Thursday, August 27, 2015

Recap: Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. "Homecoming"

The Hulks may not be lost in space anymore, but this episode marks the true end of the "Lost in Space" arc of Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. A landmark episode like this carries quite a bit of responsibility with it. Not only does it need to be entertaining, but it should ideally conclude the themes of the last few episodes satisfactorily while tying the loose ends together into a cohesive whole.

So prepare yourselves for… well, none of that.

I'm ready to be disappointed.
Our episode opens with the Hulks emerging from what will no doubt be called the "Panama Wormhole" by the time Richard Nixon's head becomes president again. In front of them floats a gigantic watery rock that looks familiar.

Hulk: “We did it, Hulks. We made it back to Earth.”

A-Bomb excitedly outlines the plan to clear their names. Readers of my previous Recaps will remember how much I’ve been criticizing this, because their only bit of "proof" is a supervillain who may or may not end up confessing to the whole scheme of destroying Vista Verde. And even if he does confess, it’s very possible that the word of a villain won’t be enough evidence to exonerate the Hulks.

A-Bomb: "See, we brought back living proof the whole thing was a set-up and we were heroes the whole time!"

See my above statements.

A-Bomb: “Wave hello, living proof!”
Leader: “Meh.”
A-Bomb: “He’s a little camera shy.”

Actually, come to think of it, because of the way the Hulks have been threatening the Leader to make him cooperate, I’m pretty sure his confession would be automatically thrown out because he would have confessed under the threat of violence.

Either way, the Hulks are anxious to be back home. A-Bomb misses the Gamma Burgers, Red Hulk misses his guns, Skaar misses Devil Dinosaur, and all She-Hulk knows is that the air on the ship smells like Hulk feet and she won't be missing that. Actually, that’s pretty scientifically accurate. A big problem with being in space in real life is that there’s no outside fresh air to vent in, meaning that smells will hang around for a long time. There’s even a guy whose job it is to smell things before they go into space to see if there are any potential problems.

The Science Channel: Making me look smart on the internet since 2013.
All I can do is wonder how Crystal feels about her (boy?)friend declaring that he misses food more than her company. Then again, Crystal was exiled to the Pit of Discontinuity, a dark void filled with the numerous unpeople that the Hulks have apparently vowed to never speak of again, like Deathlok and the talking Hulkjet. I like to think that the Molecule Kid and Princess Python hang out there, too.

After Hulk gets all "woe is me" to the camera about how they'll probably be on the run again after they land....

"I mean, our plan for clearing our names sucks. I'll probably just resort to smashing things, instead."
...A-Bomb manages to hack into one of the Gamma Base's cameras. It seems as though Devil Dinosaur's doing well, and Skaar tries to get his attention by talking to A-Bomb's iPad.

She-Hulk: "How long 'til he figures out Devil can't see or hear him?"
Red Hulk: "Somewhere between never and when a really hot place freezes over."

You might think that Red Hulk’s line was clumsy censorship of a common phrase. But I don’t. You see, as soon as I started recapping this show, I realized something. Each episode of this show is a journey. A journey far beyond the reach of Lucifer himself. A journey to a place where devils fear to tread. A journey into the darkest region of the human brain, a radiant abyss where men go to find themselves.

Hell, dear readers. We are in Hell. Not a journey into the ever-burning sepulcher, but into the cold loneliness where the end that never comes is the tantalizing dream that eternally eludes one's grasp.

...This show's terrible.

Back in Hell the show, Hulk's surprised that Devil's food lasted this long. A-Bomb moves the camera around with his iPad and realizes that somebody locked Devil in the weapons vault with his food supply. Meaning that somebody accessed the Gamma Base while the Hulks were away. I would like to remind you all that just last episode, Devil was drinking out of the toilet, which seems to imply that the weapons vault connects directly to a bathroom. And you might think that maybe Devil got locked in there between this episode and the last one… but as we’ll see, the changes to Vista Verde and the Gamma Base happened a while ago.

Anyway, as She-Hulk brings the ship in for a landing, a high-tech defense array begins shooting lasers at them, sending them on a collision course with Vista Verde. After what I imagine is supposed to be tension, She-Hulk manages to steer them away from the town, but they're still going fast enough to necessitate an escape from their spaceship. They all fly off on their flying surfboards and… Seriously, how is it that they had enough supplies to craft themselves their flying surfboards (presumably using Leader’s 3-D printer) but couldn’t whip up some toilet paper a couple episodes back?

So, almost as soon as they land, military jet fighters come to shoot missiles at them.

Red Hulk: “What’s wrong with those flyboys? I never would have ordered an unprovoked attack when I was in charge!”

Bull. Crap.

Unprovoked, unauthorized, often illegal attacks are pretty much your calling card, General Ross, whether it be in the comics or in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Two words: Posse comitatus.

