Sunday, November 10, 2013

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

Come on, let's get this inevitable train wreck over with.

The finale, hopefully?
We open with Rick Jones (A-Bomb)’s face addressing the audience as the Hulks fly to New York in their Hulkjet.  

A-Bomb: “Hey, Hulkies!”

Don’t call me that.

A-Bomb: “We’re scannin’ serious Negative Zone radiation under the Big Apple, and we got deal with it before the Avengers show and make a mess.”

You know, on my list of Things Most Likely to Make a Mess, “five Hulks” rates above “the Avengers.”

Why did I make this?
A-Bomb: “And maybe get the big green guy some good press, too!”

Which is why you're going to J Jonah Jameson's home turf, naturally.
Inside the Hulkjet, She-Hulk continues her apparent life-long dream of not-being-girly by pushing past Red Hulk and Skaar and telling the team to get ready. Hulk asks if they’re all going to back each other up, and the answer is a resounding “no.” Well, at least they’re being honest.

Hulk, in the cutaway, explains that there have been some trust issues lately.

She-Hulk (cutaway): “A certain barbarian from another dimension promised not to drink all my juice. Guess what?”

She then crushes the empty plastic bottle to illustrate her point, but this only brings to my attention the fact that her “juice” is quite clearly soda.

What, did they overdub it when people complained that she wouldn't be a good role model if she drank soda?
Skaar, in his cutaway, burps at the camera. I guess her "juice" must have been carbonated. You know, like soda. Rick complains that Red Hulk broke his guitar.

Red Hulk (cutaway): “Did I break his guitar? Am I glad it’s broken? Absolutely.

Well, if he was that bad at guitar, you could have just made him play only in outer space; that’s what the crew of Starbug did.

Hulk’s cutaway talks about how lives depend on trusting teammates, and the Hulkjet drops the team in a New York tunnel, bringing them face-to-face with Blastaar, the Living Bomb-Burst. In a very odd moment of editing, the caption introduces Blastaar, only for Rick to ask Hulk who he is. Although, this makes sense if you assume that Rick put the caption in during post-production on his web-show and good Lord, I’m putting effort into justifying this.

I'll give the show this, Blastaar is cool.
Rulk rushes towards Blastaar, only to find his guns busted. He quickly blames Rick, and gets blasted from behind by Blastaar. Hulk throws a punch in Blastaar’s face, and he responds by summoning his “borers,” which look like spiky sandworms. I have to admit, they look pretty cool. Before they can eat all the Hulks, though, Iron Man appears!

As the captions helpfully inform us, the guy who looks like Iron Man is indeed Iron Man.
"Why," you ask?
Well, he’s a popular character and they want to exploit that it’s a team-up episode!

Rick geeks out, Skaar marvels at the “shiny-man,” Rulk gets annoyed, and Iron Man asks She-Hulk for a thank you. She-Hulk responds with faux-teenage-girl-swooning, and then flicks him in his iron face. Okay, look, I hate to keep harping on this, but he did just save your bacon. But no, you can’t even say thank you to someone who saved your life.

Isn't Red Hulk supposed to be the team jerk?
Now, for the sake of fairness, in a hypothetical situation, let’s put the other Agents of S.M.A.S.H. in the same position as She-Hulk and try to guess their reactions to being saved by Iron Man.

A-Bomb: Say “thank you” a few times and ask for his autograph
Hulk: A grudging “thanks,” before telling him that they don’t need help
Skaar: Would be too busy staring at the shiny man
Red Hulk: Sarcastic remark, and hitting Iron Man “lightly”

Hmm, it looks like She-Hulk’s acting most like the biggest jerk in the whole group right now. Let me offer an alternative for this scene: Iron Man saves the Hulks, asks for a thank you, She-Hulk takes out a borer that was going to eat Iron Man, and says, “Let’s just call it even.” Boom. She-Hulk looks tough without having to belittle Iron Man.

Anyway, I’m going to summarize the rest of the fight, because it’s really kind of inconsequential (Also, end of teaser.) They defeat Blastaar, they have some teamwork problems, Iron Man tells Hulk that someone on their team sent a distress call and that’s why he’s here. Blastaar and his borers escape via boom tube portal into the Negative Zone, and the Hulks wonder about his motives. Hulk explains in a cutaway that he likes Skaar, but he’s a traitor working for the Leader. And if the Leader subscribes to Rick’s Blip, or YouTube, or Myspace, or Facetweet, or whatever they have in the Marvel Universe, Hulk just gave away what he knows to his greatest enemy. Way to go, Hulkster.

