For those of you reading these in order, please check out the Episode 8/9 and 10/11 reviews, posted yesterday.
Tony shows off his new gadget, which will help the kids locate more DISKs. The first DISK turns out to be…in some random desert/rock area that bears no resemblance to Japan. Ed quickly lags behind the group as they search, prompting more of his trademark whining.
The kids reach their destination…a junkyard full of abandoned planes? Where the heck is this place? Before they can find the DISk, they’re stopped by one of the masked villains. Tony realizes that Loki has used Dr. Akatsuki to make his own DISK detector. The masked minion, Joel, sends out Absorbing Man to face the heroes before running off. Ed is too scared to even D-Smash Hulk, leading Chris to comment on his uselessness to the team.
Cap, Thor, and Wasp easily take out Absorbing Man, despite his ability to transmute his body into various materials. Meanwhile, Akira and Ed use Akira’s Booster Skates to chase after Joel and retrieve the DISK. Joel reveals the DISK’s contents, the unstoppable villain Juggernaut. Juggernaut soon proves himself invincible even to Iron Man’s ultimate attack, the Unibeam.
Finally finding the courage, Ed D-Smashes Hulk, who easily takes out Juggernaut with a single smash. Ed D-Secures Juggernaut, and the others do the same to Absorbing Man, but Joel escapes. Back at the lab, Pepper and Tony discuss a new revelation: the Activity Time Limit of each Avenger has increased, a sign of the strengthening partnerships between the kids and the Avengers.
If it wasn’t for the large focus on Ed’s angst and confidence issues, this would have been a fairly decent episode. There were some nice action sequences, though I would have liked to see more of the battle with Absorbing Man. It was nice to learn a bit more about Joel, as well. He seems to be the “silly one” of Loki’s team, always late for things and shouting goofy rock-and-roll related catchphrases. The focus on individual villains is also a nice change of pace after the boat battle, where it was hard to keep track of who was fighting who.
However, Ed’s storyline in this episode was beyond annoying. Highlighting his lack of confidence made some sense when he was kidnapped and trying to escape, but, now that he’s Hulk’s partner, it seems redundant. The kids do very little in battles besides stand off to the side and cheer, yet even this terrifies Ed. He spent most of the episode too nervous even to D-Smash. I hope this trend doesn’t continue – Chris and Jessica have already shown a lot of growth beyond the one-dimensional characters they initially seemed to be. Hopefully Ed will do the same.
This was also the first episode of the “gotta catch ’em all” part of the plot, where one episode = finding one DISK. I like the focus it allows on individual heroes and villains, but I hope the show doesn’t stick to this format for too long. I want to see more of Loki and what’s happening with the Registration Act back in America. I also hope they find some hero DISKs to help them out, soon – every DISK they’ve captured so far has been a villain.
Ed’s whining dragged this average episode down to a bit below average, so I give it:
The episode opens with the Avengers taking on both Crimson Dynamo and MODOK in a construction site, while Tim attempts to retrieve the DISK with…some sort of crane? Ed mishears an order and D-Smashes Hulk at the wrong time, shaking the crane and causing the DISK to fall. Luckily, Akira uses his skates to catch it. For the first time, the group has rescued another hero: James Rhodes aka War Machine. Rhodey effortlessly defeats both villains, but Tim manages to D-Secure them and escape. The heroes welcome their new partner, who manages in his first moments to cause strife between Tony and Pepper by revealing some of Tony’s less-than-savory secrets.
On Jotunheim, Loki is furious with Tim for retreating. Tim reveals that he has created a device which replicates Loki’s teleportation magic, leading Loki to suspect that Tim has his own, self-serving goals. As punishment, he forces Tim to work with another team member, Manino, on the next DISK retrieval.
Everyone is annoyed at Ed for his mishap during the last battle, including Hulk. Cap attempts to lecture the group on teamwork, triggering his memories of Bucky Barnes. He apologizes to Chris, whom he realizes he has been attempting to use as a replacement for Bucky. Elsewhere in the lab, Akira and Jessica are chastised by their partners for neglecting their studies. Apparently, saving the world doesn’t mean you get to skip your homework.
Ed is sulking, causing the team to leave him behind as they search for the next DISK. At the Space Museum, the reluctant team of Tim and Manino challenge the Avengers with MODOK and the gravity-manipulator Graviton. Graviton confounds the team by sending their weapons at each other, quickly knocking them out. Luckily, Hawkeye (who literally showed up out of nowhere) guilt trips Hulk into standing up for Ed, who finally realizes that he has some good points and joins the battle. Ed uses his knowledge of Graviton’s powers to smash Hulk at the exact right moment, trapping the villains under his immense weight. Tim and Manino manage to D-Secure their villains and escape, but the heroes acquire the DISK.
The episode ends with Chris attempting to learn more about who Bucky is; however, Cap is unusually quiet and refuses to answer.
I feel like a broken record here – just like with 12, this episode would have been a lot stronger without the “Ed’s confidence issues” plot. It all felt really overexaggerated, with the kids and Avengers alike chastising Ed harshly for one mistake, when the others have had their fair share of not so great behavior as well (Chris is apparently let off the hook for his multiple episodes of refusing to join the team). Hawkeye’s verbal beatdown of Ed, while it was pretty obviously reverse psychology, was also extremely hard to watch. As someone with a lot of confidence/image issues, I couldn’t bring myself to respect or agree with Hawkeye’s tactics. (I didn’t cap any of that part for the same reason). However, Hulk’s extremely awkward, clearly-out-of-his-depth motivational speech that followed was kind of cute.
The fight scene in this episode was amusing to watch, with Graviton flinging the heroes every which way. MODOK is always a fun villain as well, because he’s got quite the personality, as opposed to a lot of the one-episode villains who are rather bland. I also quite liked the addition of Rhodey to the team, and hope to see other heroes added as well. Pepper and Tony’s argument, however, which centered around a date he apparently once went on in Miami, felt annoying and unnecessary. Scary Pepper is fun, though. She has a “death aura” that shows up every time Tony does something irritating – which is often.
However, this episode’s high points came in the form of two potential plot threads that I really hope to see picked up in the future. We got the first mention of Steve’s best friend, James “Bucky” Barnes. Bucky’s status within the Disk Wars universe is left ambiguous, but with the recent release of Marvel’s Captain America: Winter Soldier, I have a feeling we’ll be seeing at least something of Bucky in the future. We also got a hint that Tim might have some ulterior motives in serving Loki, as he revealed himself to be distasteful of his employer’s magic and aiming to replicate it via scientific invention. I really hope we see more of this, as I don’t want to see the Celebrity 5 (as his minions are apparently called, though I still prefer the Dumb Mask Club) deteriorate into easily foiled Team Rocket-esque villains.
The potentially interesting plot hooks were not enough to make up for another Ed-centric angst fest (and Hawkeye’s awful speech) so, out of 5 for this episode: