Episode #42 - Extremis
Original Airdate - March 14th, 2012
When Agent Mallen is fired from S.H.I.E.L.D., he takes the super-serum “Extremis” and mutates into a powerful maniac bent on revenge. Can Iron Man possibly stop this powerful foe?

Written Thomas Barichella and Rob Benaviddes, Jr
Directed By Stephane Juffe and Phillipe Guyenne
Review by Arsenal


I enjoyed “Extremis” – the writing was tight, the new villain was interesting enough, the animation even clicked during a couple of key sequences – up until the end.

Some exposition is necessary for my complaint to make any sense.

This episode uses elements of Warren Ellis and Adi Granov’s “Extremis” storyline in the comics. Their story was intended to modernize, reintroduce and power up Tony Stark.

This episode uses a similar story but mostly focuses on powering up Tony. (Frankly, there’s no need to reintroduce or modernize a character that’s only been around for 40-odd episodes.)

The Extremis nanovirus is one part super-serum substitute and one part modern-day mechanical macguffin.

It gives rogue SHIELD Agent Mallen (a repurposed character from the comics) unspecified superpowers and possibly intensifies his dissociative disorder. Meanwhile, a hit of it gives Tony the ability to “talk” to technology and intuitively understand it.

So does Tony use his newfound powers to beat the previously unstoppable villain?

Nope, he just electrocutes him.

The rule of Chekov’s gun as applied to the superhero: Don’t give your superpower a new weapon/power unless he or she is going to use this weapon/power to defeat the villain.

Now, I don’t want to give you impression that this episode as a mess. On the contrary, I enjoyed it a lot until those final moments.

The animation – a part of this show I rarely praise – was excellent during Mallen and Stark’s first faceoff. And while Mallen seems like an unfinished idea – his world view, as well as his powers, seem a touch vague – he had some hair-raising lines that were well above the “I will destroy you” and “Any last words?” fare that villains of the week usually receive.

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