Hulk (cutaway): “Keep your friends close, your enemies closer.”

JARVIS informs Iron Man of a “Code 3,” and Iron Man flies off to investigate a break-in at “Stark.” Stark what? Stark Enterprises? Stark Industries? Stark Tower? Stark State College? House Stark? Stark what? Anyway, Iron Man theorizes that he was drawn away to help the Hulks so that someone could break into his lab.

Red Hulk:We called the tin man?”
Hulk: “No, but someone made it seem like we did.”

They head off after Iron Man in the Hulkjet, and Rick explains to the camera that this is, in fact, what’s happening. More cheap animation of the jet landing (by showing a sliver of the jet’s interior on the screen and lowering it down the screen itself), and Skaar attacks the uncloaking robot drone that broke into Stark’s hangar, despite Tony’s radio message telling them not to.

Iron Man: “I wanted it to escape! With the tracer I planted on it!”

A-Bomb brown-noses a bit, and the team goes with Iron Man to figure out what’s going on. Iron Man says that he has no idea how it got in, but Hulk offers this pearl of wisdom.

Hulk: “It cloaks.”
Iron Man: “Aren’t you the smart one.”
Hulk: “Well, I’m no billionaire, inventor, genius, but I get by.”

Only because you have a genius inventor trapped and screaming inside your brain, Greeny.
Yep, I’m sticking with my theory.

She-Hulk wants to know what was inside that vault, but Stark says it’s classified. Rulk, A-Bomb, and Skaar sneak off (in a bit of choppy editing) to investigate what was in the hangar. Rulk punches his way in (and we’re treated to a visual of this coming from the inside, which is an impossible angle for Rick’s floating cameras which I haven’t seen in a while to actually record), and inside we find…

Oooh, collect them all!
Autobots! No, not really. These things don’t look like they could transform. Heh, if they actually do, I’ll eat my Jor-El figurine!

What? Jor-El was awesome.
Iron Man, Hulk, and She-Hulk walk up and Tony demands to know what’s going on. Rulk exposits that this is where Stark keeps his “Hulkbuster” armor. He goes on to explain that each one is personalized to fight and subdue a single Hulk. The grey, bladed one is for Skaar, the purple one is for She-Hulk (because she’s a girl, you know!), Red for Rulk, Green for Hulk, Blue for A-Bomb, and a black one for some reason. Well, you never know when you’ll need a spare, I guess. Or maybe it’s for Rhodey? Why does Rhodey have to get the black one, Tony? Anyway, Rick’s ecstatic.

A-Bomb: “Iron Man built armor to fight me!”
A-Bomb (cutaway): “Hey, wait a minute!”

Okay, that was actually pretty funny. Skaar steals the Final Fantasy 7-lookin’ sword from the grey Hulkbuster, and Rulk votes to destroy the armors. Hulk leads everyone away as Tony tries to explain the armors unsuccessfully. As they leave, the Arc reactors in the armors all fire up in unison.

In the cutaway, Hulk explains that he’s not mad about the armor made to fight him, he’s mad about the armors made to fight the other Hulks. They get in their Hulkjet, which blows up. They all hit the ground, surrounded by Hulkbusters.

Rick: “Someday, we’re all gonna look back on this and just laugh.”

The Hulks fight the conspicuously CGI Hulkbusters.

Hulk as portrayed by Ray Park, I guess.
She-Hulk: “Watch my back this time.”
Skaar: “Skaar watch.”

And he does, he watches as she gets a laser in the back. Hulk starts smashing up the armors with the surrounding military hardware, and A-Bomb and Rulk are still having trust issues as they fight. Still, they all do a good job fighting, and they eventually take the fight indoors to… a set of the moon landing?

Red Hulk: “Course Stark has his own moon.”

I don’t even… whaaaaa…? I’d imagine that this is for testing spacesuits, but why go to the trouble of making it look like the moon instead of just simulating lower gravity? No, stop it, Newt, you’re putting in more thought than the writers did. They fight more Hulkbusters, and Hulk rips one open to find… Tony Stark’s not inside, meaning he’s not attacking them! Or, you know, he’s doing it remotely because he can't be in every armor at once... but the real Iron Man comes in to help the Hulks before I can overthink this. Iron Man takes out a few armors, and exposits that the Hulkbusters have Gamma Incinerators, whatever those are. After some fancy tech-work, the Hulkbusters use their Gamma Incinerators on the team, destroying them forever and leaving a gigantic crater in the hangar.

