The entire Wastelanders podcast series comes to a close in this final season as Star-Lord, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Wolverine and Doctor Doom finally all meet!
Marching Towards the End of the World
We are given a much-needed recap about the previous adventures of the four heroes and Doctor Doom from the preceding podcast seasons. They are finally beginning to converge, with Hawkeye finding Star-Lord as he searches for Kate Bishop, and Natasha the Black Widow finding Wolverine. Doctor Doom reveals himself near Hulkland, bringing him in nearby proximity to Hawkeye and Star-Lord.
Road to Nowhere
Hawkeye and Star-Lord, the two heroes out West, travel through Zemo’s and Kraven’s former kingdoms on their way to find Bishop. Star-Lord is his usual obnoxious self, and is schooled by Hawkeye who counsels him that change needs to come slowly- they are not there for showy heroics. When they arrive at Hulkland they meet Doctor Doom who warns them of an impending crisis and wants to work with them. Should they trust him?
Heroes of Old
Now we get the Black Widow and Wolverine duo in NYC, aided by Iron Man’s Jarvis, battling Judy Stark (the baddie from BW’s season). They unexpectedly meet someone from the past who convinces them to step through a portal that takes them to…
Doom explains to Hawkeye and Star-Lord how Valeria’s unstable hold on the Cosmic Cube could destroy the planet and asks them to go on a suicide mission. They get sent thru a portal themselves, landing in a version of NYC of yesteryear. Black Widow and Wolverine realize that the Iron Man they followed is not who he claims to be, and the two pairings are on the cusp of meeting one another.
The Old Familiar Places
Valeria is determined to keep the heroes in her recreated NYC. Star-Lord is especially gullible (no surprise) because he is promised that the seed of Groot will grow there. Things do not go well.
Hawkeye and Black Widow have a poignant reunion. All four are finally together and assemble in the recreated Avengers mansion to talk strategy. Valeria and Judy Stark continue to be villainous.
The Cube fractures the four heroes into different realities- they each have to face their demons. Black Widows grapples with her guilt over Yelena, Logan grieves the loss of Jean Grey and the students, Hawkeye has to deal with the idea that (for a time) he was the only Avenger left despite him not having the powers of others, and Star-Lord has to reconcile that his Guardians team is gone and that he still wishes to remain relevant.
Star-Lord and Black Widow remain trapped in the cube, so Hawkeye and Wolverine try to extract them. They have to battle against the fake reality that the Cube is using to entice them to stay. Wolverine makes a sacrifice to save them, plus the other people trapped in the fake NYC. Will the plan Doom reveals at the end save them all, or has it just been a long con for him to gain control of the Cosmic Cube once the heroes return?
Star-Lord, Black Widow, Hawkeye and Kate Bishop battle it out with Judy Stark. Due to the reality-warping powers of the Cube, all are able to take on the powers of their fallen comrades. In the meantime, Doctor Doom and Valeria continue to have a battle of wits over who lays claim to the Cube. Doctor Doom seems to prevail in the end, but with only one episode left in the entire series, we surely know a villain will not be able to retain it.
The entire series draws to a close with this episode- which brought it home in a mostly satisfying manner. We have two showdowns- between Doctor Doom and Valeria, and the Avengers crew with Judy Stark. Doom has gained control of the Cosmic Cube, and due to the heroes briefly being trapped there, the Cube has retained their heroic attributes, thus filling Doom with the power of good. He then shares this goodness with Valeria, and they become partners, putting their villainous ways aside. This, and that Judy Stark also sees the error of her ways, was unbelievably contrived, but…I’ll let it go because it put a neat bow on the entire narrative. I was surprised they didn’t bring back to life a certain character, but his sacrifice was more meaningful that way. And of course, in the superhero world, no one remains dead forever.
I started listening to this podcast series two years ago, and I have enjoyed tuning in for each segment. I enjoyed the first two seasons with Star-Lord and Hawkeye the best and found the middle seasons with Black Widow and Wolverine the least satisfying. But the last seasons with Doctor Doom and then this concluding season, wrapped it up nicely. There were a few characters from earlier seasons I would have liked to see in this last season, such as Emma Frost, Kitty Pryde and Sophia, but also realize that may have muddied up the story with too many plot threads when they needed to concentrate on the big five. I have been impressed with many Marvel podcasts such as the two about Wolverine, the Marvels and now this one. I look forward to future podcasts from Marvel!
Written by Mark Waid, Nick Bernardone, and J. Holtham. Directed by Kimberly Senior.
Robert Patrick as Wolverine
Susan Sarandon as Black Widow
Stephen Lang as Hawkeye
Timothy Busfield as Star-Lord
Dylan Baker as Doctor Doom
Tune into Apple Podcasts for the entire Wastelanders series!
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