Late-Arrival Spoiler: The bonus interviews on the DVDs containing the first half of season one consist of interviews revealing events from the second season. In the process, the interviewees also spoil events from season one episodes not included on those DVDs, such as Carol Danvers getting superpowers.
That event also becomes spoiled in the trailer included on the Thor Blu-Ray, which contained several scenes of Ms. Marvel fighting alongside the Avengers.
A group shot in the trailer for the second season revealed that Hank Pym left the team at the end of season one.
Left Hanging: The showrunners did the best they could with the time they had left to wrap up as many arcs as they could, but the fact remains that at the end of the series that the Surtur Arc was left unfinished.
Leitmotif: Black Panther has one, for when he's seen skulking about.
Captain America has a heroic and patriotic sounding one whenever he does something awesome.
Black Widow and Wasp each have one as well.
Legacy Character: Scott Lang becomes the new Ant-Man after Pym abandons the identity. Hank later returns under the new identity of Yellowjacket.
Locking MacGyver in the Store Cupboard: Or in this case, trapping Tony Stark on a world inhabited by dwarves. They're your typical Norse-derived dwarves with all kinds of equipment for forging weapons and armor.
Defendable in that as far as the episode shows, the villains didn't intend to trap the heroes on other worlds (rather, it happened because of the Avengers attempts to interfere). That Stark ended up on Nidavellir wasn't the Masters of Evil's fault.
Lower Deck Episode: "To Steal an Ant-Man" doesn't feature any of the Avengers except for Wasp, who only gets about three minutes of screentime, and Hank Pym, who had quit the team by this point anyway. While Hank does get some more Character Development, the episode sometimes seems to skew the focus more on Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and/or Ant-Man II (who made their first appearances here).
"New Avengers" provides an even straighter example of this.
Looks Like Orlok: A horror movie watched by The Wasp features a very Orlokian looking vampire.
Luxury Prison Suite: While it appears every inmate at the Big House is afforded at least one small item to keep them occupied, the Grey Gargoyle's cell has a vanity mirror, a tea set, and wallpaper!
Magic Pants: Done obviously with the Hulk, however in the Gamma World episode when Wasp turns into a literal wasp, her outfit is torn and shredded, but the fabric covering her lady parts are still intact.
After Hulk changes back into Bruce Banner he has to adjust his pants because they no longer fit him.
Hulk re-enters the atmosphere after Ultron blasts him into space, and his pants survive.
Subverted in season 2 when Iron Man gives him some new stretchy pants, but Hulk eventually switches them back for his old pants.
MacGuffin Melee: The episode "Hail Hydra" had this between The Avengers, Hydra, AIM, and SHIELD for the Cosmic Cube.
Magic Versus Science: Tony and Thor butt heads a lot with neither being able to completely understand the side the other has. They do eventually develop a mutal respect for the other's abilities, to the point Thor starts to feel comfortable around and using technology. Likewise, Tony winds up working with dwarves to build a magical suit of armor at one point.
Male Gaze: From Maria Hill to Black Widow, there is no shortage of shots of the female characters walking from behind and usually with a belt positioned to highlight the motion of their hips.
The way they came up with the name "The Avengers" is basically the same one from Avengers # 1.
Tony uses the Mark VII armor in the show, with the previous armor to appear in the film series at that point being the Mark VI.
The new suit of armor Tony briefly wears at the start of Season 2 is the original horned suit he wore back during the Silver Age.
When Tony's armor is out of power and Wasp offers to help, he asks if she has an electrical socket handy. When Iron Man first appeared in comics this is exactly how he kept his chestplate charged. He also mentions batteries, which were another way to recharge his energy reserves at the time.
The Big House itself is based on a memorable She-Hulk arc; Whirlwind even has a cell next to the Mad Thinker just like Southpaw.
Black Widow has Champion-class SHIELD security clearance. In the comics, she was a member of the short lived team known as the Champions.
