7 things the MCU could learn from Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes

If you’re tired of waiting months between MCU movies then you should definitely check out Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes. The Disney animated TV show cleverly blended stories from classic Avengers comics, modern-day Marvel material, and elements taken directly from the MCU, to deliver the perfect comic book blend of action, humour, and character over the course of its 52 episode run. A must-see for any self-respecting Marvel fan, the series captures the Avengers so perfectly it could even teach the MCU a thing or two. Here's seven things the MCU could learn from Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes.

1. Make the Wasp a proper Avenger sooner rather than later

The Wasp (aka former socialite-turned-shrinking superhero Janet van Dyne) is the stand-out character in Avengers: EMH. Quick-thinking, courageous, warm-hearted, and very funny, she's actually an improvement over her comics counterpart, who always had a slightly vain side. She's also an exceptional female role model and a vital presence in the male-heavy team. 

Currently, it looks like the MCU version of the Wasp (Evangeline Lily's Hope van Dyne) won't be joining the Avengers until after Ant-Man sequel Ant-Man and The Wasp, but frankly, that's too long to wait, especially now that Ant-Man is a de facto part of the team after the events of Captain America: Civil War. Would it kill Marvel to have The Wasp join the Avengers in the opening scenes of the next Avengers movie? It would not. Plus, it's not as if the current MCU team couldn't use another female member.

2. Let Hawkeye develop more of a sense of humour

Come to that, let Hawkeye develop more of a personality generally, and maybe let him actually be called Hawkeye, as opposed to just “Clint” or “Barton”. So far in the Avengers movies, Clint has been allowed the occasional funny line, but he's a long way from the constant wise-cracker (some might say smartarse) he is in the comics. 

Avengers: EMH happily redresses that balance, allowing the archer to fire off quips as fast as he can shoot his arrows. Sample Hawkeye’s one-liner from season 1: “I'm not sure I want to be part of a team that requires me to save them every week”. And while we're on the subject, is Hawkeye's iconic purple costume really too much to ask for?

3. Give Hulk more lines

In terms of the way he looks and moves, the MCU version of the Hulk is undoubtedly the best big screen incarnation of the jade giant so far. So why have they only given him the bare minimum when it comes to dialogue? In Avengers: EMH, the Hulk has both an improved vocabulary and his own distinct sense of humour and the series is immeasurably better for it. 

He even gets to dish out some of his comic-ordained nicknames for his fellow Avengers, such as calling Hawkeye “Cupid” or referring to Thor as “Long Hair”. Also, in keeping with the previous point, there's a bit in one episode where Hawkeye makes Hulk laugh so hard he reverts to Bruce Banner. #HulkLOLs, etc.

4. Introduce a super-villain team

The MCU definitely know what they're doing when it comes to solo villains. Loki and Ultron made terrific on-screen adversaries in the movies and both characters are equally well served in Avengers: EMH (the Ultron mini-arc is properly brilliant). However, concentrating on single supervillains tends to make the final battle look rather one-sided when it's eight superheroes against one bad guy. The simple solution? Bring on a super-villain team to match the Avengers. 

There are plenty to choose from the comics, including the Masters of Evil, the Wrecking Crew, and the Serpent Society - all of which are packed with colourful characters like Enchantress, Crimson Dynamo, Thunderball, and Cottonmouth. And let's face it, watching the Avengers take down villains with equal superpowers (even if they are all snake-based) is a lot more fun than watching them fight generic aliens or robots.

5. Include guest appearances from the TV shows

One of the things that makes Avengers: EMH such a great show is their regular use of guest stars. Over the course of 52 episodes, pretty much anyone who's anyone in the Marvel Universe has made an appearance, including Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four, Wolverine, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Power Man, and Iron Fist. Even Mockingbird and Quake from Agents of SHIELD have put in an appearance! 

So far, MCU characters such as Nick Fury and Maria Hill have made brief appearances on SHIELD, but the movies don't seem in any hurry to return the favour. It would be nice to have at least some acknowledgement from the MCU that it is indeed all one big happy Marvel Universe, even if it's just a news story about Matt Murdock in the background of Avengers: Infinity War. Point of interest: Daredevil's actually one of the few big-name Marvel heroes not to have appeared in Avengers: EMH.

6. Bring on Kang the Conqueror

Blue-faced time-travelling warlord Kang the Conqueror is up there with Ultron as one of the all-time greatest Avengers villains in the comics. Avengers: EMH does the character justice in a terrific three-parter that begins when Kang arrives from the 41st century (in his time-travelling chair, no less) to destroy Captain America because his presence in the timeline will lead to an apocalypse. 

Details for the next two Avengers movies are still being kept tightly under wraps, but I'd be willing to bet some version of Kang will either feature heavily or be strongly hinted at in whatever they end up calling Avengers 4. It's a shame Alan Rickman won't be able to reprise his role though – he would have been perfect casting.

7. Follow-up Civil War with Secret Invasion

The heroes vs heroes fight at the airport was the undisputed highlight of Captain America: Civil War and pretty much a high point for the MCU in general. One easy way to see Avengers fighting Avengers again without it being repetitive would be to introduce the long-running Secret Invasion storyline, which saw half the heroes replaced by shape-shifting alien Skrulls. 

In the comics this plot was an eight-month crossover event, while the cartoon had Cap being replaced by a Skrull for several episodes before the invasion. Given the Skrulls' potential, it's somewhat surprising that they haven't yet appeared in the MCU, so let's hope they're being saved for Phase 4 or 5, ideally with a handful of great teases taking place in post-credits stings beforehand.


Matthew Turner is a freelance film journalist and lifelong Marvel Comics fan. His favourite film is Vertigo and he hasn't missed an episode of EastEnders since 1998.
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