We then see the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. along with Iron Man in another room, as Tony pats himself on the back for his hologram decoys of the team. Rulk shows his thanks by smashing Tony for a bit, and Tony shows them footage of the drone from earlier reprogramming the Hulkbusters by shooting a laser into their chests. Let’s pretend that this makes sense and move on. The team, after some team bickering, strips down a single one of the Hulkbusters for parts and weapons. As Iron Man helps reshape some armor-plating to fit Hulk, he tells him that he was only preparing if one of them got out of control, and the others couldn’t help.

Iron Man: “That possibility frightens people.”
Hulk: “I’m… we’re trying to change that.”

Meanwhile, the other Hulks fight over the other robo-parts.

A-Bomb: “I get stuck with the leg? Come on….”

Hey, don’t knock the leg. Robin knows how awesome robotic legs are.

The most powerful part of the body.
The other Hulkbusters use the elevator (seriously) to track down the Hulks, and a fight ensues. She-Hulk uses robot-fists to attack, and lays a smack down.

She-Hulk: “How do ya like me now?”

A bit better than earlier in the episode, but you still annoy me. Red Hulk unleashes some micro missiles, Skaar uses a boomerang (?), and A-Bomb is apparently trying to kill his Hulkbuster with puns.

A-Bomb: “Yo, ugly, the game is a foot! ...did I really just say that?”

He uses the foot’s repulsor to shoot his Hulkbuster into a wall, and the remaining Hulkbusters stand in a triangle and start doing… something. Scraps around the room get sucked in, and the Hulkbusters….

Hoo boy....
…combine like Devastator to transform into a bigger gestalt robot.

Stupid bet, razzum frazzum....
Funny how the only armor that doesn't get sucked in is the armor that Tony’s wearing.

Iron Man: “The armor’s been compromised. Someone else is doing this!”

This implies that Iron Man didn’t build his armors to transform, but this is part of what the virus did. So, downloading SOFTWARE affects what the HARDWARE can physically do? That’s like saying if you download an app for your iPhone, it can shoot bullets! Iron Man gets sucked into the transformer’s chest to power it, and the Leader’s face appears on a hologram in the center.

Leader: “Greetings, Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H!”

So, they’re actually called that?

Leader: “Prepare to meet your doom!”

Turns out that his plan is to launch the robot into New York City and detonate it like a bomb, leveling the city and… everyone will hate the Hulks after that? Odd plan. Oh, and the Hulks climbed onto the robot as it flew away; they try to save Tony, who tells them the Leader’s plan.

Iron Man: “Leader’s turned them into a giant, flying bomb!”
Red Hulk (cutaway): “So Stark couldn’t tell us that before we jumped on?”

Two funny jokes in one episode? Man, this show’s on a bit of a roll!
But yeah, a hologram of the Leader explains that the world will hate the Hulks for some reason after New York blows up, and Hulk gets the team to work together to bust up the Hulkbuster, making it land safely in the water… where it no doubt caused a wave big enough to wreak havoc with nearby boats and drench the shore. The crowd celebrates Iron Man’s victory, ignoring the Hulks, and Tony promises to dismantle the Hulkbusters.

Um, all the Hulkbusters we saw turned into a giant robot. What, did he mass-produce them, or what? Hulk tells Tony to keep one, just in case, in a poor man’s version of Superman asking Batman to keep Lex Luthor’s Kryptonite ring. Back at Gamma Base, Hulk shows A-Bomb security footage of Skaar breaking everybody’s things and sending the distress signal to break up the team. Hulk explains that they have to keep Skaar on the team, so they can find the Leader.

A-Bomb: “Brilliant, big guy! Keep your friends close, your enemies closer.”
Hulk (cutaway): “Or… turn enemies into friends. Hulk out.”

Hulk out. Oh, God, IT’S A PUN. Hulk out, as in, “over and out,” but also like, to “Hulk out” and turn into the… GAAAAH!

And with that unpleasant revelation, the episode ends, and the review can begin after I go check to see if action figure plastic is toxic.


  1. Finally, another comics fan that likes Teen Titans Go! And while her character may be mishandled here, you gotta admit that She-Hulk with giant robo-fists is awesome.

    1. You know, that's something I failed to address in my recap/review of "All About the Ego." I do like the fact that they gave all the Hulks different signature weapons, though I do wonder why the weapons were created.
      "Hey, Reed Richards! What's with these Hulk-sized guns?"
      Why would anyone think, "You know, the Hulk just isn't deadly enough."
      Still, I like the fact that they're trying to make the characters all unique in how they fight.