Monday, March 31, 2014

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

Back to Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. for this last March outing. Will we end with a bang or a whimper? Let's find out.

Bang, whimper, whatever. We all know it's ending with a smash.
This episode begins as so many do; the Hulks are flying off in their jet to where the action is. As A-Bomb explains to the camera, today’s action is “some kind of dimensional breach” in Iceland. The Hulks banter for a bit, but they quickly spot Thor and the Warriors Three fighting Dark Elves. The Warriors Three are composed of Hogun (who looks like he should be fighting alongside Genghis Khan), Fandral (the goateed swashbuckler), and Volstagg (the fat one).

The Hulkjet shoots the Hulks out through some kind of gun that has never appeared before, and will likely never appear again. They charge into battle and start a-smashing.

Hulk: “Never bring a sword to a slugfest.”

Um, why not? The sword gives you both a cutting edge as well as range when compar… never mind. As they fight, She-Hulk notes that these guys don’t look like Frost Giants, and Thor fills them in on the details of the bad guys. Apparently, the Dark Elves have no home of their own and want to take over Earth. And with those words, the main reason I don’t like this episode rears its ugly head. But we’ll get there.

Back in the episode, they all manage to hold back the Elven invasion, so Malekith, leader of the Dark Elves, drops by to join the fray. He uses some sort of magic… thing (coughAEthercough) to darken the area, which gives the darkness-dwelling Dark Elves an advantage. After the intro, we rejoin the Hulks as Malekith orders the Elves to destroy the Hulks. During the battle, Thor and the Warriors Three begin to take a liking to Thor. The heroes manage to dispel the darkness and force the Dark Elves back to whence they came, and celebrations are had by all. Thor talks to Hulk about Skaar seeming like the odd man out on Earth, but Hulk insists that Skaar fits in fine.

Rick (cutaway): “’Fits in fine?’ Yeah, uh-heh, no.”

We then see this to be the case, as we are treated to Skaar yelling a battle cry of “Skaar flush!” while attacking a toilet with a plunger. …under protest, I laughed at that.

Back with the team, Thor invites the team to Asgard to further celebrate. Heimdall, the guardian of the Rainbow Bridge zaps them to Asgard (depicted exactly as it is in the Thor films), and they all go to the Great Hall, passing a gigantic sword on the way in an equally gigantic sheath. Thor tells Skaar not to touch the “Odinsword,” and the Viking-style revelry soon begins. Skaar takes to this well, but some of the others…

Hulk: “Try not to punch Fandral.”
She-Hulk: “The little skinny guy? Why would I want to punch Fandral?”
Fandral: “Well, hello, tall, green and…”
She-Hulk: “Sorry. He made it so easy.”

"Forget Thor. I'll show you a hammer."
Meanwhile, Red Hulk glares at the distrusting Heimdall as Skaar fork-fights Hogun over a chicken and wins. With this, Thor invites Skaar to stay in Asgard and become a member of the Elite Guard. But, surely, Skaar can’t leave his friends, right?

Skaar: “Skaar stay!”

Never mind, then.

Hulk (cutaway): “Everything that makes Skaar an outsider on Earth makes him fit in here. Still, he’s… he’s family.”

Well, Hulk, it’s Skaar’s choice. If he’s happier in Asgard, let him stay. Maybe you can visit him sometimes? Hulk grudgingly agrees to let Skaar make his own choice, but wants to know what Malekith was after before he and his team leaves Asgard. Thor and Hulk begin to go ask Heimdall what’s what with the Dark Elves (seeing as how he can literally see anywhere), and Skaar tries to tag along. Thor tells him no, because with Odin on a mission, all the guards are needed in Asgard. And that’s our explanation for why Odin does not appear.

Thor takes Skaar to the prison and explains the situation:
•    No one goes in or out.
•    There is only one prisoner.
•    Don’t listen to him.

