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Avengers – The Man Who Stole Tomorrow

As was previously foreshadowed in the series, Kang The Conqueror is coming from the future to kill Captain America!  This subplot and a couple of others have been lurking in the background of The Avengers all season, and Kang’s story finally takes the mainstage in this week’s episode.  It also seems that all the other plot threads are about to come together, just in time for the first season big finale.

Aside from Kang, we’ve also heard about the Kree/ Skrull war, a cosmic battle between two alien races, both of whom have shown an interest in Earth.  It turns out that the villainous time traveling Kang has traveled back from the 41st century to ensure that humanity is prepared to defend itself from this impending alien invasion.  Kang’s knowledge of the past tells him that, at some point in our future, Captain America will do something that results in the Earth being destroyed.  We don’t know what that is, because Kang showed up ten years early, just to make sure he intercedes with time to spare.
This episode also contains the show’s first reference to the existence of another Marvel superteam.  As Wasp, Hank and Thor are escorting a villain to a Negative Zone prison, Hank mentions that he built the prison with help from Reed Richards, and we get a quick glimpse of the Fantastic Four which implies there might be a super team up at some point.
Speaking of the Negative Zone, this episode fully explains just what the Avengers have been doing with all of these super criminals they’ve been rounding all season long.  They’re putting them all in a new inescapable prison guarded by an army of robot jailers. People familiar with the Marvel universe will know what’s coming as soon as they see an army of Ultron robots, but I won’t spoil things for those not in the know. 

There’s a ton of action in this episode, even for a superhero cartoon.  The episode starts with a clever scene where Captain America and Iron Man butt-heads as part of their generation gap.  This leads to a boxing match between them, with Hulk and Hawkeye snickering at them from the Avengers’ Headquarters peanut gallery.  Then Kang shows up, and the episode turns into one long battle as Kang uses his arsenal of high-tech future gizmos.  The whole team fights together against him, and I believe this is the first time that all of the Avengers have been assembled against a single foe. 
The theme of this episode is old vs new.  Captain America and Iron Man start off the episode debating whether Cap’s old fashioned fighting style is superior to Iron Man’s reliance on technology.  By the end of the story, Iron Man finds himself on the other side that argument when he faces off against Kang, an opponent who’s technology is thousands of years more advanced.  Iron Man learns a valuable lesson in this episode (And so do the youngsters in the audience), but the writers worked it in so naturally that it didn’t come across as hokey, or preachy.

The episode ends on a cliff-hanger ending, but you can find out what happens in our review of the next episode Come The Conqueror.



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