|This article is written from the Real World perspective|
|The Avengers: United They Stand (TV Series)|
|Beginning date||October 30, 1999|
|End date||February 26, 2000|
|Number of Episodes||13|
|Previous Series||Spider-Man Unlimited|
|Next Series||X-Men: Evolution|
The Avengers: United They Stand, often shortened to just The Avengers, is the animated television series featuring The Avengers team. It is the eighth and final series in the Marvel Animated Universe.
It was the first series featuring the Avengers, the next being The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes. Though individual Avengers have had their own shows with The Marvel Super Heroes, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, and The Incredible Hulk while the team has been guest stars on several others.
The series was created during the backdrop of Marvel Comics financial problems during the late 1990s. The show is often considered the worst Marvel animated series ever created.
Rolad Poindexter approached Robert N. Kir and Marty Isenberg, both of X-Men fame, in 1997 about creating an Avengers cartoon. They detailed a thirteen-episode story arc, then decided that Captain America should have his own series.
However, before Fox Broadcasting Company could greenlight the series, Marvel Entertainment went bankrupt. When the company resolved its problems Poindexter revived the Avengers series and approached Eric Lewald and Julia Lewald. The series was greenlit and Ron Myrick was hired to oversee the series visual development.
Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor were prohibited from appearing due to licensing issues. Eric Lewald stated that they did not want any of these characters overshadowing the others and the series becoming "Captain America and the Avengers" or "Thor and the Avengers". Ironically, this was one of the criticisms directed at Wolverine and the X-Men.
Scarlet Witch had a relationship with Wonder Man because of a storyline going on in the comics at the time. She usually was involved with Vision, and even married him, but was at the time separated.
The styles of this series and Spider-Man Unlimited were inspired by Batman Beyond, which itself was inspired by Marvel 2099. This was why the series was changed to some unknown point in the future. Emory Myrick claimed it was "about twenty-five years in the future."
The infamous armor designs were to "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." Each armor was given an Avengers' style "A" to emulate the combadge from Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Due to a combination of low ratings and Marvel's financial problems, this series and Spider-Man Unlimited were cancelled after only thirteen episodes each. It would not be until 2011 that the Avengers got their own series again with The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, featuring a more traditional team.
Like Silver Surfer, there were a number of proposed stories for the second season that never came to happen. Some include:
- Hawkeye's return to the carnival where he grew up.
- A flashback of how Scarlet Witch discovered her powers.
- Appearances by the X-Men featuring actors from the X-Men series, many of whom voiced for the show.
- When Ant-Man got stick from Gamma Radiation during a battle with Egghead they could call upon Bruce Banner.
- A two-part episode with Thor and Loki.
Hank Pym leads the Avengers, a collection of Earth's mightiest heroes consisting of Wasp, Hawkeye, Wonder Man, Scarlet Witch, Tigra, and Falcon. The machine Vision, their first adversary gravely injures Wonder Man but is reprogrammed to be part of the team. The team then has to fight Vision's creator Ultron. They continue to fight villains such as Kang, Hawkeye's former mentor Swordsman, the Masters of Evil, Attuma, Zodiac, Egghead, Salem's Seven, and Grim Reaper.
The team comes across Ultron several times, with the mechanical villain becoming stronger and more powerful each time. Along the way they team up with legendary former Avengers Captain America, Iron Man, and Namor.
The series primarily used characters from the West Coast Avengers, which in the comics led to the formation of Force Works. Heroes included the leader Ant-Man, Falcon, the Vision, the Wasp, Wonder Man, Tigra, Hawkeye, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch. Both Hawkeye and Scarlett Witch previously appeared as regular characters on Iron Man.
Other characters that appeared were Ultron, Kang, Egghead, the Masters of Evil, the Grim Reaper, the Zodiac, the Swordsman, the Circus of Crime, Namor, Attuma, Agatha Harkness and the Salem's Seven. In the first episode Beast, Black Panther, Hulk, Namor, Quicksilver, and two unknown heroes were seen in portraits.
Despite appearing in promotional images and in the title sequence, the Avengers' "Big Three" consisting of Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor were not featured. Captain America and Iron Man made guest appearances. Thor was reportedly set up to appear in the proposed second season, along with his step-brother Loki who in the comics forced the creation of the team.
The series takes place within the Marvel Animated Universe along with X-Men, Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, Silver Surfer, and Spider-Man Unlimited. Since each series was created by different producers, an exact timeline is difficult to outline.
It would take place after Spider-Man since Captain America was trapped in Red Skull's doomsday weapon. The series features the origin of Vision, who previously appeared with the Avengers in Fantastic Four's "To Battle the Living Planet" along with Wasp, Iron Man, and Captain America meaning that the two rejoined the team and that series takes place afterwards. Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, and Iron Man were previously part of Force Works on Iron Man, which took place before.
The series was heavily criticized by fans and critics, often ranking it among the worst, if not the worst, of all animated series based on Marvel Comics.
Critics felt that characters were not developed enough and were uninteresting. Many were confused by the lack of the "Big Three" when they had previously appeared in various series. The emphasis on relatively minor characters was disliked, as well as drastically altering notable figures. They also felt that Ultron lacked sufficient motivation for going after its creator.
It was criticized for its apparent emphasis on selling toys, a point of contention between John Semper, Jr. and Avi Arad during the making of Spider-Man. Many critics felt it was simply an excuse to sell toys, whereas Semper argued that a good show could sell toys regardless.
The series currently has a 5.4 on the Internet Movie Database though a 7.3 Good on TV.com.
The first two issues take place before the series and explain the use of armor in the series. It was revealed that Hawkeye got his legs broken by Dragon Man and used Pym Particles to reduce the pain. The third issue explained how Wonder Man and Hawkeye joined.
The comic featured a number of characters that did not appear in the series, and some who had never appeared in any Marvel Animated Universe series. Black Panther, Quicksilver, Black Widow, Baron Strucker, HYDRA, Black Night, Doctor Doom, A.I.M., and the Collector make appearances.
The show was heavily criticized for it's complimentary toy line. The Avengers' costume were redesigned so that every character had "battle armor." There were battle armors for every occasion such as suits designed for jungle, ultra-armor, undersea, and space. In addition each character had their own personalized armor instead of being generic enough for everyone. There were also a number of battle armors sold in stores that did not appear on the show. In addition, the main villain Ultron would change designs quite often. All this seemed to suggest that the producers wanted to sell many different action figures.
Thor did have his own action figure for his proposed appearance.
There have been no Region 1 release, nor does there appear to be plans for any.
All thirteen episodes are available to stream on Marvel's website.