Monday, February 3, 2014

Recap: Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. "The Venom Inside"

Well, here we are. The final episode of Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. for a while. At least, until they broadcast “Galactus Goes Green,” an as-of-yet-DVD-exclusive episode. (Note: this was originally written before I discovered that "Galactus Goes Green has been broadcast. Oh joy.) But enough about that. Here we are, fourteen episodes watched. I feel a great many mixed emotions. Mainly relief. Come on, let’s power through this one.

Technically, it should be the Venom outside, because he covers your body. ...yes, I'm nitpicking.
The episode opens up on New York, which instantly tells me that this is going to be a crossover with either Ultimate Spider-Man or Avengers Assemble. Most likely Spider-Man, seeing as how the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. Hulk doesn’t match the angry Hulk seen in Avengers Assemble. One could come up with explanations to tie these two versions together, but I don’t have the wherewithal to do so. Anyway, New York. With a rallying cry of “Time to smash,” the Hulk leads his team in the destruction of a building. Their dialogue seems to imply that they’ve gone berserk and are now on a rampage, but the darkness inside the building and the absence of people leads me to believe that the Hulks are actually doing some demolition work.

Meanwhile, Spider-Man swings over to the building, intent on ending the Hulk’s smashing spree. As he swings inside, the whole thing crumbles down. Spider-man emerges from the rubble and webs up the Hulks, and a nearby crowd yells at him. As it turns out, I was right; the Hulks were in the middle of doing work for “SMASHING for Hope,” their new charity. Now, I have to say that the idea of the Hulks opening up a free demolition service… is a good one. Seriously, think about it. What with all the supervillains attacking New York, there’s probably more of a call for construction than destruction, which would likely mean that demolition teams wouldn’t be as necessary, and are therefore less prevalent. With all the urgent need for rebuilding buildings, there would probably not be many teams available to tear one down.

…wait, am I worldbuilding based on a throwaway opening to an episode of Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. after outright stating that I didn’t have the wherewithal to justify the conflicting portrayals of the Hulk across two shows? I need to decide whether or not I care.

"My bad" isn't gonna cut it for web fluid to the face.
Anyway, Spider-Man gets all embarrassed, hits a bell, and Rick tries to talk Spidey into being a guest-smasher. Spidey declines, but his Spidey-Sense goes crazy, as an octopus robot fires missiles at them, hitting Skaar. Skaar quickly gets enveloped in black goo and emerges as Venom. Cue intro.

Okay, I need to do some explaining. Over in Ultimate Spider-Man, Doctor Octopus is a greasy-haired, betentacled madman who routinely bioengineers weapons. One time, he got ahold of Spider-Man’s blood and made the Venom symbiote. Why am I telling you this? Because this episode seems to be assuming that either you watch Ultimate Spider-Man, or your imminent confusion will make you want to. Anyway, let’s continue. Venom/Skaar attacks, and the Hulks try to figure out what’s going on.

A-Bomb: “Definitely some kind of blobby alien. Probably hitched a ride on a meteor!”

Interesting that this show is considered the weakest of Marvel's three cartoons at the moment, and it just made a reference to the weakest of the Raimi Spider-Man films. Or possibly the 90's Spider-Man cartoon, but I don't know if I should give them that much credit. (Thank you, anonymous commenter!) Still, cute reference, writers.

Spider-Man give them a quick rundown (which only tells them what they’ve already seen) and runs of to find the Octo-drone. The Hulks start attacking Venom/Skaar, but its/their combined might makes it quite difficult. Spidey manages to break the drone, and yells at Doc Ock through the drone’s camera. Ock explains that he wanted to pull an A-bomb and film his greatest triumph of creating a Venomized Hulk. Spidey destroys the drone, and the Hulks up the ante by equipping their weapons to attack Skaar. Unfortunately, She-Hulk gets absorbed by Venom, and it spits out Skaar. More fighting, and the Venom starts draining the Hulks’ Gamma energy to grow some more.

Spidey tells them that they have to defeat it without touching it, so they start throwing I-beams at it. She-Hulk tries to break free and fails. A-Bomb goes in swinging, and gets switched out for She-Hulk. While Venom tries to penetrate A-Bomb’s armor, Hulk leads a new assault where Red Hulk gets switched out.

