The Avengers: United They Stand

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The Avengers: United They Stand
Avengersunitedtheystand.jpg
Format Animated
Created by Stan Lee
Developed by Fox Studios
Starring Linda Ballantyne
Tony Daniels
Ray Landry
Caroly Larson
Stavroula Logothettis
Martin Roach
Ron Rubin
Rod Wilson
Lenore Zann
Hamish McEwan
John Stocker
Narrated by George Johnson
Opening theme The Avengers: United They Stand (by Sky Flyers)
Ending theme The Avengers: United They Stand (by Sky Flyers)
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 13 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Avi Arad
Camera setup Caption Setup
Running time 22 minutes
Production company(s) Marvel Studios
Saban International A. G.
Fox Family Worldwide
Distributor Saban Entertainment
Broadcast
Original channel FOX (Fox Kids)
Picture format Caption Setup
Audio format Dolby Digital
Original run October 30, 1999 – February 26, 2000
Chronology
Followed by Iron Man: Armored Adventures
External links
Website

The Avengers: United They Stand (also known simply as The Avengers) is an animated series based on the Marvel Comics superhero team The Avengers.[1] It consists of 13 episodes, which originally premiered on October 30, 1999, and was produced by Avi Arad and distributed by 20th Century Fox Television. It was later canceled on February 26, 2000.

The series features a team based on the roster for the 1984 The West Coast Avengers, composed of Ant-Man, the Wasp, Wonder Man, Tigra, Hawkeye, the Vision, and Scarlet Witch.

All 13 episodes are streamed on Marvel.com.[2]

Roster[edit]

The series features a team broadly based on the roster for the 1984 Avengers spin-off series The West Coast Avengers, composed of the Wasp, Wonder Man, Tigra, Hawkeye, and Scarlet Witch (Hawkeye and Scarlet Witch were also both in the Iron Man animated series as members of Force Works), led by Ant-Man (a.k.a. Giant-Man), with the Falcon and the Vision joining in the opening two-parter. For undetermined reasons (perhaps due to their rights being tied up in planned movie projects), the Avengers' "Big Three" were not regular fixtures in the series – Captain America and Iron Man made only guest appearances in one episode each, while Thor did not appear outside of the opening titles. Captain America appears in one episode, "Command Decision". The story involves the Masters of Evil and a flashback to Captain America defeating Baron Zemo. Iron Man, meanwhile in the episode "Shooting Stars", helps the Avengers thwart the Zodiac's plan to send a radioactive satellite crashing to Earth.

The series features many of the Avengers' major comic book foes, including Ultron, Kang the Conqueror, Egghead, the Masters of Evil (consisting of Baron Helmut Zemo, Tiger Shark, Absorbing Man, Moonstone, Whirlwind, Boomerang, Cardinal, and Dragonfly), the Grim Reaper (this version wore full body armor and a helmet featuring a skull-like paint job; his ties to Wonder Man remained intact) and the Zodiac, as well as associated characters such as the Swordsman, the Circus of Crime, Namor, Attuma, Agatha Harkness and the Salem's Seven.

The show made several fan-friendly references to aspects of the characters' comic book history that were otherwise not expanded upon for the uninitiated, such as the Falcon and Captain America's partnership, Hawkeye's partial deafness or Namor's half-breed nature. Beyond this, however, the series bore little in the way of similarity to the comics, mainly due to its wholesale redesign of the cast, characterized by asymmetrical costume design and the most infamous element of the series – Ant-Man, Wasp, Hawkeye and Falcon all wore suits of battle armor, which they donned in Super Sentai-inspired "power-up" sequences. Also in this incarnation, Tigra is an athlete who underwent genetic treatments to give her a competitive edge. These treatments went awry, leaving her with the form and abilities of a cat.

Production background[edit]

In 1997, Roland Poindexter, the supervising executive in charge of animated series at Fox, approached two X-Men (1992) animated series writers named Robert N. Skir and Marty Isenberg to develop a proposal for an Avengers cartoon. After creating a detailed Bible that included a 13-episode story arc, the network decided a Captain America series would be more suited to its schedule. But before Fox could green light either series, Marvel went into bankruptcy, effectively ending the development process for all its shows. It wasn't until after the publisher's financial woes were resolved in late 1998 that Poindexter revived interest in the Avengers project, using the series bible written by Robert N. Skir and Marty Isenberg; because Skir and Isenberg were already committed to spearhead Transformers: Beast Machines, the network approached former X-Men animated series story editor Eric Lewald and his wife, Julia, to come on board as story editors for the series. In January 1999, Fox finally gave the official go-ahead and Ron Myrick was hired to oversee the show's visual development.