In an attempt to placate the jets’ bloodlust, A-Bomb holds up the Leader as an offering.

Or maybe it's just the Circle of Life.
After this completely fails, they rush off to the town to turn in the Leader. When they get there, instead of ruined buildings, they find the place looking better than ever. Except there’s nobody on the streets. A voice comes over the speaker system to announce a military curfew, and CGI Hulkbuster drones come out to patrol the streets.

Red Hulk: "I thought Stark was going to dismantle those tin cans, not sell 'em to the military!"

Is this... actual continuity? Wow, things have changed since the Hulks left.

They hide in an alley, but since they’re each the size of a Volkswagen, they’re soon spotted.

???: "You... are wanted men."
Hulk: "Mayor Stan?"

But he's the Mayor no longer. You can tell he's homeless because he's dressed up in his Chester A. Bum cosplay.

"Chaaaaaange!Ya got change? Excelsior!"
Former Mayor Stan: "Ya know, we never gave up on you. Even when the military took over the town."
Yeah, no. You guys turned on them like Benedict Arnold. You yourself were asking "Why, Hulks, why?" as you surveyed the wreckage. You are a liar, Mayor Stan. But you're a politician, so it's to be expected.

Anyway, he explains that "the General" instituted the Hulkbusters for their protection, turning the city into a police state. Before Stan can explain much more, the Hulks run out and fight some Hulkbusters to save the poor, innocent, squishy civilians. Then Red Hulk grabs the Leader and heads to the police station with Hulk. See, back when Rulk was in charge of going after the Hulk, that's where he would hang out, so they’re going to see if the new guy does the same.

Leader: "You lumbering oafs truly believe delivering me to the authorities will undo all the damage you've perpetrated on this town?"
Red Hulk: "Ahh, shutcher pie hole."

Oh, come on, that was a legitimate question!

Before more Hulkbusters can arrive, Hulk races to the station and asks for the guy in charge.

"Что случилось, суки?"
Abomination: "That would be me."

Is this where they stuck the Abomination after the World Security Council failed to make him an Avenger? 

Abomination: “It’s General Abomination now.”

So here they are. The Hulks are back at Vista Verde. Since about the beginning of the season, the Hulks have been talking about getting back to Vista Verde and calmly explaining the situation, using the Leader’s confession as their proof. So naturally, instead of explaining the situation like they said they would, Hulk elects to talk with his fists, and not the same way Edward Bergen did.

…ask your Grandpa what that means.

Although, to be fair, the Abomination knows that the Hulks are innocent. After all, he was one of the people who really destroyed Vista Verde.

That's right, show. I was paying attention.
The Hulks are sent running by a gatling laser and Red Hulk is blinded by a weaponized retinal scanner that Abomination just happened to have on his person. When more Hulkbusters show up, the Leader tries to make a deal, but it’s a no-go.

Abomination: “I’m afraid I follow a new leader now. Uncle Sam.”

"Don't yuh dare drag me intah this."
Abomination: “And my orders are to destroy Hulks, regardless of collateral damage.”
So in order to keep giant monsters from going on destructive rampages, they sent a giant monster on a destructive rampage? You don’t usually see that logic outside of the Godzilla movies.

As the attack begins, Abomination explains that the military pardoned him for some unexplained reason, restored him to active duty for some unexplained reason, and promoted him to General for some unexplained reason.

"Look,. I've only got one eye. You can't expect me to read everything I sign."
Anyway, the Hulks get their butts kicked for a bit before they decide that they might want to run off. Hulk leads the SMASHers to a secret hiding place of his under the Gamma Base where he used to hide from General Ross’ forces, back when the Gamma Base was the HQ for his Hulk-hunting team.

Red Hulk: “All that time you were hiding from me… right under my own nose!?”

Hulk explains that there was no better place to hide from his enemies while keeping tabs on them. Speaking of enemies, Hulk brought the Leader with them because… I guess they need to keep him safe so they can engineer his confession. Hulk reveals a tunnel he dug a long time ago that leads to Red Hulk’s old office, where Abomination now resides. How. Freaking. Convenient. So, if any one on General Ross’s staff had just brought a dang Geiger counter into the office, they would have found the Hulk hiding in the vents?

They send in one of Rick’s camera and spot the Abomiantion trying on his Power Glove.

“Я люблю перчатку питания. Это так плохо.”
Red Hulk recognizes it as being one of the powerful anti-Hulk weapons from the Gamma Base.

Leader: “Weapons vault…? Curious.”

Uh, yeah. The weapons vault. The one the Hulks were talking about on the bridge of your spaceship earlier when looking at the footage of Devil Dinosaur. Were you not paying attention? I was.

Abomination uses the retinal scan he got from Red Hulk to activate the Power Glove, granting him access to the “Green Hammer.”

