"The Avengers Protocol, Part 1" is the 1st episode of the first season of Avengers Assemble, and the 1st of the overall series. It debuted online on May 20, 2013. It later aired on Disney XD, on May 26, 2013, in the one-hour television pilot of the series in general, followed immediately by "The Avengers Protocol, Part 2".
After having been disbanded, the Avengers reunite when Red Skull (who is dying from the imperfectness of his Super Soldier Serum) and MODOK kidnap Captain America. The heroes must come together to rescue Captain America before Red Skull can transfer his mind into Captain America's body.
It's the afternoon in New York City. Inside Stark Tower, Tony Stark recently arose from an afternoon nap and is now sitting alone in a chamber with monitor perches all around him. Stark monitors his former Avengers comrades through multiple holographic computers as they each duke it out with different enemies in battles of their own. Stark monologues about his thirst for action; eagerly anticipating the moment when one of his former teammates will need backup.
Stark's moment is interrupted, when J.A.R.V.I.S. locates Red Skull and his HYDRA operation alive, but slowly dying since his Super Soldier injection in the days of World War II. Tony Stark suits up, and flies to the Red Skull's location to assist Captain America in bringing the terrorist to justice. Iron Man arrives too late, only to witness Captain America getting vaporized by the Red Skull's laser cannons. Vengeful by the loss of his friend, Iron Man attempted to put an end to Red Skull's threat once and for all, before being interrupted by M.O.D.O.K., who teleported to their location. Weakened and defeated, Iron Man watched as Red Skull and M.O.D.O.K. escaped with Captain America's shield. Following their escape, Iron Man stood over the ashes of his lost comrade in despair.
In response to Captain America's "death", Iron Man sent several holo-spheres to the retired Avengers and the new recruit Falcon. Hawkeye, Thor, and the Hulk arrived at Avengers Mansion, informed by Iron Man of Captain America's untimely demise, and the activation of the Avengers Protocol.
Meanwhile at the HYDRA Headquarters, Red Skull observes Captain America's shield, notifying that he "outlived" his old enemy, before being alerted of the Avengers approaching the facility. The Avengers fight off against HYDRA's forces, with the help of Black Widow, and forced their way into the Red Skull's hideout to find Captain America alive. Coming to his aid, Iron Man quickly discovered Red Skull had swapped minds with Captain America, but Iron Man is soon overwhelmed by the super-villain. Captain America, in the Red Skull's body, rescues Iron Man, before soon being knocked down by Red Skull. Iron Man uses his unibeam against M.O.D.O.K.s telekinetic ability to send an electromagnetic pulse, powering down all systems and weaponry in the facility, including his armor. This served as a distraction for Falcon to enter the building with ease, and take down the Red Skull, before returning him and Captain America to their formal bodies. Before the Avengers could celebrate their victory, Red Skull awakens M.O.D.O.K., who forcefully steals Iron Man's armor and arc reactor, reattaching it to Red Skull. The two villains teleport away victorious, as the Avengers find Tony Stark passing out from his wounds.
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- Hulk: What happened?
- Iron Man: M.O.D.O.K. Microbots. Mind control. Me. Mend. Miracle. If you want to smash someone, M.O.D.O.K.'s right behind you.
- This story continues with the next episode.
- The team line-up in the Avengers Assemble cartoon mimics the 2012 live-action feature film's assembly with the addition of the Falcon, fueling rumors that Falcon would appear in the sequel to Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
- Early promotional art had Hawkeye donning his red outfit from The Ultimates and the movie. In the final show, his outfit is purple rather than red, making it resemble his current comicbook look. It also shows Hulk wearing purple pants instead of black.
- Iron Man queries how "Captain America" knew the rest of the Avengers were present at the Arctic base, though mere seconds earlier he stated "This leadership thing is way harder than I thought," implying that he was with the other Avengers.
- Right after Iron Man launches his missile salvo at the HYDRA soldiers, JARVIS informs him that there is a bench in the armor, though from what? Iron Man isn't hit until a few second later, when the Red Skull hit him with Captain America's shield.
- When Thor and the other Avengers are being briefed by Iron Man, he has nothing in his hands. Though, when Iron Man shows the team the recording of Cap's demise, he has his helmet under his left arm.
- Hawkeye's quiver varies from his right to left shoulder throughout the episode.
- Iron Man's faceplate stretches to make his eyes squint, something a solid piece of metal could not do.
- This episode draws several parallels with the Captain America and Red Skull body swap storyline from issues #115-119 (July 1969 - Nov. 1969) in the series cover-billed Captain America.
- The story involved Red Skull using the Cosmic Cube to switch bodies with his nemesis, in an scheme to kill Captain America by proxy. The two switch bodies here, though only because the Skull wants to preserve his life;
- Captain America, in Red Skull's body, is teleported to Exile Island. The Captain is teleported also in this episode to an uncharted location;
- Falcon makes his comic book debut in issue #117, Falcon makes his superhero debut here also.
- This episode was dedicated to Paul Mingyu Sang, who died in late 2012.
- In the section of the Avengers Mansion where the statue memorial stands, there are at least eight statues, not including Captain America's. It is never said who they belong to and it can be interpreted that they are for fallen Avengers. This theory is vaguely supported when Iron Man says, "the Avengers are reassembling. Hand picked by me, under my command," implying that there could have been more Avengers in the past.
- This episode was available for free download on iTunes on May 20, 2013.
- As part of Marvel: Share Your Universe campaign, this episode and an episode of Ultimate Spider-Man were available for free download via Xbox Video on Xbox 360 and Windows 8 for one week.
- The design of the hovercar, with the rotating wheels providing propulsion, is the same from the 1989 film Back to the Future Part II.
- ↑ Download Marvel's Avengers Assemble FREE on iTunes. Marvel.com (May 20, 2012). Retrieved on May 20, 2013.