As previously mentioned, the Avengers roster for the cartoon is loosely based upon the roster for the 1984 Avengers spin-off series The West Coast Avengers. Notably absent from the lineup are the traditional core members: Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor, who were originally prohibited from appearing in the series due to licensing issues. Story editor Eric Lewald has commented on their absence and had said "We want this to be a team of Avengers, instead of making it 'Captain America and the Avengers' or 'Thor and the Avengers. We prefer to have a balanced team of superheroes rather than a superstar on the team.[citation needed]" However, Captain America and Iron Man each made one guest appearance (in "Command Decision" and "Shooting Stars"), while Thor did not appear outside of the opening sequence.

The decision to pair Scarlet Witch and Wonder Man up as a couple was based upon the storyline then running in the Avengers comic in which Scarlet Witch resurrects Wonder Man to serve as her protector after an evil sorceress transforms the planet into a medieval world under her control. During their time together, the two fall in love and become a couple.

In the promotional images of the series, and the action figure photos, Hawkeye didn't wear a mask. However, in the series and the final version of the figure, he wore a mask similar to that he wore during the Avengers: The Crossing storyline.

This series, along with Spider-Man Unlimited (1999), was commissioned by Fox in the wake of the success of Batman Beyond (1999). In order to attempt to emulate Batman Beyond, changes were made to the Avengers franchise as the series was set in the future. Emory "Ron" Myrick explained that they were "setting the series about twenty-five years in the future" and that "New York City will be a mix of future and contemporary looks, sort of the way the city looked in the movie Blade Runner (1982) but not as dark." The Avengers were also featured wearing elaborate armor costumes when they went into battle. Myrick said "The armor will give them the capability to go into different environments like extreme heat or cold, or underwater, or outer space, and it'll enhance their abilities." The Avengers also featured an "A" on their costumes that was like a Star Trek comlink, where they could hit it and communicate with each other and the mansion's computer.

Episode guide[edit]

Early in this series, Wonder Man is wounded by Vision and spends the better part of the season in a coma. Scarlet Witch is eventually able to revive him. Like the comics, Vision was created by Ultron in his attempt to destroy the Avengers. The Avengers manage to use the defeated Vision in order to store some of Wonder Man's memories after Wonder Man is attacked by Ultron.

Ringmaster appear in the episode "Comes a Swordsman". He, Swordsman, and the Circus of Crime plot to steal the Mythrax Bacteria. Hawkeye infiltrates his Circus of Crime to find out their plot with the Mythrax. He uses his illusions to throw off the Avengers until Falcon's bird Redwing sees through them. Ringmaster is defeated when the Mythrax Bacteria canisters were empty. During the Avengers' fight with Ringmaster, Hawkeye fights Swordsman when he reveals that he used the Ringmaster as a diversion. Swordsman escapes as Hawkeye and Ant-Man disarm the Mythrax Bomb. It is later revealed that Swordsman was hired by the Zodiac to deliver them the Mythrax Bacteria. Taurus has his minions "tear Swordsman into twelve pieces."

Both versions of Baron Zemo were featured in the episode "Command Decision." The elder Zemo appeared in a flashback while Helmut Zemo led the Masters of Evil against the Earth's Mightiest Heroes. His costume (though very similar to his comic outfit) reflected the futuristic style of the series.

Attuma appears in the episode "To Rule Atlantis." He is using a Dynamo machine to cause earthquakes at Atlantis and the surface world and is allied with Namor's subjects Pecos and Dara. This event causes Namor to work with the Avengers to thwart Attuma. Namor manages to defeat Attuma and destroy the Dynamo machine with the Avengers' help.

Egghead appeares in episode titled "Egg-Stream Vengeance". Disguised as a long-legged clown at a Thanksgiving Day Parade, Egghead tampers with Hank Pym's "Pym Particles" by blowing special bubbles at him while he is fighting a brought to life dinosaur float. When he arrives at Avengers Mansion with the press, he uses a countermeasure to restore Ant-Man to his rightful height but later causes him to shrink. While Wasp stays behind to watch over Ant-Man, the other Avengers go out to hunt Egghead. After Scarlet Witch deactivates the security system around Egghead's house, the other Avengers manage to apprehend Egghead and bring him to Avengers Mansion. When Ant-Man is cured by Wasp, he sprays Egghead with his own serum with half-life Pym Particles that will leave him small for a few hours. Hawkeye manages to trap Egghead in a jar and give him to the arriving police officers as Scarlet Witch gives them Egghead's recorded confession.

In the two part series finale "Earth and Fire", the Avengers once again encounter the Zodiac gang, after their initial appearance in "Shooting Stars". Like the other Zodiac members in this show, Taurus is an alien based on the constellation he is named after, though Taurus has the ability to take human form temporarily, and has used the identity of Van Lundt. Fellow Zodiac member Aries meanwhile, is depicted as a super-strong alien that wears a ram-horned helmet. Aquarius is depicted with a fish-like appearance and water-based attacks. Gemini is depicted as a two-headed alien (one male head, one female head) with four arms.