Considering Cap has "Champion license"—i.e. license to gather whatever team he sees fit for whatever team he sees fit—in New Avengers, this might be a reference to that as well.
Cop shorthand for a supervillain attack is "Code Blue." Code Blue was the name of a special unit of the NYPD geared specifically to deal with supervillains in the comics.
At the start of the series, Hawkeye is framed for a crime he didn't commit and is attacked by Iron Man during the big prison breakout, and subsequently ends up pursued by the Avengers as a fugitive in a later episode. This references the fact that in the comics, Hawkeye started off as an Iron Man villain before reforming and joining the team.
Flashbacks in "Living Legend" show Baron Zemo sporting his original Silver Age design.
A similar paper in "Masters of Evil" references Xavier's School ("SECRET SCHOOL FOR MUTANTS?") and a resident of the Baxter Building claiming he had been replaced by aliens.
In the first part of "Gamma World", a female SHIELD agent mutates into a a harpy-like monster after being exposed to gamma radiation. Something very similar happened to Betty Banner in the Hulk comics.
One of her male cohorts mutates into a Hulk-like creature with grayish skin and long hair, thus looking exactly like Skaar, Hulk's son in the comics.
Hawkeye and Black Widow working as part of a SHIELD black-ops team ( as well as Black Widow's subsequent betrayal) seems to be an homage to Mark Millar's The Ultimates series. This also syncs up nicely with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, where Hawkeye and Widow are both introduced as SHIELD operatives (rather than the original comics, where they were reformed supervillains).
In "Everything Is Wonderful", Wonder Man is somewhat redesigned from his comic book counterpart so that he is now always living mass of ionic energy, whereas in the comics he can change back and forth at will. However, his original comic book costume briefly appears as a safety suit that Simon Williams wears during the procedure that turns him into Wonder Man.
At the start of "The Kang Dynasty" one of Kang's mooks is watching a screen that shows a building that is almost certainly Xavier's school.
Gamma World resembles the plot of a What If comic where the accident that created the Hulk didn't occur and Gamma bombs were used on Nagasaki and Hiroshima creating a veritable army of gamma critters ranging from the beastial types up to the highly intelligent ones.
The Gamma Dome was also used in the comics by the Leader in the Warbound mini. The heroes becoming Gamma mutants is a reference to Fall of The Hulks.
In "Widow's Sting", Madame Hydra mentions an arrangement with a man called Gorgon in Japan. The Gorgon is one of Wolverine's deadliest enemies in the comics, and has strong ties to HYDRA through the Hand. Count Nefaria (a longtime Avengers foe), the Maggia (enemies of Iron Man), the Yashida clan (the Japanese family Wolverine's lover Mariko and the X-Man/Avenger Sunfire both belong to) and Aleksander Lukin (the mastermind behind the Winter Soldier plot in the comics) are also mentioned. In the same episode, the Grim Reaper reports to Strucker that he's made a deal with "the fat man" - The Kingpin.
The command code Baron Strucker uses to initiate HYDRA Island's self-destruct mechanism is "Fenris". In the comics, Strucker is the father of a pair of mutant twins who are collectively known as Fenris.
During Hawkeye's duel with Black Widow, his quiver of trick arrows catches on fire, causing it to explode. This is actually how he died in Avengers Disassembled, though this time he has the good sense to toss the quiver away seconds before it blows up.
In "Hail HYDRA!", Hawkeye helps take down the villain by firing an arrow that has Ant-Man as a passenger. This references a famous Avengers issue where Hawkeye did the same thing, albeit with the Scott Lang version of Ant-Man rather than Hank Pym.
In "Come The Conqueror," Black Panther notes that Kang's weapons are designed with a vaguely Egyptian aesthetic. In the comics, another time-travelling version of Kang went back in time to Ancient Egypt and attempted to conquer it, becoming a foe of the Fantastic Four.
When Kang meets alternate version of himself in "New Avengers", one has something that looks like the Egyptian false beard, hinting at Rama-Tut, while another appears to be a child, like Iron Lad, another version of Kang.
