This week, the Avengers encounter yet another foe from outer space, as well as what Tony Stark so aptly describes as “the Space Avengers.”

We open on Central Park, as something comes hurtling from the sky and crashing into the middle of the Bethesda Fountain plaza. The ground sinks beneath the object, creating a large crater. Police approach the crater slowly and look down to see a naked blonde man sitting in the center. He has Kree markings cut into his back and looks very unsettled in general, and begs for someone to help him. When the police ask where he came from, he points up to the sky. “They’re coming for me!”

At the Avengers mansion, Jan is supposed to be on villain-watch (since the mansion’s seen a lot of abuse this season) but mostly she’s talking to Carol about her recent break-up with Hank. Carol listens patiently, before somberly replying “If he really cared, he would be here.” Jan sulks before being alerted by JARVIS of someone at the front door. She leaves and goes to the door, opens it only to see the police with the naked blonde man, now wrapped in a blanket. They show Jan the markings on his back and Jan asks them if they’ve contacted S.W.O.R.D. yet, since he claims to have been abducted by aliens. The man, confused and delirious, looks at Jan and thinks she’s someone named Corrina. The police ID him as someone named Michael Korvac and leave him with Jan.

Jan takes him to the elevator down towards the lab areas as he tries to explain what happened to him. Apparently, he was just a normal man who was abducted from his car by aliens and has been trying to escape them ever since. When Michael’s behavior becomes more desperate and erratic, Jan is forced to zap him into submission. The Avengers arrive later, and Jan explains their situation. She’s called Jane Foster in to examine him and says they’ve been able to piece a lot together from his semi-conscious ramblings. While the rest of the Avengers try to get a better handle on the situation, Jan heads off to find Corrina.

Hawkeye and Black Panther go to check out the crater in Central Park but are unable to figure out the energy source. Nearby, a whole band of some crazy lookin’ people materialize and watch. They are the Guardians of the Galaxy, and this version of the team seems to feature the following: Starlord, Quasar, Rocket Raccoon, Groot and Adam Warlock.

Back at the mansion, Tony’s pacing around the Hulk in the kitchen, trying to figure out Michael’s energy signature, not coming up with much. He looks over and awkwardly says “Sorry…I guess you have no idea what I’m talking about.” Hulk raises an eyebrow and deadpans “Its a kind of cosmic radiation.” The Avengers reassemble when Jan comes back with Corrina (except for Cap who is apparently visiting army buddies, but we all know he’s doing evil skrull stuff.) Michael wakes up and reunites with Corrina, who says he’s been gone for two years. But before they can go any further, the Guardians materialize in the middle of the room and demands that Michael Korvac be turned over to them. The Avengers refuse, thinking that they are responsible for his captivity. A fight breaks out as fights are wont to do. The heroes begin pairing off: Hulk takes on Groot, Iron Man takes on Quasar, Black Panther takes on Adam Warlock and Hawkeye takes on Starlord.

The results are mixed. Warlock quickly gets inside T’Challa’s mind, making him easier to fight. Hulk thinks he’s got Groot beat only to have to contend with a raccoon with a cockney accent and two giant pistols. Iron Man manages to take out Quasar. But most interestingly, Hawkeye and Starlord (aka Peter Quill) come to an impasse when Starlord tells him that they have no idea who Michael Korvac really is.

The Avengers reconvene once the fight is over and the Guardians insist that Korvac be apprehended. They say that he’s killed thousand of sentient beings throughout the galaxy and would kill them if he got the chance. Meanwhile, Carol’s come down as the S.W.O.R.D. liason to check in on everything. When threatened, Michael begins to glow with energy, acting more than a bit maniacal. He uses a blast of energy to incapacitate everyone in the room, including Corrina. Carol is the only one left and a fight ensues between them.

While everyone’s passed out on the floor, Adam Warlock uses his powers to create a sort of telekenetic group conference, where the Guardians give the Avengers the low-down on Michael Korvac. Most of his story is true: he really was just a normal guy who was abducted by aliens. But he was used by the Kree as a lab rat and gave him unstable powers that caused him to go insane and wipe out an entire space station full of sentient life. Apparently the Guardians have been trying to track him down for months; i.e. they’re the good guys. “The Space Avengers” Tony so tactfully calls them.

Korvac and Carol fight in Central Park and Korvac is able to sense that she’s Kree, and thus, is definitely the enemy. The Avengers and Guardians come to her aid and try to get him to surrender, but Korvac has gone completely mental, the energy around him is giving him serious Goku hair. He refuses to stop and begins taking out members from each team with his powers. Corrina steps out from behind a tree and tearfully begs him to stop. Korvac tells her that the heroes are monsters who are trying to send him back to the Kree so they can hurt him. “You’re the only monster I see here, Michael.” she admits.  He steps back in shock and his power levels surge. He seems to self-destruct and disappears entirely. Apparently his shame and love for Corrina made him return to space, rather than destroying them all. The Guardians and the Avengers recoup and Tony asks about what other threats they should expect from beyond the stars. Starlord looks at him and replies “There are things in the universe you’re better off not knowing about.” Out in the distant reaches of space, Korvac sits, entirely made of energy, silent and mournful.

There seems to be a theme going on this season of EMH and that theme seems to be: Bring in properties Caleigh knows next to nothing about. Yes, admittedly, before this I’d never even touched Marvel’s cosmic characters and my notes sound something like this: “So that raccoon has a gun?!” But this being my first ever exposure to the Guardians and Michael Korvac, I liked what I saw, and could imagine other kids would too. If that’s the show’s plan, to get kids interested in their more esoteric characters, the ones beyond Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, etc, I’d say they’re doing pretty well. Of course, I wonder if any of these characters are gonna show up for the big Skrull-Kree showdown (which apparently is going to come to a head next week? WE CAN ONLY PRAY.) I like the continuing theme of: space is not messing around with Earth anymore, especially with all these damn supers running around.

My only complaint? I’m beginning to miss the team, the actual subjects of this show, and the way they rub off on each other. They’re pretty fractured these days: Thor and Hank are gone for now, Cap’s a skrull, and the rest of them seem to be facing bigger and bigger threats each week. I want to know how these fights and encounters affect each other personally, not just “well that was a big fight, nice work guys.” Assumedly, the Skrull infiltration is going to be pretty upsetting and I’m guessing that the Avengers are going to have to call in all the people they’ve met over the season to help resolve it (the Fantastic Four, War Machine, the Heroes for Hire, the Guardians, Scott Lang as Ant-Man, etc.) which will be BOSS, but I’d like a little spare focus on, say, the criminally neglected Hawkeye or Black Panther, or Hulk, who used to be one of the show’s most compelling characters. (Loved Hulk knowing exactly what the energy signature was. Bruce Banner must still be in there somewhere- is he ever going to show up again? Hulk seems to be able to keep him reigned in pretty tightly.) I’m pretty ready for some of these threads to start coming together. But this episode was pretty solid, good voice acting, fun fights, and a nice introduction to some new (at least for me) characters.

Also worth noting, this episode was dedicated to Boyd Kirkland, one of the shows’s directors who died in January 2011. “In memory of Boyd Kirkland: Father, Friend, Director, Avenger.”

If you missed the previous episode be sure to read our ‘Avengers – Earh’s Mightiest Heroes: To Steal An Ant Man’ recap to catch up.