Episode #17: Come the Conqueror
Original Airdate: January 16th, 2011
Kang’s invasion of Earth begins in earnest! A fleet of ships from the future unleash war on the planet, and the Avengers are helpless to stop it. But while Iron Man searches for Kang himself, Captain America takes charge of the Avengers… but to fight a war, you need an army. And Wasp knows where Cap can get one. Welcome to the other dimensional prison called 42, maintained by a robot called Ultron.

Written by Eugene Son
Directed by Vinton Heuck
Reviews by ShadowStar, RoyalRubble
Media by Marvel Animation

Review by ShadowStar:
If you’re looking for action aplenty in your superhero cartoons, then look no further. This episode is comprised almost entirely of fight scenes galore, and offers the kind of knock-down, drag out battle in New York City that any avid fan of superhero cartoons yearns for. The animation was really good, and while “Living Legend” still holds the title of having perhaps the best animation to date (just look at the fluidity of the fights with Doughboy), it has to be said that the action here was on-model and fun (almost DR Movie standard). The bit where the kid was knocked to the ground and everything momentarily went mute, at the beginning of the episode, really put across how devastating it was on the battlefield.

I loved seeing the team engage a more epic threat, though it’s a shame that they couldn’t exactly disperse to deal with the invasion on a global level. They’re still more of a team than an organisation at this point. Still, we should savour it while we can because it meant that each team member was afforded ample time to shine here, whether it was Black Panther scaling the side of a building to do a glide attack on a drone, or Wasp saving Cap and Hawkeye’s bacon. Amidst the chaos, there was time to have fun with these characters, such as Hawkeye actually running out of arrows (!) and later boasting that he could take all of the robots on the bridge. Hank pointing out to Janet how much the Quinjets cost was another funny moment; at least Wasp delivers on humorous moments like this (“Well, it wasn’t my plan”).

Captain America took charge, co-ordinating the battle on the front line, and finally got to say, “Avengers assemble!”, a moment that was a long time coming. There were more little teases that he would make a better leader than Iron Man – Tony’s initial outburst when it became clear that T’Challa would have to leave showed a lack of compassion for the Wakandan king that Cap (who appreciated that T’Challa was caught between a rock and a hard place) didn’t share. I felt bad for Panther when Tony lashed out. It was good of T’Challa to be gracious about the situation, merely saying, “Thank you, my friends”, before departing. Tony doesn’t seem attuned to his teammates’ priorities and feelings, which perhaps spells the beginning of the end for his tenure as leader.

On that note, where was War Machine and why didn’t he chip in? It seems out of character for Rhodey and Pepper to not be trying to get ahold of Tony at a time like this, though I can surmise that he spoke to them off-screen. I hope it’s explained at a later date that he’s annoyed with Tony for not making him a full-fledged member, and that because of this, he wants nothing to do with the team; otherwise, his absence in this time of crisis doesn’t make sense. At least the creative team tied the invasion in with S.H.I.E.L.D. and threw fans a bone in the form of a Black Knight cameo – I assume we’ll see him again at some point in a speaking role.

I never cared about Kang the Conqueror before this series, but his unrelenting quest to restore his timeline is the stuff of greatness and I can only imagine how he’ll hit back once the Avengers foil his efforts. A pity that Princess Ravonna, who should’ve seen more use by now, is still out of commission, because he would be better off having someone to talk to on Damacles base as the battle on Earth unfolds. Presumably Ravonna will be the trump card in the next episode, since the Avengers still have no knowledge of her existence.

The way that the Avengers fought off the fleet attacking NYC confused me somewhat because I’d have thought that Ant-Man and Wasp would have vanished with the ship when they destroyed the device that was connecting it to their time. I mean, they were inside it. I can see what the writers were going for, but it should’ve been explained better because Kang’s soldiers vanished with the ships, so why not the Avengers who were in there too? And shouldn’t the team have shown some concern about how sending those ships back to the future killed the people on board, as it meant that they were wiped from existence?

