Saturday, May 3, 2014

ANI-MOVIES, *Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher

Following up Iron Man: Rise Of Technovore from a year prior, Marvel Anime continues its line with this, their second full-length movie. Having already done four TV series that were slightly connected and taking place in their own version of the Marvel Universe, this time we switch gears to a team-up with two of the comics' regular solo-artists. Even though it says "Avengers" in the title, it mostly centers around The Punisher and Black Widow, Agent of SHIELD.

Punisher captures Cain, an arms dealer, but Black Widow and SHIELD appear to take Punisher in for getting in the way of their investigation of Cain's supplier, a terrorist organization known as Leviathan(no relation to the DC Comics group of the same name). Nick Fury makes a deal with Punisher for him to help SHIELD capture Leviathan by teaming up with Widow to track them down. The unlikely duo sneak into Leviathan's base where Widow is shocked to discover their whole operation is being supervised by Elihas Starr, a former SHIELD scientist who was presumed dead(and really Egghead in the comics), and only happened to be Widow's lover. Now, he's enhanced himself as well as an army of kidnapped spies into super-soldiers using DNA taken from various members of the Avengers. Elihas did this for Leviathan so that he would be worthy of being with Widow because the fact she was a super-spy and an Avenger can make a fella feel inadequate, although faking your own death and selling out to terrorists is a little extreme. Widow and Punisher barely make it out alive with a peace of Leviathan's tech used to brainwash spies, which Punisher was exposed to temporarily turning him into killing machine. SHIELD's resident techie, Amadeus Cho, manages to create some special shades that block out the hypno-rays. They then find out Leviathan is holding a special auction for their super-soldiers on Madripoor(which was the location for about half of the Wolverine anime series)for a bunch of supervillains. Widow and Punisher head out there first to sabotage their efforts, and then the rest of the Avengers show up, including: Iron-Man, Captain Marvel(formally Ms. Marvel), Thor, and War Machine, but still no Spider-Man! Widow runs into Eliahas and convinces him to turn against Leviathan, so they go to take on his boss, Orion. Elihas ends up being killed in the fight, but Punisher shows up to put a knife right in Orion's one eye. In the vein of Blade II, the movie ends with Punisher tracking down Cain for a final kill.

This was a pretty decent extension of the Marvel Universe, although not totally related to the comics or any of the live-action movies. It has some great direction by Kenichi Shimizu and the rest of the Madhouse crew, with exceptionally fine details to the characters and vibrant fight scenes. The only truly WTF? part of the whole thing is trying to imagine Black Widow and Egghead getting together(Eeeew)! You can see this movie on its own without having seen any of the other Marvel Anime stuff, although its a great successor to the series as a whole so far.

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