A reference to the Red Room Academy, where the Black Widow was trained to be a KGB Agent by the Winter Soldier.
Hawkeye's SHIELD password is "Trick Shot", which in the comics is the nickname of the guy who trained him.
In Casket of Ancient Winters Hawkeye muses "We should move [the Avengers] to the west coast." In the comics, Hawkeye founded the West Coast Avengers.
During the intro, as the words "Our world's about to break..." go by, Bruce Banner/The Hulk is seen. In the comics, one of the Hulks many names is the World Breaker.
Ultron's address to the world in "The Ultron Imperative" is taken almost word for word from a similar scene in Brian Bendis' first Mighty Avengers arc.
The various Iron Man armors Ultron hijacks resemble classic suits from the comics, including the Hulkbuster, the Silver Centurion and the classic 70's armor.
While Hawkeye is fighting Chemistro in "This Hostage Earth", he tries to guess which villain he is, mentioning Paste Pot Pete and the Hypno-Hustler, two notoriously goofy Marvel villains.
In "A Day Unlike Any Other", Wasp wears an armored costume that is very similar to her original costume in the comics.
Another one for "A Day Unlike Any Other". Valkyrie is knocked off her Horse during the battle on the Rainbow bridge, and is caught by the Hulk. Both were part of the Un-Team The Defenders.
Tony Stark wordlessly plonks down the newly-created, still-steaming Thorbuster Armor faceplate in front of the dwarves, much like he did with the Mk I in the first movie. The image of Tony Stark building his armor with hammer and anvil goes back quite a bit further than that, of course.
Throughout "Welcome to the Kree Empire", there are several references to the the genetic potential of humans and the Kree wishing to study Earth. In the comics, the Kree experimented on early humans to exploit their hidden genetic potential, creating The Inhumans in the process.
In "Alone Against A.I.M.," the energy shield generator gauntlet Tony was making for Cap is similar to the one James (the son of Captain America and Black Widow in Next Avengers: Heroes of Tomorrow) uses which is also based on the energy shield from the main stream continuity.
In the same episode, Captain America asks War Machine why he isn't an Avenger. This is a nod to the common fan complaint about War Machine's conspicuous absence in the first Avengers movie (where he was the only Earthbound superhero at the time not to appear in the film).
In "Who Do You Trust?", the Avengers are reduced to four members due to Skrull-induced paranoia. This is a reference to the second line-up of Avengers, which fans have nicknamed Cap's Kooky Quartet. It came about when the founders left the team. It even has Cap and Hawkeye, with Wasp and the Hulk replacing Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch in the lineup.
The short speech Abomination gives to Hulk in Gamma World is taken almost word for word from a confrontation they have in The Ultimates. Hulk even interrupts both speeches.
In Season 2, the costume the Skrull posing as Captain America wears is the same one Cap wears in The Ultimates.
The code for overriding the security system of Beta Ray Bill's spaceship, "337," matches the comic that introduced Bill, issue #337 of The Mighty Thor.
The episode is basically the entire four-issue introduction of Beta Ray Bill brought down to 22 minutes, complete with the shot of Thor, Sif and Bill riding in the chariot drawn by Toothgnasher and Toothgrinder. Even Bill's pre-Mjolnir costume is what he wore in #337.
After Wasp says that Red Hulk can't be the Hulk, since he has different-colored skin, Maria reminds her that the Hulk originally had gray skin.
In "Prisoner of War," the Skrull Queen says she's going to get humanity to "embrace change," which was the tagline of the Secret Invasion event in the comics.
Various pieces of Jackson Pollock artwork are hanging in Stark Tower, as well as Avengers Mansion. This is a nod to the Iron Man movie, where Tony decides to buy a Pollock painting Pepper mentioned to him.
In "Infiltration", the impostor Iron Man states that the Skrull prison ship is stationed behind Titan, one of Saturn's moons. In the comics, Titan is home to Thanos and the Eternals.