Red Hulk: “It’s nothing. Just a little high-altitude weaponized drone I made to use against you. You know, back in the day.”
She-Hulk: “Let me guess. It’s got a big Gamma gun on it.”
Red Hulk: “Nyeeeeh, I’d put Gamma guns on my cereal. You know I got a whole vault full of ‘em back at the base.”
Leader: “Interesting….”

Oh, come on, Red Hulk! You used to be a General! You of all people should know that loose lips sink ships.

Abomination activates the Green Hammer, then begins monologuing about how he’ll rule the entire world with a weapon that powerful. Suddenly, the Hulk emerges from his secret tunnel and decks the Abomination in the face, knocking him out into the street. After ranting and raving about ain’t nobody uses Vista Verde as bait, the Hulk gets joined by the other SMASHers to fight Abomination and his Hulkbusters. Abomination activates the Green Hammer to use against the Hulks, and a green energy beam begins firing into the desert, no doubt interrupting Ron Planet’s meeting with NASA.

Chalk that up as my most obscure reference.
Abomination jetpacks away, leaving the Hulks to their fate. Red Hulk explains that the laser’s made up of super-concentrated Gamma energy. If you ask me, that takes the phrase Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation a bit too far.

Seriously, though, Ron Planet needs to be a movie.
Red Hulk: “It was supposed to be a weapon of last resort.”

You know, if you would have spent more time on the first resort weapons, you wouldn’t have to deal with a death ray right now.

She-Hulk: “How many weapons of last resort did you build!?”
Red Hulk: “Actually…. I kinda lost count.”

Okay, that was funny.

After they smash up the Hulkbusters, Hulk tells the others to evacuate the town while he takes care of the Green Hammer. Except for Red Hulk, who gets to go after Abomination.

Skaar: “Wait, where big-head man?”

Mr. Mxyzptlk? Oh, you mean the Leader. Whoops. I’m sure he’s fine….

Stan gives a little speech to the townspeople about how the Hulks are heroes, and the evacuation begins while more Hulkbusters start firing at everyone. Over on a nearby ridge, Red Hulk catches up to the Abomination and starts a-punching. Hulk commandeers a jet and takes it up into the upper atmosphere while A-Bomb grabs a bus to ferry civilians out of town. He jumps onto the thing and…. You know, I could rant and rave over how Hulk’s still breathing when this weapon is clearly orbiting the Earth in space, but whatever. I’ve got to pick my battles.

He tilts the thing to redirect it while A-Bomb and the others keep the Hulkbusters from attacking a busful of civilians. Luckily, the Green Hammer’s laser hits the Hulkbusters, making things convenient for everybody. Hulk breaks the drone and crashes it into Abomination before it blows up outside the town. …Where all the civilians were just ferried to, meaning that there should be at least a couple fatalities, but whatever. Out of sight, out of mind, I guess.

Hulk and Rulk know they haven’t seen the last of the Abomination. But for now, the day is saved and the townspeople hold a celebration, where Mayor Stan says that if the Hulks say they’re innocent, then he believes them.

Because he's terrified, obviously.
Mayor Stan: “But you need to stay and face your accusers. After all, this is your home.”
But alas, A-Bomb’s cameras have discovered that somebody completely cleared out the weapons vault back at the Gamma Base.

Leader: “Surprise.”

Ah, finally tired of being lame and ineffectual, I see.

Though I'd take you more seriously without the Megamind pose.
They head back to base and find every weapon gone. Hulk vows to chase the Leader down alone, but the others are family, yadda yadda, they’re coming with him.
Hulk: “Big dummies.”

Agreed.

The army heads to the Gamma Base, but the Hulks fly off in one of their many jets to track down the Leader and perhaps clear their names. And as the Hulk tells us about home being where the heart is, the episode ends.

So now that we've closed one door and opened another, let's review and see if we've closed the door on terrible episodes.

4 comments:

  1. "All I can do is wonder how Crystal feels about her (boy?)friend declaring that he misses food more than her company. Then again, Crystal was exiled to the Pit of Discontinuity, a dark void filled with the numerous unpeople that the Hulks have apparently vowed to never speak of again, like Deathlok and the talking Hulkjet. I like to think that the Molecule Kid and Princess Python hang out there, too."

    Let's say they are all in SHIELD custody waiting to be reformhahahaha, sorry refahahahhaha,ok ok, rehahahhaha, yeah, they are never getting out

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    1. For all we know, Nick Fury himself took them into a back alley and shot them. Of course, if they were all to, I don't know, suddenly return without rhyme or reason, that would open up questions of a different kind.

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  2. If this is hell, does this make you Virgil to our Dantes?

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    Replies
    1. And it makes Paul Dini into the Devil, interestingly.

      Better to reign over Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. than to get cancelled with the rest of the DC Nation.

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