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Command Decision
Reviews by Stu and Tempest, Media by Stu

Episode Episode #6 - Command Decision
Original Airdate December 11th, 1999

When Captain America returns to The Avengers, Ant Man begins to question his role as Leader whilst The Masters Of Evil strike!

Written By: John Loy
Directed By: Ron Myrick
Music Composed By: Shuki Levy and Kussa Mahchi
Animation Services By: Sae Rom
Guest Starring: Martin Roach as The Falcon, Ron Rubin as The Vision, Rod Wilson as Ant-Man, Linda Ballantyne as The Wasp, Stavroula Logothettis as Scarlet Witch, Lenore Zann as Tigra and Gerry Mendicino as Taurus.

Review (Stu): This is the one episode of the series I was looking forward to, the Captain America guest spot. It still sucked. I can’t explain it any other way - it’s just terrible.

The villains, The Masters Of Evil were plentiful. Only one of them was given the slightest development, and even that was pretty poor. Their plan? To steal an EMP generator that creates an electro magnetic pulse that can shut down all electronic equipment in a designated area. I immediately thought “Hey! They did this in 24!” and, as Bird Boy is no doubt aware, Jack Bauer is my hero. Terrorists, former friends turned evil and Robocop, Jack Bauer has beaten them all and leaves all men in awe whilst doing it.

I believe all men aspire to be Jack Bauer, whether they are aware of it or not. I mean, who wouldn’t want to kick terrorist ass? At this point in his life, is there anything Jack can’t do? I bet he could even make this show entertaining, should he feel like it. He is as awesome as this show is bad. I mean, come on, if Bird Boy, screw on head, Jim Harvey and I think Jack Bauer is the balls, who else is there to impress? You don’t see crappy performances; two dimensional characters and poor animation in 24 do you? No, because Sir Kiefer Sutherland wouldn’t stand for it.

Back to this episode. If they ever do a Captain America movie, I think Sutherland would be the perfect choice to play the good Captain. He may be British, but British people are better actors than Americans anyway. Except those who appear on British TV, because yeah, most of them are terrible. I saw on Jonathan Ross a few weeks back, that Kiefer wants 24 to be set in England, and even proposed that the upcoming 24 movie could take place here in the good old UK. He went on to say that one of the biggest annoyances of having each season of 24 take place over a single day is that they can’t fit time for travel, which limits them coming over to England.

I think once I’m done reviewing this insipid show, it’s time to watch all five seasons of 24. If the site after Avengers takes a while to get here, know you’ll know why.

Review (Tempest): I summoned myself to write a review for the “Command Decision” episode of the AVENGERS UNITED WE STAND animated series and I promise I will not mention Kiefer Sutherland, Emilio Estevez, or Rob Lowe during this review.

Perhaps the best quote I ever heard regarding super hero animation is by Bruce Timm (surprise surprise) in 2001 just before Justice League hit the airwaves. The quote goes MUCH like this “When you get the chance to do a show like Justice League (or Avengers) the chance will only come along once every 20 years or so and you’d better get it right or you have a bunch of fans and creators to answer to! By this I mean the MAIN players better be there. You better have Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern etc. or don’t do the show at all!” This was both supremely accurate and a passive aggressive jab at this Avengers series., and how right Timm was.

The “Command Decision” episode of the AVENGERS UWS animated series gives us a 22 minute glimpse as to what should and might have been. This is an episode featuring the most recognizable, influential Avenger leader of all time Captain America! Cap as we all know preposterously is NOT a featured cast member of this animated series despite being in the opening credits and mentioned and pictured every 5 minutes of the series. The Cap, Thor, and Iron Man deletion haunted the show the entire 13 episodes and is toiled over to this day on various message boards by super hero animation enthusiasts. They were bigger than the team and show and the only ones to not seem to know this were the actual crack (or hack) “producers“.