In "Ultron Unlimited" the Robotic Iron Man says "Who said anything about ME being TONY", which is what the Robotic Iron Man said when referred to as Tony in Ultimates 3.
In "To Steal An Ant-Man," Hank Pym hits Cassie Lang with Pym Particles, shrinking her down to size. After being rescued by her father, she asks if she can do that again. This is a nod to Cassie eventually becoming the size shifting Stature of the Young Avengers.
The episode features a ton of cameos from minor villains who were featured in Marvel's various street level and martial arts books from the 70's.
At the end of the episode, Iron Fist asks Scott Lang if he'd be interested in a job. This is a nod to Lang's role in the short-lived Heroes for Hire series that launched after Onslaught.
The Hulk turning into Bruce Banner after Hawkeye makes him laugh is a reference to how Spider-Man once "defeated" The Hulk, though Hawkeye did it with much more serious face.
In "The Man Who Stole Tomorrow", when Tony and Steve talk, you can see a chart comparing Stark Industries' stock with various other companies, including Roxxon, Rand Industries (the company of Iron Fist), Oscorp, Stane International, Hammer Industries, and Richard Robotics.
In the comics, the Korvac saga featured the original Guardians of the Galaxy (and Korvac came from their universe). On the show, the story introduced the modern Guardians.
Never Say "Die": Mostly averted, as death is referenced a LOT. Mooks and Shield troops can and do die, there may occasionally be the odd cut if someone uses firearms though. Played a little straighter with MODOK (MODOC in this continuity) but it makes sense because his operating method is different. There have been some pretty brutal deaths all the same, one of the most recent examples being MODOC forcing some AIM pilots to fly in front of a HYDRA missile to save his own hide. That same episode also included quite a few mook bodies on the streets of New York as well, so...
It's also pretty blatantly implied that Skrull!Madame Viper is dead. Although some characters simply reference as being "locked up"(Fury probably didn't tell them she was a Skrull), the last we see of her she's lying motionless on a slab having reverted back to her natural Skrull form (as they so often do when shuffling off this mortal coil).
Never Trust Disney XD's Website: The auditory quotes for the bios come from the episode "Some Assembly Required". Captain America didn't appear in that episode, so one of Ant-Man's snarkier quotes (the one where he asks Tony if he considers the Avengers a "pet project" he started out of boredom) gets attributed to him instead. As a result, Cap might come off as a bigger jerk than he actually is.
No Endor Holocaust: Thor is show vaporizing a very large part of urban New York in Breakout Part 2 in order to give his power a sense of scale, however the size and location the crater change in the immediately following scene so that he doesn't kill tens of thousands of people.
Red Skull does have an Iron Cross on his uniform, however. And for that matter, he clearly wears an SS uniform.
Word Of God says S&P gave them a stark choice: keep the guns and remove the Nazis, or keep the Nazis and have everyone firing lasers. The staff chose to keep the guns. This episode was set during World War II. Guns were involved.
This interview with Christopher Yost says he intended for HYDRA to serve as merely a branch of the Nazis.
The episode was never shown in Germany (pay and free-tv) regardless.
Non Indicative Name: Some episodes have the same names as comics, but not exactly the same plots. This seems most obvious for "Iron Man is Born!" (which does not retell the origin of Iron Man) and "The Man in the Ant Hill" (in which Hank Pym never goes inside an ant hill).
Nothing Is Scarier: The Skrull ship where they torture their prisoners. Captain America was their prisoner for two months and never broke, much to his captor's shock. With the prisoners' screams being heard throughout the ship and the Skrulls having no trouble holding back, it makes you wonder what they did to Captain America.
This must be the first time Galactus appears for the first time in a given franchise, and the Silver Surfer is completely absent.
This last one's probably because the assembled heroes kill the heralds they fight, and it's not murder because they're just energy constructs. The Silver Surfer is too well-known a character in his own right for that explanation to fly if he'd been present.