Wasp will regret recommending the Ultron army later on… It’s incredibly cool to see the Avengers fighting alongside their future foe to save the world, but if only they knew... My first impression of Tom Kane’s Ultron is that he doesn’t seem too chilling, and I’m compelled to compare him to Corey Burton’s Brainiac from DC, but I’m sure Ultron will live up to the hype when he makes his dark descent into villainy. I can’t think of a cooler Avengers foe from my brief time spent reading the comics.

It was good stuff, but mostly just action to pad out the storyline so that Kang's invasion could be on an appropriate scale. There should be more "time-out" moments to illustrate how the characters are responding to the invasion beyond their need to fight back; such is necessary for a three-parter, and it’s a missing ingredient from this series as a whole. The ending was a bit far-fetched: Iron Man shouldn’t have been able to detect Kang’s ship so quickly upon running a scan of space – it was cloaked by future technology, which JARVIS had been unable to comprehend in the previous episode. Nevertheless, some of the developments in this episode were quite good, but let’s hope that the siege on Kang's spaceship isn’t just all spectacle like this episode, because a sense of poignancy has been missing from Kang and Ravonna’s appearances (you can sympathise with their dilemma), and I’m expecting to see it capitalised on in the conclusion of this arc.

Review by RoyalRubble:
Great episode, even though it was basically just one big fight scene. But with the beautiful fight scenes they've done on the show so far I'm not complaining.

The Avengers worked surprisingly well as a team (mostly thanks to Captain America's strategies... he's a born leader after all) against Kang's machines. I loved seeing all of them in action, and hearing about the friendly little competition that was going on between Thor and Hulk. Hawkeye was also great in this episode, fighting all those robots. Wasp was used well here, with her flying the Quinjet and shooting robots everywhere; her lines were pretty cool as well. Captain America is definitely a born leader, and his strategies in this episode worked pretty well. I especially liked the look on Hulk's face when Captain America gave him an "order"... and a little more tension between him and Iron Man was handled well when he gave Black Panther permission to go back to Wakanda. I thought Iron Man wasn't really used enough during the fight scenes, but his mission of finding where exactly Kang is was necessary. At first I thought the reason why Iron Man couldn't detect Kang was because Kang didn't actually come back to this time, he only sent his armies, and he was still in the future. Turns out it was just a very high-tech cloaking device.

Teaching Ultrons the concept of "violence"... I'm sure nothing bad will come out of this, right? Really liked how once the Ultrons were re-programmed their eyes started glowing red. It creates a creepy atmosphere. I was kinda surprised that Wasp was the one with the idea of using Ultrons as an army, but you can see she hesitated about mentioning her idea. She herself said the previous episode they were creepy. (And to think, towards the beginning of the series, she thought Ultron was just boring). The way this show has been going lately, I'm sure the Ultron saga will be handled well; it's just a matter of time.

While I was impressed with the animation, pacing and fight scenes this episode had to offer, I noticed some of the scenes with the Avengers fighting Kang's army were previosuly seen in that short preview clip that was released a long time ago, before the series started airing. I liked it back then, I'm loving it now. The only thing I was slightly disappointed with in this episode was the lack of any other super hero cameos. Sure we got the Black Knight (I thought he was Dreadknight at first ), but it would have been nice to see others as well. I guess it's still too early in the series for that, but they could have at least shown us a couple more heroes fighting to save the world. But it's only a minor thing, and it didn't stop me from enjoying the rest of the episode.

Favorite quote(s) of the episode. Well the first one's from Wasp, "I found bigger stingers", which was just awesome, and the second one is from Hulk: "Maybe I will rest now", which was just funny. (Also my new user title, for a while)

And a short Marvel Animated Chronology about Black Knight. While I am not familiar with this character from the comics (and I see according to Wikipedia there have been at least 4 different characters that used this name), but I remember one character called Black Knight appearing in an episode of the Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends show from the 80s, and more recently another Black Knight (apparently called the Vatican Black Knight) appearing on the Black Panther animated series.

This episode was just great, and now that Kang has been found, the final (?) battle is about to begin...