Proposed second season[edit]

Tentative plans for an additional episodes featured Hawkeye's return to the carnival where he grew up as well as an episode that explores how the Scarlet Witch discovered her powers. Plans also included guest appearances by the X-Men, which would have utilized the Toronto-based cast from the 1990s series since a few of them already worked on this show, and Dr. Robert Bruce Banner (a.k.a. The Incredible Hulk) was supposed to appear to help the team when Henry Pym/Ant Man fell ill to gamma radiation exposure during a fight with the villain Egg-Head, and a two-part episode featuring Thor and his brother Loki (there was even a Thor toy made for the show's line of action figures). However, all plans were scrapped when the show did not return for a second season [3]

DVD release[edit]

The Avengers: United They Stand logo

On May 21, 2007 Maximum Entertainment released the complete series on Region 2 DVD in the UK. The 2-disc boxset features all 13 episodes of the series. The series remains unreleased on Region 1 DVD. On April 2009, Brightvision entertainment released the first four episodes on an Avengers Collection DVD, which also obtained 4 episodes of Thor and Sub-Mariner from the 1960s Marvel Superheroes animated series. At the moment, only one volume of Avengers has been released but more are to come. Due to the pending sale of Marvel (owners of the characters) to Disney (holders of the series), the current status of the series' DVD release is uncertain. The complete 13 episode 2 DVD set was again released in 2012 by Clear Vision in Region 2.

Principal cast[edit]

Part of the Avengers roster. Left to right: Tigra, Falcon, Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye and Vision.

Additional voices[edit]

Reception[edit]

The series received negative reviews by the critics and fans. It holds a 5.2/10 rating at the Internet Movie Database. It was heavily criticized for its complimentary toy line. Each member of the Avengers wore special battle armors that weren't used in the show. This was due because producers of the show wanted to do different battle armors rather than using the Avengers' regular battle armors. However, TV.com was more positive, with a 7.3/10 rating.

Toys[edit]

Toy Biz released a line of action figures for the cartoon series. The figures included Ant-Man, Captain America, Falcon, Hawkeye, Kang, Tigra, Vision, Ultron, Wasp and Wonder Man. Air Gilder and Sky Cycle vehicle toys were also produced. In the promotional images of the series, and the action figure photos, Hawkeye didn't wear a mask. However, in the series and the final version of the figure, he wore a mask similar to that he wore during the Avengers: The Crossing storyline.

Comic book[edit]

The Avengers: United They Stand Comics
cover of The Avengers: United They Stand No. 4
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
Format Ongoing series
Genre
Publication date November 1999 – June 2000
Number of issues 7
Main character(s) Avengers
Creative team
Writer(s) Ty Templeton
Derec Aucoin

The Avengers: United They Stand comic book series by Ty Templeton and Derec Aucoin was published to accompany the series. Due to low sales it lasted only seven issues.

The first two issues are set before the series premiere, Avengers Assemble, Part 1 & 2. No. 1 has the Avengers injured by an early version of Ultron. This issue was used to explain the armor worn by Hawkeye, Wasp and the Falcon in the series, which uses Pym Particles to reduce the pain caused by injury. It is mentioned by Hawkeye that Hank built his own armor after his legs were broken by Dragon Man, and felt no pain in his legs until he removed the armor. No. 3 takes place after the premiere as the Vision is being interviewed about his membership. He is also briefed on how Wonder Man and Hawkeye joined the team.

The Black Panther would appear in No. 1 and 6–7 of the series. In No. 1 he is among the Avengers who are injured by Ultron. Because of that, he refuses to rejoin the team until Hank steps down from being leader. Captain America appears in #6–7 as well. Quicksilver is mentioned twice in the series. In issue 1, Wanda is shown writing a letter to him. Issue 3 shows him in the flashback alongside Captain America, Hawkeye and Scarlet Witch.

Additional characters[edit]

Other characters that appeared in the comic but not the show:

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fritz, Steve (August 4, 1999). "New Series Aims for X-Men, Batman Level of Quality". USA: Mania. Archived from the original on April 20, 2000. Retrieved May 13, 2011. 
  2. ^ http://marvel.com/videos/browse/tv_show/151/the_avengers_united_they_stand
  3. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0203247/trivia
  4. ^ a b "GCD :: Issue :: Avengers United They Stand No. 5". Comics.org. Retrieved December 29, 2010. 
  5. ^ a b "GCD :: Issue :: Avengers United They Stand No. 2". Comics.org. Retrieved December 29, 2010. 
  6. ^ a b "GCD :: Issue :: Avengers United They Stand No. 4". Comics.org. Retrieved December 29, 2010. 
  7. ^ "GCD :: Issue :: Avengers United They Stand No. 6". Comics.org. Retrieved December 29, 2010. 
  8. ^ "GCD :: Issue :: Avengers United They Stand No. 7". Comics.org. Retrieved December 29, 2010. 

External links[edit]