EPISODE REVIEW: Iron Man: Armored Adventures: “Panther‘s Prey” (Episode 15)

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Welcome to what may or may not be the second season of Iron Man, Armored Adventures. This might be Episode 2, season 2, or it might just be Episode 15 of the unexpectedly long season 1. Nobody seems to care enough to post it on the ol’ interwebs, and I’m not really a Marvel guy so I don’t just intuitively know this stuff, but wherever we are, it was a pretty good episodes.

PLAY BY PLAY

We start out with Pepper’s dad breaking in to a bad guy’s office after hours, and hacking in to a computer while he talks to someone on a Bluetooth. He rattles off some amazingly bad exposition that just gets worse as it goes along, and just when it gets so cringingly bad I can’t take it anymore, we discover that the whole scene was just Pepper telling Rhodie a story. “Wait, why would he have told you all this?” “Ok, he didn’t. He just left his office door open and I heard him talking to someone.” Good gag. Meanwhile, Tony is stalking AIM (Which, as we’ve established earlier, has nothing to do with Russell Means), and he runs across a guy in a black leotard and some long fingernails (uh oh) stalking them too. Since this is a superhero thing, they have to misunderstand each other on first contact and fight, and they do. The guy in the catsuit (A pun!) busts some mad - and fairly impressive - acrobatic skills and manages to slice up Tony’s armor pretty good. Everyone gets away. They’re pretty sure “Miss Kitty” is working for AIM.

Rhodie gets to doing research on a word called “Wakonda”, Tony gets back to stalking AIM, and Pepper gets back to talking really fast, but not really doing anything. We discover that AIM is made up of a bunch of people who enjoy dressing up like Moltar from Space Ghost: Coast to Coast, and we also discover that they’re looking to purchase a fake-but-stupidly named element called “Vibranium” (Used in the construction of high quality sex toys) from a guy named Moses Magnum (No relation to the Moses from the bible). Tony busts out the stealth suit - which is mostly invisible, most of the time - and he stalks AIM again, once again bumping in to “Bad Kitty” as they’re now calling the disturbing guy in the body stocking and the fake fingernails. Once again, they fight, but AIM starts shooting at Bad Kitty - they don’t know Tony’s there - and he realizes that Bad Kitty isn’t working for AIM, he’s stalking them. Bad Kitty takes a tumble, and is gonna’ die, but Tony saves him, and brings him back to the Armory.

They quickly realize that Bad Kitty is the crown prince of Wakonda, a small, nonexistent, but real-sounding kingdom in Africa, right on the other side of the Paramount Pictures Logo Mountain from Zamunda. Wakonda has had no contact with the outside world for a long time, though presumably they do have occasional shuttle service to Ruritania. Anyway, there was a recent power grab in Wakonda killed the king - known as The Black Panther (No relation to Huey P. Newton) - and now the crown prince, who’s unconscious in the Armory, is the new Black Panther. Moses Magnum (No relation to Thomas Magnum) was responsible for all that. They put together that T’challa - the prince (No relation to Prince himself) - has a story pretty much the same as Tony: Dead dad, big shoes to fill, evil nemesis, quest for revenge, super power suit, endless free time. T’challa wakes up and they discuss this with him, but he’s a wad who says he’ll spill Tony’s secret if he gets involved at all.

They decide not to get involved, but Tony hangs back in the stealth armor and watches the meet between Magnum and The Moltar Fan Club. This goes south quickly, and they immobilize Black Panther, and supercharge him with electricity so his armor will explode, which - as even Magnum points out - is ludicrously difficult and complicated. Tony steps in and saves the day, the two of them fight together, AIM is routed, Magnum is caught, and T’challa is shamed because he asked for help.

“You didn’t ask for help,” Tony says, in his first actual badass line in the entire series thus far, “You just got in my way.”

The end

OBSERVATIONS

I just wrote a sixteen page short story today in one sitting, and my fingers hurt like crazy. That’s not an observation pertaining to this story, but it is the kind of thing you should know, lest you plan similar madness yourself.

Another badass line: Magnum: “I feel bad about taking a father away from his son, so please let me make it up to you by reuniting you again” (Shoots Black Panther.)

Another good line, when Panther runs away from their second encounter, Tony: “Wait, what about the fighting?”

I liked the episode. Getting Tony out of school seems like a good thing. The full-time superheroics is nice, and I like that the mundane concerns of Marvel comics (“They stopped making Jolt Cola? Let’s do a fifteen issue crossover event featuring Thor’s reaction to this!”) didn’t get in the way of the story for once.

Though it is the hoariest of clichés that superheroes must mistake each others for villains and have a pointless WWF smack down as a result, but I *do* like that Panther is vastly, vastly better at this sort of thing than Tony is, and he clearly won both their encounters. That took some of the sting off of it. I also like that T’challa is kind of a wad when we first meet him, and he stays that way through the whole episode. He *is* reconsidering his lifelong commitment to wadism by the end of the episode, but he clearly hasn’t changed his ways yet. They’re not quite allies, certainly not friends, and I liked that.

Soooooo AIM is meeting in The Hive Academy from the old Teen Titans cartoon?

No Gene in this episode.

We get a name check for S.H.I.E.L.D. in this episode.

Pepper seems to believe that the FBI, CIA, SHIELD, the NSA, and NASA can’t hope to take down AIM. What the….since when is NASA in any way a security agency? I realize this show is made by Canadians, but c’mon.

Dunno why, but the final showdown on the bridge reminded me a lot of the opening of the Alec Baldwin “The Shadow” movie.

Animation and shot composition were much better than usual in this episode. The POV shot of the AIM car evidently right side up with the bridge sideways through the windshield was beautiful, and Magnum clearly injured as he gets out of the wreck was a nice touch.

Vibranium…For Her!

Tony’s delivery was more solid than usual, and his lines and dry wit were much better done than average.

And that’s it. Anyone got any thoughts or impressions? Next week it looks like we finally meet Nick Fury.

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