still every bit the pawn that Enchantress said he was.

I wish they hadn’t tried to hide the fact that Enchantress is working for Loki, as the audience is already aware of this! The secrecy was a bit redundant. Presumably we were spared a glimpse of him at the end because the creative team want to save the surprise that he’s taken over Asgard; after all, from his silhouette, he appeared to be seated on a throne. Enchantress’s motivation has now been revealed but does she really want Thor for herself? Is she sincere about that? I don’t understand what she meant by “you have played your parts” but perhaps the goal is still to keep Thor distracted on Midgard. He’ll be needed more than ever now that the Masters of Evil have banded together.

The scene at the Wakandan embassy was exactly the sort of character-based sequence that I was hoping we’d get; it should be a requirement for future episodes to have quiet moments like that. Hawkeye omitting Captain America from his rant was quite telling: he respects him. I did like how Panther was stringing Clint along, convincing him that he’d tasted poison, then later suggesting that he might have a shot at leading the team. They make a good double act, as was obvious from Hawkeye leaning on Panther’s shoulder and smirking at Baron Zemo as T’Challa made their true intentions clear. T’Challa sounding so wooden during this part only made it funnier. I hope Hawkeye won’t be the comic relief on a regular basis since too many of the one-liners came from him in this episode (“purple-puss” made for a funny comment, but slightly ironic coming from someone with a similar fashion sense!), but he’s the sort of character who could carry his own spin-off show. Seriously.

It was great to see Jane Foster again but why did Thor tell her that he hadn’t been to Asgard since they last spoke?! He took a trip there in “Panther’s Quest”, and Jane Foster’s most recent appearance before this episode was in “Breakout, Part 1”, so unless there have been more encounters between these two characters off-screen… The chemistry between the pair wasn’t exactly electric but I like how Thor’s attachment to Midgard is showcasing his humanity.

Ant-Man saving the day when the chips were down was a nice twist. Wasp’s black eye at the end was troubling though. Was it Hank’s way of showing how much he missed her while he was abroad? He looked awfully guilty when he was sitting next to Janet at the end. The other Avengers should keep an eye on him, lest he follow in the footsteps of his comic book counterpart. I kid, of course. He did seem more violent this time around though; when he crashed the party, he wasted no time trying to kill Wonder Man (not out of malice obviously, plus he was probably counting on Simon to pull himself back together again). I knew he would take to the action like a duck to water, despite his initial protests.

It was nice to see plot developments carried forward, like Hawkeye settling in a bit, Loki's plan advancing and Hank's return from Wakanda. On top of that, we had some good action (not in the same class as Justice League’s “Secret Society”, mind, but a good use of all of the players). The slow set-up of the first 5 episodes was a shame in a way because “Masters of Evil” felt like it should’ve come in the first 13 episodes. Still, with a lot of set-up out of the way, I expect we’ll see the writers having more fun with these characters in the coming episodes.