Sunday, May 25, 2014

Recap: Avengers EMH "Hulk vs the World"

Today, we look at the compilation of the Hulk's episodes, with Hawkeye and Black Widow piggybacking onto the end. Because they're apparently not allowed to get their own episodes or films.

The bird, the spider, and the monster. But not even a single evil ex-boyfriend.
The episode opens on a shot of the Nevada desert. For one terrible second, a part of me braces to see the Gamma Base from Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H., but the terror passes as the camera pans over to see a skinny guy with a cap and backpack walking down a desert road. Insert sad piano music here. Actually, the music is nothing more than tense percussion as the man reaches his destination: Las Vegas.

The man wades unseen through the tourists, passing such famous Vegas landmarks as “Souveniers” and “Hotel” and “Love”. (The latter, of course, being the kids-friendly version of “strip bar” or “brothel”. Though, I must admit, I was in elementary school the last time I went to Vegas, so I don’t actually know if Vegas has brothels. I’d look it up, but I’d rather not have to explain why “Vegas brothel” is in my search history to my girlfriend.) Anyway, as he passes Hotel, he pulls his hat down to avoid the gaze of a cop car. The problem is that trying to avoid the gaze of a police officer is a surefire way to get noticed. The cop illegally parks perpendicular to the sidewalk in the oddly empty Vegas street and gets out. Suspicious-man flees, and the officer gives chase, over a trash can, past a guy trying to find a prostitute, and over a taxi. Suspicious-man ducks into an alley, giving the policeman the slip. As he catches his breath, his eyes glow an ominous green and visibly struggles to get his heart rate down.

Suddenly, some kind of giant vehicle slowly moves past the alley. As it passes the famous Vegas destination “Showgirls,” we see that it is, in fact, three turrets mounted to tank treads. One of the vehicles’ pilots reports in that a police officer sighted the man they’re chasing, but he gave him the slip. His superior, General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross starts barking out orders, revealing the secret identity of Suspicious-man.

General Ross: “It’s him. The Hulk is in Vegas! Radio Samson at the Cube! Tell him to get a containment cell ready!”

The soldier asks why Dr. Banner would be in Vegas, after avoiding populated areas for so long. Isn’t it obvious? Dr. Banner’s gonna hit the slots! General Ross, however, doesn’t care about the “whys,” just the results. Dr. Banner, meanwhile, sits in a doorway, typing furiously on a laptop. A quick glance at his screen reveals that he’s looking at a cuboid-shaped building, which apparently contains the Leader and the Abomination as prisoners. He pulls up another image, a bald guy, and gets a ping from his laptop. This apparently means something because Dr. Banner gasps and runs off.

Sometime later, the good doctor arrives at a truck stop diner, where he quickly finds the bald guy. Said bald guy is a gigantic, bulging muscle of a man. Dr. Banner orders some coffee (decaf), and talks to the soup-eating bald guy, Carl “Crusher” Creel.

"Waiter, there's a dead fly in my soup!" 
"Yes, sir, it's the hot water that kills them."
There you go, a fly-in-the-soup joke. Are you not entertained?
Banner tells him he’s here to help, but Creel just wants to know how Banner found him. He reveals that Creel’s been emitting high amounts of Gamma radiation, and tracked him that way. He goes on to reveal that he knows about where they took Creel, and what they did there.

Banner: “The Cube. The Cube is a supervillain prison, specializing in subjects that have been exposed to radiation. Which created monsters from men. Dangerous abominations. You were there. I’m asking you to tell me what you know about the Gamma experiments. You see, what I’m afraid of is that S.H.I.E.L.D. isn’t trying to cure these people. I’m afraid they’re trying to turn them into weapons.”

Why would they do that? They already stole Tony Stark’s armor technology. Now they have the nerve to cut in on the Hulk’s turf? Have they no shame? Are they going to steal Hawkeye’s arrows, too?

Creel: “You know, it’s funny. You never asked me how I escaped.”

As he says this, his whole body becomes as metallic as the spoon he’s holding. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it’s the Absorbing Man. The wannabe Colossus pushes Banner out of the diner, trying to bring out the Hulk. Unfortunately for Creel… he gets his wish.

Bruce Banner’s muscles expand, unevenly and grotesquely, as his skin darkens into a healthy shade of green. Finally, Hulk stands up, towering over the Absorbing Man, who’s quite tall himself. The Hulk looks at Creel, and eloquently states his dissatisfaction with his current situation, in his own particular idiom.


We cut to military-guys in helicopters en route to the Hulk, then we cut to Hulk and Absorbing Man brawling their way through the desert. The airplane-alloy Absorbing Man forms his fists into hammers, and beats into the Hulk. He taunts the Hulk, saying he’s gone soft for redirecting their fight away from civilians.

Stop. Hammer time.
Hmmmm… could the Hulk be more heroic than previously thought?

Absorbing Man: “Those people you’re protecting? They think you’re more of a monster than me!”

Well, the thing about fighting the Hulk is the madder he gets, the stronger he gets. Taunting? Not a good tactic. Hulk starts unleashing his fury on Absorbing Man, who made the mistake of absorbing the properties of rock.


But before Hulk can shatter him, Hulk gets hit by a missile. Yep, the army’s on it way in force, with turret-tanks (identified by Ross as “Hulk-Busters”), helicopters, and more. They open fire with everything they’ve got. But it’s not enough. Hulk takes out a ‘copter, and uses its weapons to take out the rest of the army. General Ross tries to keep the fight going, but he gets an order over the comm to withdraw all of his troops from a superior officer, a Russian-accented redhead. She and a purple-clad archer ride in a stealth fighter to the scene and prepare to jump out as Hulk’s battle with the military continues.