At this point, the Hulks decide to fight smarter, not harder, but Rulk gets switched out for Hulk anyway. I’ve got two words for this symbiote: Village. Bicycle. Venom/Hulk is now about ten stories tall and smashing away. Spider-Man correctly deduces that Doc Ock’s plan from the start was to create a Venom/Hulk. Wait, didn’t Doc Ock outright admit that?

Anyway, Venom/Hulk fights the others, and Spidey formulates a plan to zap Venom to death with some power lines. The Hulks pull a couple transformer towers into Venom/Hulk thanks to Spidey’s distraction, but it doesn’t work. A-bomb calls upon his movie knowledge to come up with the plan of freezing it, and Doc Ock monologues about Venom/Hulk’s immunity to electricity. Rulk and Shulk get in the Hulkjet and open fire on the monster, which grabs onto the jet and brings it down in a massive explosion. A-Bomb drives a truck of liquid nitrogen right into the beast, which picks it up and tries to eat it. Skaar leaps up and cuts the tank open, freezing the Venom/Hulk solid, allowing Hulk to partially smash his way out. Spidey webs him, and the Hulks pull as hard as they can, freeing the Hulk.

The symbiote shrinks away, but reforms, grabbing everyone but the Hulk and Spidey. The newly-born “Gamma Venom,” speaking in the voices of all the Hulks, attacks and tries to devour the surviving heroes.

To be fair to the show, this is almost as awesome as that time Venom took over a robotic Galactus.
After, again, almost being eaten by Gamma Venom, Hulk yells with enough volume to destabilize it. Realizing that sound’s the monster’s weakness, Hulk tells Spidey to remodulate one of Rulk’s nearby sonic weapons, and Spidey fires it, weakening Venom. Unfortunately, again, Venoms’s not down and out. It starts bubbling (which Doc Ock monologues is due to it reaching critical mass), and prepares to explode, assimilating the whole city. Hulk and Spidey escape, and Hulk tells Spidey to lure Venom out of the city through the Lincoln tunnel. Hulk leaps away, and Spidey goes to do his job.

Venom chases Spidey through the tunnel, and Hulk comes in at the last second with a bell that was present when the Hulks were demolishing the building at the beginning of the episode. Cute reference. Hulk rings the giant bell, and the sound waves weaken the monster. The Agents of S.M.A.S.H. escape and ring the bell in unison, destroying Venom and rendering all the Hulks temporarily deaf.

Hulk admits that they should have listened to Spidey’s earlier advice about not relying on their fists, which is a lesson that they’ve “learned” several times already. Anyway, New York applauds the heroes, and Spidey says that he’ll get Nick Fury take care of Doc Ock. Doc Ock, meanwhile, panics in his base at the loss of his camera feed. The Hulks and Spidey burst in, and they prepare to smash.

A-Bomb: “Ah-hahahaha… you’re gonna get punched a lot.”

In the cutaway, Hulk muses over the lesson of the day.

Hulk: “Ya know, I like solutions that don’t always involve smashing.”
A-Bomb: “Well, technically, we smashed a bell. So… there’s that.”

Hulk delivers the lesson to the camera, and A-Bomb says that they need to thank Doc Ock for the extra camera footage, neatly tying up the plot hole of where Rick got the footage of Doc Ock from. Witty banter, the end.

Now, I'd like to apologize for the lack of snark in that recap. Like the pilot of the Super Hero Squad Show, the whole thing was mostly fight scenes, which are inherently hard to make fun of. Now let's review. I can still do that unimpeded.


  1. Technically, the "Symbiote from meteor" origin originated from the 1994 Spider-Man cartoon, not Spider-Man 3. Sorry to nitpick, but that was just bugging my inner Spider-geek.

  2. Oh my gosh, thank you! I was trying to remember where else they did that! I can't believe I forgot that, I grew up with that show! I shall update this recap post haste!

  3. You're welcome!

    PS, I'm the same guy that requested the Grim Reaper redesign, and corrected the "She-Hulk comes from LA" thing in the Hulks on Ice recap. I think I need a signature to keep things straight.

    - That One Anon