Episode #15 - 459
Original Airdate - December 12th, 2010
Something has fallen to Earth… something here to destroy us all. A Kree Sentry has arrived, heralding Earth’s entry into an interstellar war between two alien empires. And if Ant-Man and the Wasp don’t stop it, humanity is doomed. But they may have an ally living among them… Enter: Captain Marvel.

Written by Joelle Sellner
Directed by Vinton Hueck
Reviews by ShadowStar, Medinnus
Media by Marvel Animation Age

Review by ShadowStar:
Well, this was an eventful episode… and one that, dare I say it, the shippers will love. The threat posed by the Kree Sentry certainly made for a change of pace and we all knew this show would go cosmic sooner or later, so hey, why not now? I admit to being wary of this change in direction for the series, as I’ve never found the Skrulls terribly interesting, but I won’t jump to any conclusions from this episode since it was just the calm before the storm. The war is still to come, and this episode was more to do with introducing Carol Danvers and the Kree being Captain Marvel than the alien races who will soon be vying for planet Earth.

Speaking of Mar-Vell and Carol, I thought that both were given good introductions here. VA veteran Jennifer Hale was a good choice for the latter, as she captured Danvers’ tough, cool and collected nature. I liked the fact that Carol wasn’t afraid to chastise Janet for her treatment of Hank. As they seemingly go back a long way, the fact that Carol called Janet out on her behaviour and urged her to put things right with Hank was a great nod to the strength of that pre-existing bond. With any luck, we can expect to see more where this came from… and if that cliff-hanger ending is any indication, a new heroine will soon be joining the ranks of the Avengers…!

As for Captain Marvel, I had to feel a bit sorry for him here. He didn’t do anything to suggest that he had a sinister motive, yet all of the Avengers (sans Hank) were quick to turn on him after hearing about the nega-bomb. It’s not like he relished telling them that their species was about to be wiped out, so they shouldn’t have jumped the gun like that. Admittedly, his story appears to have holes, but that’s another matter: what was the “genetic anomaly” he came to Earth to study? Was he referring to super-powered beings like Hulk and Thor? Have those two even been active for 3 years? Anyway, Mar-Vell seemed benign and made for a good guest-star (“I enjoy your species’ gift for ‘understatement’”), one that I hope we will see more of.

Of course, the major talking point of this episode was the development on the Hank/Janet front, with the former almost professing his love to the latter. It’s been difficult to figure their relationship out before now: going back to “The Man in the Ant Hill”, Janet threw her arms around Hank (who didn’t react at all) but since then they’ve been depicted as colleagues and close friends. Hints have been dropped about just how close, such as Tony teasing Hank with the idea that he would take Janet out to dinner (in “Everything is Wonderful”), but this is the first time we delve into the nitty gritty. I really enjoyed their interaction here and their blossoming relationship is interesting, even if I was reminded a bit of the “Scott!”/“Jean!” stuff from X-Men. This will they/won’t they plot line appears destined to be a slow burner, but I personally hope they don’t string it out. Hank and Janet have been acquainted for some time, so they had better get their act together at the end of this season or early in the next. It might never happen if Hank insists on only revealing his feelings in the heat of the moment (why must girls always wait for us poor saps to make the first move?)… Oh, what am I saying, there’ll come a time when, with the world in jeopardy as it was here, Hank will get to finish that sentence.

In some ways, it’s hard to root for their relationship because of the way Wasp is: she doesn’t always act her age and when her pretty demeanour is contrasted with that of Hank, who’s more mature, she comes across as annoying. At least she ate humble pie at the end of the episode. I don’t have a great affection for this incarnation of Wasp, but she has her moments (“If he does anything suspicious, smash him”) and can be tolerable. I also loved the contempt in Janet’s voice when she said, “Let me guess, you’re gonna try and talk to it”. I’m not sure why she and Hank attended the reunion with Carol in their superhero costumes, but I guess they like to be ready for anything… and Wasp doesn’t make a secret of her commitment to the Avengers (“Firemen sleep in the fire house”).

Janet’s attitude (fretting about aliens etc.), while annoying, was made up for with some really good humour, courtesy of herself, Hulk, Iron Man and Thor. I loved the dialogue they came out with when it turned out that the nega-bomb was five minutes away from going off (it appeared to go off much sooner, but I guess that was purely for dramatic effect). There’s still a bit of tension between Hulk and Thor, I see (“Your compassion is overwhelming, troll”).

The opening shot of the stars and the accompanying music were good for setting the mood, and it was nice to have another episode with just the founding members, for the first time since “Some Assembly Required”. We had a lot of exposition concerning the Kree/Skrull war to digest, but the introductions to Carol Danvers and Captain Marvel, plus the Hank/Janet developments, were handled well enough to call this a satisfying episode. I can see that patience is required for this show because “Masters of Evil” and this episode felt like they should’ve come earlier in the series, but I suppose that’s the peril of devoting the first seven episodes to set-up. At least “459” had more of a plot than "Masters of Evil" and didn't rely on action as heavily as that episode did. I don't want there to be too many cosmic stories in a similar vein to this one, but I’m interested to see what else the Kree have in store for the Avengers when they appear again.

Review by Medinnus:
This episode can be broken down into two parts, really - the first part revolves around Wasp and Ant-Man responding to Carol Danver’s request to come to the observatory where she’s stationed, which is run jointly by SHIELD (Carol Danvers) and the U.S. Air Force (represented by Dr. Phil Lawson). While Carol is Wasp’s friend, she asked them there so that she can get Ant-Man to confirm that the object their observatory is tracking is an alien craft.

The second part is the Avengers’ showdown with the Kree Sentry and the disposal of the Nega Bomb.

Dr. Phil Lawson is actually Captain Mar-Vell, a Kree xenobiologiest who has been investigating and studying Earth for three years. He got himself assigned to an orbital telescope ground station as the Kree would consider it a prime target; he intended to cloak it, but the Sentry arrived too soon for him to complete the task.

The Captain Mar-Vell used in this episode is pretty much a hybrid between the classic MU616 character and (especially visually) his Ultimate Universe counterpart. Mar-Vell seems to feel very protective of Carol Danvers in particular, but feels that all of humanity should be saved from destruction at the hands of the Kree, as they would be more valuable as willing allies. The writers do a good job of distilling the important aspects of the character in adapting him to AEMH, without getting bogged down in detail.

In similar fashion, Carol’s accidental exposure to Kree power core radiation was much more convenient that finding a forgotten Kree base and being exposed to a Psyche-Magnitron. The core personality of Carol Danvers as Ms. Marvel is sharp and crisp - smart, but very much a military, no-nonsenses, pragmatic person.

For those who don’t like the character of the Wasp, this episode will do nothing to ameliorate your dislike. From the beginning of the episode, Wasp is giving Ant-Man grief, acting like a smitten High School cheerleader, piqued because Hank is more focused on science than on her. She lets loose on him while they’re about to ingage the Sentry, for crying out loud! I mean, I know this kind of “soap opera” stuff is common in the genre, but it still makes her look like a selfish, self-centered brat, and not the stuff of which super-hero legends are made.

The hallmarks of this series - fast-paced action, good dialogue, and a wonderful “Silver Age” feel - are all in full swing here, and I am constantly amazed at how much they cram inside a half-hour show.

Check out more "The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes" insights from Medinnus at his own website!