This week, the Avengers come face to face with a terrifying biological attack.

Before we start, in case you don’t remember, there’s a shady team of heroes-turned-villains that’s been floating around, under the command of some mysterious politician named Dell Rusk. This team is: Falcon, Doc Samson, The Winter Soldier (aka, spoiler alert, Bucky Barnes), and the Red Hulk (who is not a good guy). They were responsible for things like getting the Hulk out of the picture, and so on.

Cap and Tony are doing a little casual training at the Avengers mansion, and Tony starts to talk to Cap about being the permanent leader of the Avengers, which, I mean, it makes sense because that’s basically what Cap has already been doing since the end of the Skrull Invasion. (Seriously, you can almost say this show’s gone Cap-centric with him leading the charge in most of these episodes.) Meanwhile, Tony is glowering about some bad press from Senator Dell Rusk, who calls the Avengers a public menace, and considering that they’ve been having a tough time with PR, they’re not happy about it.Suddenly, there’s an explosion from somewhere underneath the mansion and the rooms fill with a red mist. Tony closes the face mask on the suit before it can reach him, but Cap is engulfed. Tony tries to shut down the mansion but the gas is already in the street. Cap collapses to the floor and his face turns dark red, his skin retracting to show his teeth and veins and his eyes turning black. In the street, other people are getting sick and falling over, everyone turning into a red-skinned wraith. (It’s actually pretty disturbing for a kid’s show.)

Tony gets Cap to the infirmary where he and Black Panther start to work on a possible antidote for the biological agent, when other people in the mansion start getting sick too, like Wasp. The disease is a complete mystery to them, but Cap takes one look at his appearance and seems to know. “Not like this. Not like him.” Meanwhile, Dell Rusk tells Tony that the Avengers are shut down as of  further notice, despite the fact that they’re the only ones who can get the cure to the public. Tony sends Thor to get rid of the biological agent by using Mjolnir to take it out of the air and into space. Rusk sends his team into the mansion to take out the remaining Avengers, who are already suffering from the debilitating attack. Doc Samson goes after Carol, while Falcon has a brief fight with Hawkeye. (These two had a brief rumble in the first appearance of the Red Hulk). Black Panther succumbs to the disease before he and Tony can finish it, forcing Tony to work alone. Hawkeye manages to tell Tony that he found a detonated bioweapon in the mansion that he remembers seeing while he worked for SHIELD. It’s from the department of defense.

While Tony is working on the antidote, the Winter Soldier comes in and kidnaps Cap, taking him to Washington DC to face Rusk. Since the attack is being blamed on the Avengers, Rusk is keen on getting rid of them altogether. Suddenly, Cap gets up and rips Rusk’s face off, revealing underneath, the Red Skull. (Dell Rusk- Red Skull, get it?) Red Skull turns Cap over to Winter Soldier, expecting him to kill Cap, but at the last second, Tony turns up with a vaccine version of the antidote and turns it over. Instead of killing him, Bucky seems to shake some of his brainwashing for a second and cures Cap. Cap takes Red Skull out, punching him on the lawn of the Capitol building. “Wow. Nice photo-op.” Tony says. The Avengers, all cured and no longer turning into horrific red skeleton people, regroup at the end of the day. Falcon and Doc Samson were (obviously) brainwashed, while the Winter Soldier is still on the loose as well as the “red beast”, which Thor briefly fought. Really? Thor didn’t find any similarities between the Red Hulk and his green counterpart? Well, next week’s episode is titled “Winter Soldier” so you can bet this story is about to come to a head.

Stray thoughts:

  • this episode is based loosely on the Avengers comic story arc “Red Zone” about a biological attack that kills thousands of people in South Dakota. I was kind of disappointed that they left out the whole “Tony sacrifices himself to revive Cap” plotline, especially the line “Sorry Tony, but Captain America is more important than you.”
  • Hawkeye takes out Falcon with a sonic arrow. “Birds can’t stand ’em.”
  • Some nice “We’ll never know” lampshading- Hawkeye: “How did a dead Nazi become Secretary of Defense?”

Did you miss an episode? Check out our recap of last week’s ‘Emperor Stark‘.