Before Thor can say the prisoner’s name, he hears a bilgesnipe and heads off. Skaar, meanwhile, goes to break each and every one of these rules by heading into the prison to investigate which prisoner is calling his name. (Again, there is only one prisoner.) High in the tower, he discovers… Loki! To no one’s surprise.
I’ll summarize this next bit: Loki manipulates Skaar’s emotions to get him to go and pull the Odinsword out of its sheath in a display of strength and bravery. (Again, Thor told Skaar to not listen to Loki. Skaar, you’re too dumb to live.)

But before that happens, Thor and the other Agents of S.M.A.S.H. meet with Heimdall, who says that the Dark Elves are disguising their whereabouts with dark magic, and they’re searching the universe for more dark energy to power their evil spells. Suddenly, Heimdall gets a vision of the Odinsword being unsheathed, and goes to stop Skaar. Skaar pulls the sword slightly out of its sheath, unleashing a swarm of Kirby Dots, which are likely there to represent dark energy. Heimdall resheathes the sword and puts Skaar in chains, where the rest of the team finds them.

A-Bomb: “You pulled the “Don’t-Pull-This-Sword”-Sword, didn’t you?!”

Heimdall explains that fully pulling the sword out would bring the end of the world, but Thor counters with an undeniable point.

Thor: “The world still stands, Heimdall.”

Should I ever get arrested for anything, that will be the crux of my defense. Unless I’m under arrest for destroying the world.

Anyway, Thor is legally bound to sentence Skaar to 10,000 years in prison, and he does. Loki taunts the jail-bound Skaar, and he tries to grab Loki through the bars, discovering that they’re charged with painful energy. Hulk keeps protesting Skaar’s innocence to Thor, who thinks about it.

Thor: “There was no one for him to talk to in the prison except for… Loki.”

What a shock! The trickster god tricked someone!

But it seems that they need proof. A-bomb whips out his cameras, but it seems that Loki tampered with the footage to make Skaar gleefully announce his plan to start Ragnarok by pulling the Odinsword. Oops. Thor’s plan is to vouch for Skaar when Odin gets back, and maybe Skaar will get out of jail after 500 years. The Agents of S.M.A.S.H. refuse to leave when Thor asks them to, and the jailbreak begins!

There’s a kerfuffle between Thor and the Warriors three and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H., and they break Skaar out. But as Thor blocks the road out of Asgard, all the Dark Elves show up to attack Asgard and harness the dark energy that Skaar released. The Agents decide, at Skaar’s request, to go help the Asgardians, but not before sending a camera to keep an eye on Loki.

The Battle of Helm’s Deep, I mean, Asgard begins, and the orcs, I mean, Dark Elves attack the city. Malekith absorbs the ambient dark energy, and transforms into a new, dumber looking form.

As someone who often redesigns characters... this needs work.
He contacts Loki, who reveals that he betrayed Asgard and helped Skaar unleash the dark energy in exchange for the freedom that Malekith is withholding from him until the city belongs to the Dark Elves. Hulk tries to apologize as he and Thor fight their common enemy.

Thor: “Save your breath. Skaar’s a fool. Just as empty-headed as you are.”
Hulk: “I’m trying to APOLOGIZE, YOU BLONDE-HAIRED JERK! …You did that on purpose.”
Thor: “What can I say? I like you when you’re angry.”

Oh, just make out already, you two.

The fight goes on, and Loki tells Malekith to pull the sword again and release more energy. Skaar grabs the giant sword and uses it to attack the villains with the sword still in its sheath. After beign hit by Malekith’s blasts, Skaar and Hulk play keep away with the Odinsword while Thor summons enough lightning to weaken Malekith. Hulk smacks him with the Odinsword back into the dark energy portal, and all the other Dark Elves retreat.

Skaar is celebrated as a hero, and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. get medals in a big, Star Wars-esque ceremony. She-Hulk tells Fandral to call her (???), and Skaar slams Loki into the zappy jail cell doors. Thor apologizes to Skaar and welcomes him back to the guard, but Skaar (for some reason) has changed his mind and decided to stay with the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. I guess because family? Except that Skaar never really showed any sign of character growth this episode.

But let’s just review this episode already.


  1. "Thor: “What can I say? I like you when you’re angry.”"

    Am I alone in rather liking this line?

    1. It's not a bad line, but I'm sure that the Thor/Hulk shippers like it the best.