How has it already been ten years? In 2010, Disney XD released the series The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. At the time, I only had a passing knowledge of comics. It was 2008’s Iron Man that made me interested in catching up on almost 70 years of history at the time. I thought I managed to get a good look at the mythology this franchise has set up. Man, I was so wrong. EMH dives into every single facet that Marvel has to offer. The show interweaves so many different storylines based on unique properties and makes it feel cohesive. Every member of the team is given an arc throughout the show that also ties into the overarching plot. It is still tough to chew that this show was canceled after its second season. As today is its tenth anniversary, It seems like the perfect time to revisit this iconic Marvel series.
And There Came a Day Unlike Any Other
I binged the entire show on Disney+ to return to that feeling when I first saw it. It is amazing to think about how well this show holds up after ten years. While the Marvel Cinematic Universe built up its various Avengers members, this show just throws you straight in. The first two episodes are quite the rush now that I rewatched it. There isn’t any hand-holding here, they throw you into this show without any warning. If you have no idea who any of these characters are, you are going to have to do some research. We get introduced to the Absorbing Man, Blizzard, Mad Thinker, King Cobra, the Wrecking Crew and so many more. Just thinking back, I had no idea who most of these characters were. It’s an incredible balance this show does throughout its run by understanding what characters need an introduction. Do we really need an origin story for the Wrecking Crew? No, let’s focus more on Graviton who serves as the main threat.
Speaking of, this show made me a huge fan of the character. He may be a minor villain but something about his powers was the perfect choice to bring the Avengers together. It was the reason I wanted Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to follow through with their tease of the character. His connection to S.H.I.E.L.D. added a great deal of intrigue that would perpetuate throughout the series. Earth’s Mightiest Heroes doesn’t try to shove every single upcoming plotline in this two-parter. Its focus is on introducing people to the diversity of villains, setting up the jailbreak, and the Avengers coming together. Small hints are set but they are only really built on throughout the seasons.
When Earth’s Mightiest Heroes
After a fantastic opening, it kind of goes a strange direction. We get the Avengers together and quickly rush through their characters. Instead of continuing from that point, it takes a step back. We return to the time before the events of ‘The Breakout’. This was my first time experiencing an out-of-order airing on television. Chronologically, ‘Iron Man is Born’ is the first episode of the show. At the time, this was one hell of whiplash because the events didn’t match up. Even Disney+ still has it in the wrong airing order. As you noticed though, the opening two-parter still works on its own. It’s such a strange aspect that Disney XD at the time aired it this way. It actually is even crazier that Disney+ still does not include it in chronological order. Somehow that just became an aspect of the show to this day.
The actual continuation is the episode ‘A Little Assembly Required’ that shows that these Avengers don’t get along instantly. It seems a tradition at this point that heroes always get into fights when they start teams. this episodes kind of highlights the advantage and disadvantage of having so many characters. This version of the Hulk is my favorite interpretation. He isn’t just a rage monster but actually is quite intelligent but still loves fighting. As they introduce him as this walking time bomb he tends to disappear for some time during specific arcs. They do this with a lot of recurring characters. It’s even showcased in the intro as it only shows the members relevant to the episode. Of course, this is great to keep an overview of the arcs but it forces them into making up excuses for others to “disappear”. A revolving door of characters works for the show, just sometimes it feels like the confrontations are forced to make sure to even the odds.
Found Themselves United Against a Common Threat
Still, this is a show about Avengers. We get so many fantastic adaptations of classic storylines. They are all interwoven throughout episodes that have a completely different focus. It all feels natural and is the advantage of long-form storytelling. An experiment creates Wonder Man that also introduces us to M.O.D.O.K. He briefly mentions they are working on a weapon for HYDRA. Ant-Man gets attacked by Klaue, who is helping Man-Ape that took over Wakanda. We also have Enchantress manipulating iconic villains to do her bidding that ends up forming the Masters of Evil. We briefly get introduced to Carol Danvers and Mar-Vell before the second season builds up the Kree-Skrull War. In just two seasons, we probably explore every aspect the Marvel universe has to offer.
Sadly, no matter how great the show was, it didn’t get renewed for a third season. It was replaced by a show called Avengers Assemble. The goal was that this show connected to Ultimate Spider-Man but it was nowhere near the same quality. Alongside Spectacular Spider-Man, this is one of Marvel’s best adaptations of their comics. It is a waste it was canceled in its prime but it did have a great ending. Every hero unites against a common threat like no other. Galactus has come to devour the world and it is up to all our favorite heroes to take them down. It is the perfect finale for this show even if there was so much more potential. Funny enough, Disney+ once again includes it out of order, as the 15th episode ‘Powerless’ is listed after the finale ‘Avengers Assemble!’ Even out of order, this show is an absolute gem. I believe it taught the Marvel Cinematic Universe a few lessons as it continued after the show aired its final episode.