EPISODE REVIEW: Iron Man: Armored Adventures: “Fun With Lasers” (Episode 16)

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SHIELD just makes everything better, you know? I don’t know why that is. I can take or leave most of Marvel - actually, that’s not true, I can leave the overwhelming majority of it - but SHIELD is just inherently cool, and I’m not sure why. It’s better than Checkmate, it’s better than SWORD, it’s better than the 80s/90s LEGION, it’s better than any hoobajooba metahuman intelligence/spy organization. It’s just cool. I’m not even sure why that is, since SHIELD has been manipulated by foreign enemies, aliens, and assorted nimrods for at least half its existence, and let’s not even get started on that whole year they spent fighting Godzilla. Frequently, the agency is just a goofy embarasment, and I'll be the first to admit this. Yet, somehow, the cool remains. I don’t pretend to understand it, it just is.

PLAY BY PLAY

The Living Laser from a few episodes back - Meltdown, Episode 7 - has somehow survived being shot in to space, and is reconstituted inside a SHIELD space station. (SHIELD has a space station? Well of COURSE they do, that just makes them cooler) Berated by memories of his mom, his crime-lord boss, and Ironman, he flies out of the station and destroys an island off the coast of north Africa. Realizing he can actually blow up stuff, and having a serious inferiority complex, he goes back to the station and takes it over - there’s only two people aboard - then holds the world hostage.

There’s a pretty funny scene as the Living Laser tries to figure out what kind of ransom he wants - he really is an idiot - but he decides he wants Iron Man. Tony, meanwhile, has been on an inventing spree, and Pepper and Rhodie get in to a mom-and-dad argument over whether Tony’s gonna’ be an inventor or a superhero. This is kinda’ tedious, and is obviously supposed to play out as more important than it actually comes off as being.

They get the word about LL on the station, so Tony flies out in swanky new armor to confront the guy, but gets semi-willingly shanghaied by SHEILD and ends up on the Helicarrier. Of course as you know, and as we saw last week, when Superheroes meet, they must either mistake each other for villains, or be complete condescending asses to one another, leading up to a fight. Since Fury isn’t really a superhero, he’s just an incredibly-well-preserved one-eyed World War II vet, they don’t smack down. Instead, they just talk smack about how Ironman’s a newbie, a loose cannon, a danger to himself and others, blah blah blah. Nick has always been a bit of a wad, even back in his Fightin’ Commandos days, but here he seems more of a pointless hardass and less of a badass. I can’t help but think they played him wrong. But still: SHIELD - that just makes it all better.

SHIELD launches fighters to rescue the station crew and capture LL, but LL makes short work of them, so Tony just leaves and goes to take care of the situation himself. On the station, we get some smackdownage, and Fury calls up just to say that he’s blowing up the station in 20 minutes, so we’ve got a race against the clock. Tony gets blown out in to space in a leaky suit, and nearly dies, but pulls something like a Dave Bowman and makes it back in just in time. The crew explain how the station’s telescope works, and Tony realizes he can use it to trap LL. Another smackdown ensues, but Tony takes some advice on how to be irritating from the always-irritating Pepper, and is able to play LL’s mommy issues enough to get him to go stupidly in to the telescope, where Tony traps him.

SHIELD recovers everyone, and stores LL in a special cell in the Helicarrier so he’ll be able to more conveniently escape in the future, and tells Tony that they’re still thinking about taking him down. Back at the armory, Tony stands torn between his armor and his inventions, unsure which life to persue.

THE END

OBSERVATIONS

This is a much better-than-average episode, though it’s more or less entirely without subtlety, and there’s really not too much to observe or ruminate on.

Despite the fact that this show takes place in New York City, and virtually all the characters are native Newyawkehs, Living Laser is the only person who sounds like he came from there. And is he this big of an idiot in the comic books? I wonder, but not enough to read 'em.

Nice to see SHEILD, nice to see the Helicarrier looking like an aircraft carrier, and not like that amorphous monstrosity they had on that crappy Spiderman show in the 90s.

Nick is black in this episode, though he’s generally Caucasian in the comics. Presumably this version is either based on the ULTIMATES version of Fury (Is that even still running? Does anyone know?), or the Samuel L. Jackson version of Fury from the Iron Man movie. (And it should be mentioned that the ULTIMATES Fury was itself openly designed to look like Jackson) It was a weird decision to play Fury as an antagonist in this episode, and without the vague hope of a happier tomorrow we got from Miss Kitty last week, but, hey, it’s Fury, so it’s cool. He’s with SHIELD you know.

Speaking of which, can we just ditch all this superhero-centric crap and have a SHIELD cartoon? Or just a straight-ahead SHIELD movie in which the Supers are just fringe characters?

The part I don’t get is this: LL was pretty definitely killed 9 episodes ago. Ok, so they decided to un-kill him through very nebulous, inadequately-explained doubletalk. Fine. It’s a cartoon and all, but that was 9 episodes ago, which appears to be at least a couple of months in the show. So if he’s a laser (Living) and all, and he’s traveling at the speed of light, then why did it take him a couple months to zap from manhattan to a space station a couple hundred miles up? I mean, why so slow? Lasers go 12 million miles a minute…

And that’s really all I’ve got.

Oh, neither Kahn nor any of the minor supporting players turn up in this episode.

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