So far, in the first four episodes of Avengers Assemble, the Avengers have taken on Red Skull, the Space Phantoms, and Dr. Doom, along with Ulik and the Midgard Serpent while playing around with the Falcon as the new kid on the block. The show hasn’t quite found footing equal to Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes yet, but that is not to say it isn’t an enjoyable ride.
One of the show’s strengths has been showing little slice-of-life moments as the Avengers they live together. It’s part Super Friends, part Real World, and it is much better than I just made it sound. This episode begins with Hulk pissed off that someone took his peanut butter to which Thor replies “What care I for the butter of peanuts?” This is funny and well done stuff that captures the viewer’s attention before the action begins.
This week, the big bad seems to be, surprisingly, none other than Dracula as a group of ninja vampires led by a recently embraced Black Widow invades the mansion. It is always cool to see modern Avengers adventures tie into Cap’s rich past, and this episode reveals that Cap and Dracula once allied against Hydra during World War II. Now, Dracula needs Cap because he has discovered that the Super Solider serum in Cap’s blood will give the Lord of Vampires great power.
This was the best episode of the show since the name change. Each Avenger, save one, was utilized to the maximum potential. Cap was the field commander and strategist, Hawkeye was the brash fighter, Falcon was the capable newcomer, Iron Man was the cynic who did not buy into any superstition around Dracula, Thor was the true warrior, and Hulk was the Hulk. The only negative was how the Black Widow was utilized. As the team’s sole female member, she can’t afford to be a helpless victim. This is the first time Natasha was treated this way, so this episode gets a pass, but fans expect more for the Widow than being the damsel in need of rescue.
The highlight of the episode? Vampire Hulk and Hulk Dracula. Some ideas are just so insane that they work on so many different levels. Dracula bites the Hulk, and easily smacks around the Avengers in his new, giant green vampiric Hulk form, until Hulk’s gamma blood starts beating up Dracula’s vampire blood. Those are the types of unexpected twists one wants from these types of genre mash-ups.
The introduction of Dracula, and his past relationship with Cap and how the rules of vampirism work in the face of the myriad different super-powers of the Avengers is a welcome addition to the show. While it’s still not scratching the itch that its predecessor did so well, but it’s certainly heading in the right direction.
And it was Hawkeye that took Hulk’s peanut butter.
Den of Geek Rating: 4 out of 5 stars