This week, Captain America copes with a world that no longer trusts him in the aftermath of the Skrull invasion, and teams up with none other than your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man.
Captain America and Iron man stand near the Statue of Liberty with a couple of police officers, inspecting the memorial statue for Cap and Bucky. Apparently it’s been damaged. “It got hit in the Skrull Invasion?” Tony asks. The cop shakes his head. “No. We got the call about an hour ago. Everyday people did this.” Cap looks at the statue to see that his head has been ripped off and thrown to the ground. He looks out at the city and knows this can’t be good.
Inside the offices of the Daily Bugle, Tony is raising some hell, and who else but J. Jonah Jameson is raising it right back. Apparently Jameson has been smearing Cap’s name in the papers for a week, despite being pardoned by pretty much everyone, including the president. But everyone else seems to be having a hard time believing this whole “shape-shifting alien” thing. Of course, Jameson’s got it out for all superheroes, The Avengers, The Fantastic Four, and of course, Spider-Man. “You think you’re above the law? You’re not. And if you want to clear Captain America’s name, you have to do it like everyone else.” Jameson pulls out Betty Brant and tells her that she has to interview Cap today or else tomorrow’s headline will be something along the lines of “Captain America: Benedict Arnold.” When he tries to get a photographer, he finds everyone else is on assignment, covering the alien invasion. The only one left is one Peter Parker, who sheepishly tells Tony that he mostly works on the paper’s website.
At the docks, SHIELD has set up headquarters since the destruction of the helicarrier and Peter, Betty and Clint stand around while angry mobs floor the fences with Anti-Cap signs and protests. Cap is overseeing the transport of some supervillains back to the Baxter Building. “Where did you get this kid, he’s like ten!” Clint says to Betty, to whom Peter responds. “I’m 17!” “Respect your elders, punk.” Apparently Cap is escorting Viper and the Cobra 28 blocks through downtown, and is forced to take Peter and Betty with him, or else no deal with Jameson. SHIELD Agent Quartermain is at the head of the motorcade and Hawkeye is flying overtop, keeping an eye on things. Betty asks Cap what he wants to say about his involvement, alleged or not, with telling the Earth to surrender to the Skrulls, and all Cap says is “I take full responsibility.” Betty and Peter are stunned. “Would you care to say anything else?” she asks. “Not really.” Peter pokes his head in. “Please?”
Before Cap can say anything else, the motorcade is blasted in half by members of the Serpent Society. Cap tells Betty and Peter to get out of there when their vehicle is attacked, but Peter has gone missing. On the rooftops above, Peter leaps from building to building. Quartermain tries to push forward with the prison transport, but his vehicle is disabled and Viper and Cobra are given a window of escape. Cap tries to fend them off on his own but is captured. But before they can take him out all together, they’re stopped by Spider-Man, who tries to say something before being cut-off. “What were you saying, kid?” Cap asks as they are surrounded. “You know, I’m here to save you.” Before they can do anything heroic, the transport vehicle sinks into the pavement into the tunnels below, taking Cap and Spidey with it.
The transport vehicle crashes through a subway station, completely destroying one of the train cars. Hawkeye looks on in horror. Cap pulls Spider-Man from the rubble. “We’ve never met before, but I-” Cap stops him. “I know who you are, Spider-Man.” (Peter, by the way, is voiced by Ultimate Spider-Man’s Drake Bell and it’s weird to see him so subdued here. But a nice change of pace.) Cap finds Agent Quartermain trapped and injured inside the transport and tells Spider-Man to help him while he grabs Viper and Cobra. Peter webs off the door and takes a manly stance. “I’m Spider-Man.” he says in a deep, ridiculous voice. “What’s wrong with your voice?” Quartermain asks, unimpressed. Peter just sighs. Cap is able to secure Cobra and Viper, but a lot of civilains were trapped by the collapse. Peter and Cap try to help, but everyone seems pretty resistant, especially with the whole Skrull-Cap debacle. “Hey! He’s trying to help you!” Peter argues but Cap just calmly tells him to let it go. SHIELD’s radios aren’t working and neither are the Avengers ID cards, so they’re on their own in trying to fix this situation. They have to walk down the subway flood tunnels. Viper thinks that the people’s lack of trust in Cap is pretty amusing.