“Command Decision” is wrought with more clichés than a Bryan Adams Best-of album. But you tend to gloss over all these fancy-book-learnin literary devices when you have fangasms from The Avengers tackling The Masters of Evil (Baron Zemo, Absorbing Man, Tiger Shark, Moonstone, Dragon Fly, Boomerang, Cardinal, Whirlwind). The plot is derivative cubed and lifted from IRON MAN TAS “Hands of the Mandarin”. It has TMoE aspiring to control the EMP (Electronic Magnetic Pulse) generator to disable the world’s technology. Captain America on some sort of inexplicable Avengers sabbatical comes back while tracking Baron Zemo on a solo mission catching up with him on the same military train The Avengers just so happened to be tracking Zemo on. I’ll get detailed and I won’t bore you with a play by play but Cap makes a grand entrance by rescuing Falcon (Explained later is his former “# 1crime clean up team” partner. A Cap/Falcon comic homage) from the Absorbing Man’s massive ball and chain. It’s the EXACT entrance and rescue Cap made in X-MEN TAS “Old Soldiers” when he rescues Wolverine from Nazis. Interestingly and faaarr from coincidental BOTH episodes are written by comic book/cartoon scribe Len Wein. Wein does write a great flashback scene where the original Baron HEINRICH Zemo gets accidently killed by Cap who blinds him with his shield and leading to an avalanche on top of Heinrich Zemo thus leading to Baron HELMUT Zemo exacting his dad’s revenge.

A major subplot here is the dichotomy of irritatingly charisma-less current leader Ant-Man/Hank Pym against the classic charisma drenched Avengers “natural-born leader” Captain America/Steve Rogers. Cap comes in and basically commands the team effortlessly and Ahole Ant-Man gets jealous and no doubt threatened Cap maybe coming back for good. Ant-Man takes insecure passive-aggressive shots at Cap. But good ole Cap plows forward seemingly Tick oblivious to Pym’s bitterness and a sometimes caricature of the Avengers legend in portrayal but at the same time sometimes accurate.

It sounds like a ball-less cop out I’m making but it’s not, Cap’s portrayal is all over the map. And the producers tediously overuse the shield (with no hand to combat/acrobat balance) which is always a disservice to the “Ultimate-Human-Fighting-Machine“. And unlike ULTIMATE AVENGERS which focuses on the manual/martial arts/acrobat Cap. I never felt AUWS ever really got the hand to hand combat/acrobat expertise that is Steve Rogers. I honestly can’t think of an action sequence involving Cap where the shield isn’t his primary offense or defense??? Cap comes off as likeable but sometimes stiff and almost senile with a commanding yet melodramatic corny voice. No doubt the producers are trying to overcompensate for douchie Ant-Man which the fans clearly hate and continue to pine for Cap, Thor, and Iron Man. Nevertheless the team (especially Falcon and Hawkeye) loves having Cap back and is responding and hanging on his every word.

A couple of side notes. The Cap appearance is so friggin vital they even :
-Give him his own theme music
-Give his shield a glow and theme when it’s thrown
-Action figure in the Avengers line
-And base entire FOX commercials around a character that only appears ONCE in 13 episode
-Show multiple pictures of Cap/Steve in the mansion background.

Another MAJOR plot plagiarism knockoff is if you get a chance to compare is lifted from X-MEN TAS “Cold Comfort”. In “Cold Comfort” Iceman (Cap) comes back causing team chemistry conflict and personal strife with Cyclops (Ant-Man). In addition they do something called “castling” which is a chess term that means to switch opponents just as The Avengers do in the climax. But fittingly the end has each Avenger defeating or scaring off their MofE opponent and has Cap INSIST he be the one to take down Baron Zemo. Which he does of course via the continued boring overuse crutching of the shield mowing Zemo over like a Brooklyn Heights Bowling Alley 7-10 split for the victory.

So HOW this repugnant show can’t commandeer the FULL rights for Captain America (a Marvel in-house produced show) blows my fricken mind??? It’s kind of like the Utah Jazz leaving Karl Malone and John Stockton off a Jazz all-star salute or Fonzie off a HAPPY DAYS reunion. It’s THAT ridiculous to inexplicably bench Cap, Thor, and Iron Man.

But believe it or not compared to the rest of the series “Command Decision” looks like “Starcrossed” so in addition to the “To Rule Atlantis” (Sub-Mariner/Namor) episode I recommend watching this one JUST to urinate on Ant-Man like Gary Miller off a Cleveland nightclub. And to Ron Myrick, go manage a Taco Bell in south New Orleans and may you never work in animation again for THE biggest debacle in the history of super hero animation!