Not So Above It All: After Captain America spends all of "Along Came A Spider" insisting that what people say about you doesn't matter, that the truth will eventually come clear, and that it's what you do that's important:
Spider-Man: What I'm gonna do right now is find J. Jonah Jameson and web his mouth shut.
Captain America: I'm okay with that.
Not So Different: Hulk gives the rest of the Avengers this when he quits, comparing them to Ross and SHIELD, with the difference being that the latter are honest about their fear of him.
Not Using the Z Word: The show's pretty clear on not calling Thor and his people "gods," instead insisting on calling them "Asgardians" even when "god" fits in better with the dialogue (admittedly, probably demanded by the censors).
Odd Friendship: The Hulk and the Wasp. Also, Hulk and Hawkeye. And Hawkeye and Black Panther.
Hulk getting hurled into the realm of the frost giants only serves to piss him off.
Ant-Man and Wasp appear near the beginning of "The Man Who Stole Tomorrow" while dragging Blizzard to Prison 42. Wasp boasts that it was "really easy" to capture him.
The Hulk's and Black Panther's capture of the Red Ghost occurs offscreen during "Ultron-5".
Ms. Marvel beating the Griffin in "Who Do You Trust?"
Susan Storm getting the Baxter Building and its inhabitants back from an alternate dimension in "Secret Invasion."
In "Ultron Unlimited," only Captain America holds back getting captured by his robot counterpart.
Black Panther defeats all of Kang's ships attacking Wakanda (before the Avengers manage to hack the systems and erase all the ships from the timeline). We only know it because of a status report at The Bridge of the Damocles base.
Absorbing Man's reaction when Hulk shatters his arm.
"Hulk smash rock, Einstein!
Grim Reaper's reaction when he sees the "present" Fury left on his scythe.
He does it again at a later date when Black Panther cuts through his scythe.
Mandrill wasn't very impressed when Wasp threatened him, probably because his power is mesmerizing women... cue Iron Man, and he still thinks he can come out on top with his simian strength and ingenuity. But with Thor, Ant-Man and Hulk appearing one after another, Mandrill had a whole rainbow of Oh, Crap expressions appear on his face.
Wasp has a similar one to Mandrill when the Masters of Evil confront her one by one. Enchantress gets an Oh, Crap herself when Hulk comes back from fighting Frost Giants.
Not to mention the look on Abomination's face right before Giant Man punts him like a football.
Madame Viper's a Skrull
Loki's face when Odin wakes up in "A Day Unlike Any Other"
Tony Stark after discovering Technovore wants his arc reactor.
Out of Order: "Widow's Sting" takes place after the Avengers thwart Kang's first attempt to conquer 21st century Earth, but Disney XD aired it before the Avengers met Kang.
Parental Bonus: In episode 2, a Las Vegas cop runs into a man giving out cards which sends the cards flying. Adults will recognize this as a common feature of Vegas, where men handout cards with the numbers of call girls. This is further driven home by one of the cards flying past the camera and showing a girl who seems to be topless but the naughty bits are tastefully covered by playing cards.
Party Scattering: The first season finale begins with the Avengers each venturing to a different corner of the world to stop the Masters of Evil from opening portals to the realms of Norse mythology. After each Avenger defeats a Master of Evil, he or she closes the respective portal, but per Loki's plans, gets sent to one of seven realms in the process.
The Password Is Always Swordfish: Subverted when Hawkeye tries to connect to Black Widow's remote computer to access her files. When prompted for a password, he tries everything even tangentially connected to spiders (and in a moment of wishful thinking, his own first name) but nothing works. He does guess the password eventually: "red room".
