Avengers Assemble ended its third season, which was renamed “Avengers: Ultron Revolution,” with a four episode long adaption of Civil War. Much like the two Civil War events Marvel has had in the comic books, this four part event pitted hero vs hero. While the success of this concept has been met with a varying degree of success and failure in the comic books Avengers Assembled succeed in many ways to execute full on the concept. How did Avengers Assemble succeed with the Civil War conflict in a better executed manner than the Marvel comic books?
Order Of Conflict Escalation
The start of Avengers Assemble’s version of Civil War was very different from the two events we got in the comic books. Rather than start right away with a disastrous event like in the comics, the creators behind Avengers Assemble used the quickly growing population of the Inhumans as a catalyst. In many ways this cartoon version used elements from the original Civil War and what drove the X-Men franchise for so long. In doing so the creators were able to keep things within the superhuman community, only involving the rest of the world once things really escalated as the true instigator of the conflict was revealed.
This approach in keeping things within what the Avengers and Inhumans were doing allowed the show to focus even more on the key players of the conflict while maintain their heroic personas. At the same time we were able to get a reason why the Inhumans Registration Act happened, a rogue Inhuman destroying Attilan, and how it splintered the superhero community. What made this way of starting the Civil War even better is that we saw how things kept escalating as the four episodes progressed. This all allowed the big action set pieces to stand out even more as we weren’t just inundated with one big explosion from the beginning.
Inhumans Used In The Right Manner
In the comic books we are being hit over the head with the Inhumans importance to the Marvel Universe. That was not the case for Avengers Assemble as the Inhumans growing numbers were used to reflect on how the speed of the growth impacted core members like Black Bolt and Medusa. Even though it’s great for the Inhumans to grow the way it was going was getting out of control for even Black Bolt to maintain order within his people.
This already established instability allowed the audience to connect more with characters like Black Bolt, who had to face the difficulties of how he should lead the Inhumans. This difficulty in leadership made each of Black Bolt’s decision, from accepting the Inhuman Registration Act to joining the Avengers, mean something to fans watching the event. That impact was especially felt in one of the biggest confrontations of this version of Civil War with Medusa, Captain America and Falcon talking Black Bolt out of forcing all the Inhumans into a coma-like state to stop the mind control.
Character Depth For All Sides Of Civil War Conflict
Whereas the two comic book Civil Wars made characters and readers choose the side of the conflict they were on Avengers Assemble did not worry itself about this aspect for to long. Instead the animated series quickly established that there was something more than just characters disagreeing about what to do. This sinister undertone made the fact that the Mighty Avengers, consisting of Captain Marvel, Ms. Marvel, Black Panther, Vision, Ant-Man and Songbird, role of antagonist in the opening episodes not put them in a villainous light. Instead the Mighty Avengers were allowed to state how they were just looking to protect the world from the Inhumans from getting out of control without looking like the Evil Avengers.
On the core Avengers team side of things, they also did not get caught up with a stubborn outlook that completely opposed the Inhuman Registration Act. While they vocally opposed the Act, the core Avengers also to the time to look deeper into some of the shadier things about what the government, specifically Truman Marsh, was putting into motion.
Hero vs Hero Did Not Dominate The Story
Making Avengers Assemble’s Civil War even more successful is that it did not allow the interest in seeing dream hero vs. hero matches engulf the story. Instead we got to figure out that it wasn’t just Marvel heroes that were involved in the conflict and that there were some villains who actually behind the Inhuman Registration Act. From Maximus instigating the problems for the Inhumans to Truman Marsh true identity of Ultron, the villains involvement allowed the heroes to still be perceived as good guys.
Helping to keep the heroic aura around both Avengers groups intact was the fact that their Civil War-esque fights did not take place in populated areas. Instead the two Avengers groups were very aware of their surroundings before things got too far. In turn this allowed a clear separation from when the Avengers were fighting one another to when they fought the real threat once Ultron revealed himself in the second half of Civil War.
Villains Not Forgotten But Elevated
The best thing about Avengers Assemble’s Civil War story is how it integrates the villains into the story. Kicking things off with Maximus acting as the instigator of the Inhuman Registration Act elevates his status as a threat to what the Inhumans are trying to accomplish by creating a haven on Attilan. While Maximus does not play a big role in the rest of the episodes past this initial appearance his impact, especially as Black Bolt weighs what he should do when the Inhumans are mind-controlled by the registration disk.
Playing a bigger role than Maximus was Ultron, who became the end boss of the entire Civil War conflict. Not only did this bring back the overarching Ultron Revolution plotline for the entire third season but also gave all the heroes an even bigger reason to unite to fight a bigger threat. By this point Ultron has become the Avengers greatest villain in the cartoon so it was only appropriate that he was the threat we circled back to. While the hero community ended up being more united than ever by the end of Civil War, Ultron was still able to shake things up for the Avengers as he forced Iron Man to come off the board as he is stuck in another dimension with the threat of Ultron still around. This fact helps position Ultron’s return to be even more impactful whenever we see Iron Man return to the physical realm.
All-in-all Avengers Assemble’s Civil War arc turned out to be a strong way to end season 3. The final episode’s conclusion with how Iron Man and Ultron’s fate was executed was not the smoothest. There was a definite sense of the story being rushed at the end. That said the ending and its aftermath was as effective, if not more so, than its comic book counterpart. There are a lot of interesting angles season four can explore as Avengers Assemble adapts the events of Secret Wars in animated form.