Peter starts to sense that there might be trouble and goes back to tell Cap about it, handing off his spider-light to one of the civilians. He asks Cap why he doesn’t stand up for himself. He knows what it’s like to get bad press and he’s not fond of it. But Cap already knows more about Spider-Man than he’s let on. He knows that Peter has worked hard helping cops, firefighters, and civilians, and never asks for thanks or recognition. He says that the words of politicians and newspapers will never define him. Defining yourself is something only you can do. “The truth will come out. But until then, I’m going to keep fighting. Just like you do.” he says to Peter with a smile. “Can I be your sidekick?” Cap walks further down the tunnel and is saved by Peter from an explosion. The Serpent Society have arrived. Viper smiles. “It’s over Captain. You will release me now, or every single person in this tunnel will suffer the consequences.”
Viper gives Cap a choice: her freedom or the lives of the civilians. It looks like Cap is about to grant her wish, but instead, he attacks, with Spider-Man’s help. Quartermain leads the civilians to safety while Cap and Spidey do battle against the Serpent Society (I tried looking them up, there are a lot of them so I won’t name names.) Quartermain tries to get everyone out of there, but they’re menaced by, basically, a really big snake. Spider-Man comes to their rescue and disables the villain’s cybernetic arms. The tunnel begins to collapse and Spider-Man tries his best to keep it from killing everyone as well as evading the Serpent Society. “You want these people?” Cap says to the team of snakes. “You have to go through me.” But there’s too many of them, even for Cap, and it looks like he might be done for. At the last second, the Serpents are pelted with rocks, as the civilians try to rescue him. He’s able to get free and take them out with his very dentable classic not-vibranium shield. Peter is still struggling to hold the tunnel up. “I can’t keep it up, it’s too heavy.” “Yes you can. You’ve never given up before and you’re not going to start now.” Peter keeps holding up the tunnel with his last inch of strength when the roof over the tunnel is lifted by Iron Man and Thor. “Sorry we’re late, the tunnel collapse made it impossble to find you.” Tony says. Peter shrugs, exhausted.”That’s cool, I’m just gonna hang over-” he mumbles before collapsing to the floor.
Today’s headline? “Captain America saves New York from Spider-Man and the Serpent Society.” “Are you kidding me?!” Peter moans as Cap tries to make it better. “The truth will come out. The people you saved will know the truth.” It looks like Peter can take that for now. “All that matters is what I do, right? I think what I’m gonna do is web J. Jonah Jameson’s mouth shut.” Cap grins. “I’m okay with that.”
Man, what a Spidey-packed evening! I thought it was clever to devote an episode to Cap’s bad press, because usually that kind of stuff just gets swept under the rug and forgotten. And, of course, any visitations with the Daily Bugle staff are more than welcome. (Any chance we might see my favorite reporter Ben Urich soon? Maybe?) Of course,we got the usual awesome J.K. Simmons cameo as J. Jonah Jameson (aka the best casting in the history of superhero movies MAYBE with the exception of RDJ as Tony Stark.) The Captain America/Spider-Man team-up is one of the best in recent Marvel Comics history and I liked to see it emerge here. of course, with every cool plot line EMH keeps unveiling , I weep because there will likely be no continuation with the emergence of “Avengers Assemble.” I hate to beat a dead horse but I’m going to miss this universe. I’m fond of its intricacy. I think it’s the kind of hero show kids deserve- action-packed but also treats them with respect.
As for the episode itself? I’m not that hot on the Serpent Society and I’m kind of sad all that interesting tension between Cap and Viper all but dissipated, but if that meant those snake dudes getting more screentime, I’m willing to let it go. And although I usually find Cap’s speeches about honor and stuff a little long-winded, this one was great, spot-on for his relationship with Spider-Man and Spider-Man’s relationship to the city. I hope we see the Webhead again soon.
Okay but seriously, bone to pick- what happened to the Hulk? Are they gonna go get him or something? Or explain why they can’t? A huge part of Skrull-Cap being evil and untrustworthy was selling out the Hulk to someone he knew would do him harm and, just…seriously, they need to go rescue the Hulk. Because not only are they missing one of their teammates, there’s also the business to settle with Red Hulk, the Winter Soldier, and Falcon. Get on it, EMH!
Oh also, check out this little easter egg from the Daily Bugle scene:
Maybe Spider-Man saved Gwen Stacy in this universe after all.
If you missed the previous episode be sure to read our ‘Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes: Secret Invasion’ recap to catch up.