Episode #46 Code Red
Original Airdate - September 23rd, 2012
Now that the threat of alien invasion is over, Captain America does his best to restore hope to the world by rallying what is left of the Avengers. Together, the remaining members travel to Wakanda to repair Cap's shield, only to find a mysterious caped figure who plans to take the shield for himself.

Written by Man of Action
Directed by Roy Burdine
Review #1 by RoyalRubble, Review #2 by Kumori Myu-Jishan
Media by Marvel Animation Age

This episode was pretty awesome; we get to meet the revived Red Skull and even though we didn't get any explanation as to how or why he's still alive and apparently hasn't aged a day since WWII, seeing him again was great. Plus, some interactions between Captain America and the Winter Soldier which I was hoping for since Winter Soldier was introduced back in "Nightmare in Red" (when Cap was still a prisoner of the Skrulls). The episode has a lot of stuff going on, and some of it does seem rushed or not explained well enough for the viewers. Red Skull masquerading as the Secretary of Defense Dell Rusk and his plan to turn the public against the Avengers could have been a lot better if it would have been presented briefly or at least hinted at in some of the previous episodes, which would have made the climax of this episode more enjoyable. A single episode wasn't really enough to offer a decent and satisfying conclusion, but I thought this turned out pretty well in the end - it could have been a lot worse.

Cap gets to be in the spotlight again for most of this episode but considering Red Skull is his arch-nemesis it's not really that surprising. And it looks like he'll become leader of the Avengers "officially" soon, hopefully by the end of the series. Some of the other heroes get some pretty cool moments as well. Ms. Marvel fighting Doc Samson was pretty awesome; Hawkeye gets a second chance to fight Falcon, after the events of "Nightmare in Red"; Thor meets and fights the Red Hulk for the first time. Some of the other Avengers didn't get to do anything this time - thanks to the Skull's virus - and others were absent and weren't even mentioned during the episode. Hulk is still absent but I'm hoping he'll return soon, and that his comeback episode won't be too disappointing. His return will most likely tie in with the Red Hulk story-arc and for now the Red Skull storyline isn't over yet. And while not an Avenger, even the Winter Soldier got some pretty cool scenes showing some of his skills. I'm looking forward to see more of him in the upcoming episodes, and maybe see him and Cap fight on the same side - if his real identity is the same as in the comics, and I doubt they would have changed it. Plus Cap seemed to recognize him, and in the end Winter Soldier turned against the Red Skull. As for the other members of the "Code Red" team, I didn't really think they were mind-controlled by the Skull into fighting the heroes. I was sure they were working for him because they thought it was the right thing to do - a prologue of some sorts to the possible Superhero Registration Act that was mentioned a couple of times in the first half of this season.

All in all, this episode was good. Sure it was rushed at times but it still offered some great moments and had a decent enough story. The Red Skull obviously has a back-up plan so his defeat in this episode wasn't that disappointing. I'm looking forward to his return and maybe we'll get to learn some more stuff about how he survived (something the others, not even Cap seem to be wondering) and hopefully his next appearance won't disappoint either.

Review #2:
Following the trend of the previous four episodes or so, this one was not excellent, but good at best. More and more the fans can see the effects of different writing staff intervening due to departure of Yost & Co. And, consequently, another trend of “giving the Big Movie Three the spotlight” is pulling onward as well. Or, as this author believes, the trend of making Captain America the star and über-awesome in contrast to “minor characters”. However, let’s delve into the episode itself and see both the good and the bad.

Dell Rusk is Red Skull. Heh, something which eludes the non-careful viewer at first. Apparently, there’s a virus-carrying smoke that infects everyone save for Tony in the close vicinity of the Avengers mansion, and Winter Soldier, the Red Hulk, the Falcon and Doc Samson – who acts strangely out of character – launch a full-blown attack at Tony and his team. Cap and the Wasp, alongside several civilians on the street, get infected by the aforementioned virus and they all look like the Red Skull. While providing some resistance, Ms Marvel and Hawkeye both get infected, suffering through some mediocre-level dialogue that only Man of Action is capable of producing. Naturally, it’s Tony that finds the cure, since Black Panther also falls ill to the virus, and evidently only Captain America’s super soldier self is, to paraphrase Tony and T’Challa, “fighting the virus and hanging on.” He’s taken by the Winter Soldier to Dell Rusk, and Dell provides a beating. Cap unmasks him, somehow knowing that Rusk’s face is a mask – all of this happening in the Pentagon, no less – and the Winter Soldier is making weird faces of someone suffering through constipation. He predictably saves Cap by injecting him with the antidote that Stark delivered via a rocket, and Cap beats the ever-loving excrement out of the Red Skull, with evidently no soldiers around (because why would you have soldiers at the Pentagon?), but two news vans arriving at almost the very instant the battle is finished. So, yeah, storytelling at its finest.

The other bit that bugged me is Tony’s forced speech of “passing the mantle of leadership to Cap.” Let me reiterate. It.felt.forced. And it looked forced. I have no issues with Cap being in charge, but at least make the rank-up look subtle. Also, the erratic behavior of Doc Samson and the Falcon, and evidently Winter Soldier too, was explained by “mind control.” Yes, a classic cop-out to explain away the lack of knowledge of established characters and in-universe continuity. This also somehow explains the ticks the Winter Soldier had while staring at Cap being pummeled by the Red Skull.

There were even some useless panels and weird poses and sequences. For instance, the close-up pan of the Wasp’s face close to the end of the episode was strange and unnecessary. Also, the pose Ms Marvel makes before falling on her face is odd: she stands, legs awry, arms up high with fists clenched, lets out a moan, slowly descends onto her knees and smacks down onto the ground. Also, there’s the six second delay between Rusk lifting his foot to kick Cap in the face and him actually kicking Cap in the face. Again, worthless. The accompanying dialogue was bad as well.

So, what were we supposed to get with this episode? Well, we get to showcase how smart Iron Man is, how determined and utterly unbeaten Captain America is, how powerful Thor is (did not mention him because his contribution to this episode’s plot was non-existent and as such useless) and how basically every other minor character serves to bounce off of the said three. Clearly one can see this as an attempt to cash in on the movie franchises and further lengthen the list of AEMH audiences, and really Disney XD audiences to be honest. And if it’s any indication, the future shows will be doing this too, in enormous quantities.

Already stated once, but it shall be repeated: the episode was good, but not AEMH good. Not even close.

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