The stealth fighter hovers over the Hulk, and the two operatives leap out on a zipline, revealing themselves to be (for anyone not paying attention to the clues) Hawkeye and Black Widow. A confused Hulk watches as two arrows end up stuck to his chest as the two land.

Hawkeye: “Tick tick boom.”

And that’s exactly what happens, as the two arrows detonate, obscuring the area in thick smoke. Of course, the Hulk wasn’t actually taken out by the arrows. But now he’s really angry.

Hawkeye: “Really. ‘Cause from where I’m standing, you look more ‘beat-up’ than ‘angry.’”

Yeah, maybe not anger the rage-fueled monster-man? Kthx.

Hawkeye unleashes a barrage of stun, gas, and electric arrows, and Black Widow jumps around while firing her wrist-stingers, culminating in a cryo-arrow from Hawkeye that encases the Hulk in ice. To the shock of no one, the Hulk breaks free, but gets blinded by a flashbomb arrow.
Everything but a boxing glove arrow. That's the guy from DC.
Meanwhile, General Ross yells at the two over the comm-link. The Hulk is his mission, blah blah blah.
Ross goes against his orders and opens fire at the Hulk, despite Black Widow’s continuing orders as well as the fact that she and Hawkeye are in the line of fire. Hulk, having regained his vision, leaps into the missile to save the two. Unfortunately, this causes a rock formation to fall over and hit the stealth fighter. Said stealth fighter appears to be piloted by S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Bobbi Morse (Hawkeye’s wife, in the comics). Nice touch.

Hulk leaps up and saves the fighter, despite having an opportunity to make a clean getaway. He gently sets the fighter down (well, as gently as the Hulk can), and gets taken out by the Black Widow’s “stingers.” Hulk reverts into Bruce Banner and is quickly flown to the Cube.

Hawkeye enters the Cube and walks past all the Gamma-mutates. I can see Vapor, Bi-Beast, X-Ray, the Leader, Ironclad, Radioactive Man (who, despite leaking green gas, is not in a radiation proof cell), and Abomination…. Yep, steel bars with definitely hold these guys. Also, all of these guys are emitting Gamma rays? Yeah, Hawkeye’s probably going to be firing blanks from now on.
Just look at that healthy green glow.
Dr. Leonard Samson, determined to find a cure for the Hulk, takes a blood sample from the chained-up Banner, who protests that the Hulk have intelligence and a possibility to coexist with humans. Hawkeye enters as Samson leaves, and asks about the Hulk.

Hawkeye: “Why did the Hulk save that ship? He could’ve just escaped. I saw it. He had a way out, but he saved my crew, instead. Why?”

Banner counters by saying that he should really be asking what S.H.I.E.L.D. wants the Hulk for.

Banner: “Do you really think the Cube is a jail? And now they have samples of my blood! The hulk’s blood! You think they want to cure me? They don’t. They want to make more of me.”

Dun dun dunnnn!

Hawkeye leaves his meeting with Banner, only to see the Black Widow swipe a card and go into a room, filled with all sorts of SCIENCE. She swipes a sample of Hulk’s blood and exits. Well, that sure got Hawkeye’s curiosity all up in a dander, so he uses the computer in the aircraft outside to look into Black Widow’s files.

Computer: “Password Required.”
Hawkeye: “…spider.”

Jeez, Hawkeye. Haven’t you played Marvel: Ultimate Alliance? It’s "Gabe Jones"!

Computer: “Access Denied.”
Hawkeye: “Sting.”
Computer: “Access Denied.”

Of course it wasn’t Sting. Spiders hate Sting, whether it be the sword or the singer. Don’t ask me to explain the latter; I’m not a biologist.

Hawkeye: “Venom.”
Computer: “Access Denied.”

Wrong show, there, Clint.

Hawkeye: “Web.”
Computer: “Access Denied.”

Wow, this is more tries before I get locked out of my own computer.

Hawkeye: “Hourglass.”
Computer: “Access Denied.”
Hawkeye: “Clint?”
Computer: “Access Denied.”

Nice try, buddy. E for effort.

Hawkeye: Come on, you stupid piece o’ junk, I just…”
Computer: “Access Denied.”

Okay, that was funny.

Hawkeye: “…Red Room.”
Computer: “Access Granted.”

Yeah, no one but comic nerds are going to get that reference, show. Thanks for it, though.

Anyway, he finds the most recent report, and a hologram of the Widow pops up, and she delivers a double agent report. “They suspect nothing,” “according to plan,” etc. As it turns out, Black Widow’s not under any orders from Nick Fury. She was sent to capture the Hulk and get a blood sample for… HYDRA.
"Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi."
Meanwhile, Black Widow drives off into the desert to the rendezvous, followed by Hawkeye on his sky-cycle. Widow arrives at the drop off point, only to be ambushed by Hawkeye, who demands answers. He wants to know why he betrayed S.H.I.E.L.D., so she turns the question on him and demands to know why he betrayed S.H.I.E.L.D.

What, Hawkeye betray S.H.I.E.L.D.? Like that would ever....

Oh. Right.
Before you can say “Whah-hunh?” she loses her Russian accent and accuses Hawkeye of being in league with HYDRA. She takes out the two HYDRA goons present and declares Hawkeye to be a double agent to the hidden S.H.I.E.L.D. squad. After a kerfuffle, Black Widow takes out Hawkeye and orders the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents to put him in solitary at “the Vault.”

The agents fly off with their new prisoner, and Black Widow stays behind to talk (complete with evil Russian accent) in her commlink to HYDRA, while examining her vial of Hulk blood.

Black Widow: “It worked. We’ll need to arrange a new drop. But, as far as S.H.I.E.L.D. is concerned, I just took down a traitorous double agent. Hail HYDRA.”

Speaking of, I have now seen Winter Soldier. You should, too.

Anyway, it ends… for now.

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