Poor Communication Kills: The episode "Everything Is Wonderful" fits this trope to a T. All Tony Stark had to do was inform Simon that the latter's company was going under and Stark himself was only purchasing it to save it. Instead of doing this flat-out, he remained aloof, inattentive, unfeeling, and cold as Simon was practically weeping at his feet. Pym called him out on it, and even though Stark knew what he was doing, it still didn't drive him to run after Simon as he stormed out in a huff. And then Simon gets transformed into a being of pure energy, driven only to destroy Stark for his perceived callousness.
Also, from Welcome to the Kree Empire. if only Sword was more up to date on the Kree work, and if only Ms. Marvel wasn't so aggressive. If only they had more time to talk, then all these problems might have been less difficult. The bit with Cap as a Skrull though can't be compensated for though. Once he attacked Ronan, there was really no hope of a peaceful solution.
Except there really isn't much that could have been done for peace anyway. S.W.O.R.D. and Carol didn't really do anything wrong, the Kree showed up, threatened them, started attacking the S.W.O.R.D. HQ and then assaulted a S.H.I.E.L.D. crew on Earth. When Carol DID try to talk with Mar-Vell, Ronan attacked her. This was less a case of Poor Communication Kills and more a case of 'The Kree are assholes use to getting their way by throwing their military weight around and who have almost no concept of diplomacy'. It's doubtful things would have gone smoothly even if the Skrull Cap hadn't gotten involved.
Post-Modern Magik: While battling the Enchantress and the Executioner, Iron Man's suit is damaged, Giant Man is out, and Wasp is caught by the Enchantress. When Hulk arrives and breaks the Enchantress' concentration. Thor powers up Mjolnir's thunder magic.
Enchantress: Your magic is nothing against mine.
Thor: You are not my target, witch!
Previously crippled Iron Man stands up surrounded by electricity.
Jarvis: Armor energy reserves at 214%.
They continue to do this in later episodes to the extent that Tony yelling to Thor, "hit me with everything ya got!" is becoming their mutual catchphrase.
Power-Up Letdown: Going into the final battle for Season One, almost half the team (Hawkeye, Wasp, Antman, and Iron Man) get cool new costumes, with inferred power. Of these, only Wasp's seems to change her performance at all (she goes from useless attacks to one-shotting giants, everyone else... gets this trope).
Power Walk: The team does this in "The Kang Dynasty" as they board the Quinjet to attack Kang's mothership to show they have The Right Stuff to save the world.
Pragmatic Adaptation: The episode "Operation: Galactic Storm" (and its next episode, "Live Kree or die") features a pair of details from Operation Galactic Storm: the wormholes next to the sun that risks its stability, the concerns of the Supreme Intelligence about the Kree being in an evolutionary dead end, unlike humanity, and its final deactivation. But the main issue of the plot was left aside: an alien holocaust is just too much for a kids show (and worse, an holocaust which is not downplayed nor inferred). And the killing of the Supreme Intelligence is only done with lasers, not with a gory execution of someone doing it a "lobotomy" from the upper side.
Including a butler would have been complicated: with the periodic number of villains that break their way into Avengers mansion, he would become a Distress Ball hated by fans in no time. So, Jarvis was included in the series, but turned into an AI serving Iron Man in both his armour, the mansion and Stark International. And an AI with the snarky attitude of good ol' Edwin Jarvis: only Stark could have programmed THAT kind of AI.
Previously On: Each episode from the second season begins with a recap. Disney XD also shows episodes 20-26 with recaps attached, since they aired several months after episode #18note #19 aired before #17. Strangely, these recaps often show clips out of order, and also sometimes repeat information reviewed in the actual episode (such as which Avenger got replaced by a Skrull before season two began).
Prolonged Prologue: The Avengers don't officially form until the end of the seventh episode. Furthermore, Captain America doesn't join until the ninth episode, Black Panther doesn't join until the eleventh, and Hawkeye doesn't join until two episodes after that, meaning that the core team of eight Avengers that make up the first (26 episode) season doesn't assemble until the end of the thirteenth episode. However, the first seven episodes feature plenty of action by the heroes working solo and do set up the season nicely, so this is a case where Tropes Are Not Bad.