Monday, June 23, 2014

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

As I return to Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. like Sherlock Holmes to a dingy opium den, I must admit that I feel a certain apprehension. On the one hand, the show's mostly been improving, like fine cheese being cultivated from expired milk. On the other hand, the final part of the season before the finale might be a haven for less-than-stellar material, shoved to the end in the hopes that the audience is already hooked like... shoot, I already used my Sherlock/opium reference.

But you know what? I'm going to keep an open mind. I am a frickin' fountain of inner peace. Let's go.

I am Zen as S#!%.
We begin with a shot of A-Bomb's cobalt face. He tells the audience that he and Skaar are at the beach, and this is indeed true. They walk down the beach with surfboards as beach goers run away in fear and terror. A-Bomb goes to hit the waves while Skaar (who I just noticed has a wooden plank instead of a surfboard) tries to make friends over by the ice cream stand. A-Bomb clears the water by cannonballing in and also wrestles a shark just for funsies. For some reason, shark-wrestling freaks out all the beach goers but one.

???: "Your bravery is so beautiful."

Naturally, being neither brave nor beautiful, A-Bomb is confused. This lovely lady introduces herself as Crystal. With that name, her odd uniform, and those weird hairbands in her hair that identify her as a Jack Kirby creation, comic fans will know that she's a princess of the Inhumans. You may be asking, will this episode be taking inspiration from the Fantastic Four story where she and Johnny fall in love in the face of prejudice and deceit?

No. They'll be outright ripping it off.

This, but with a blue monster-guy.
A-Bomb falls in love instantly, as shown by the fireworks in his eyes, the heart-shaped pupils, and the shot of a cartoon hot dog running into a bun. Yes, I'm pretty sure that was a euphemism. But I entertain the theory that A-Bomb doesn't wear pants because his nethers mutated into a cloaca, so I'm not sure who the "hot dog" is supposed to be in this equation....

I swear, if anyone makes a comment that makes me pine for some mental bleach, I'm sending Liam Neeson after you.
Rick introduces himself, and Crystal states that she'll use him to prove that mankind is not evil.

A-Bomb: "Saaaay... what again?"

Suddenly, a hooded fish-guy named Triton emerges from the water and summons his giant dog, Lockjaw, to teleport them all away. Skaar watches all this, and is just as confused as some of you right now. After the titles, Skaar is back at the Gamma Base, explaining the situation, sounding crazy while doing so. But, seeing as how they're all giant monsters, this crazy story is relatively plausible, though they think that "fish-man" and "big dog" are just how Skaar sees the Abomination and maybe a Wendigo. So maybe the story's not that plausible.

Hulk has been tracking A-Bomb's radiation, and the computer pinpoints him in the Himalayas, on the other side of Earth.

Skaar: "Puppy fast."

They head off in the Hulkjet, and we see what Rick's up to. He's up to his neck in trouble. He's strapped down unconscious to an examination table while Crystal protests to someone that Rick proves that humans won't see her people as monsters, and that some guy named "Maximus" is wrong. Rick wakes up, and Crystal tells him to not worry. She continues explaining to the various Inhumans around the table that Rick is a true hero. They take Crystal away for more debating, and the Hulkjet arrives at the Himalayas. They crash into what appears to be another Hulkjet, but it was really a giant, mirrored, hologrammatic shield, protecting whatever this place is.

The jet crashes, and the team fails to break in by force. So they dig their way in, and arrive in the forbidden city of Attilan in a matter of seconds. I'm not buying it; my girlfriend's dog takes more time to dig under a chain link fence. Also, remember this moment for later. It'll hurt.

The Inhumans from earlier teleport in, and I'll do a quick rundown for you.

Not to be confused with N*Humn, their most popular boy band.
Karnak: He sees the flaw in anything. Superhumanly so. 
Medusa: The queen with prehensile hair 
Lockjaw: Big dog who can teleport.
Black Bolt: The king with the Nuke-level voice
Triton: The freaky fish-guy.
Gorgon: Makes earthquakes with his goat legs.
Maximus: The token transparent villain.

Maximus accuses the team of being human invaders, and the fight begins. Fighting happens. Crystal and Lockjaw teleport to go get Rick, and the fight continues. Hulk demands Rick back, and Black Bolt answers with his fist, knocking out the Hulk for a few seconds. Crystal returns, A-Bomb in tow, and stops the fighting with her wind powers. She accuses Maximus of secretly building weapons to destroy all humans, Maximus pulls the race card (said race being Inhuman), the Hulks declare peace, Black Bolt tells them to GTFO, Maximus whispers more poison into Black Bolt's ear, the team gets gassed except for A-Bomb, Maximus sends some Inhumans after A-Bomb, A-Bomb and Crystal sneak off to no doubt expose Maximus as evil, and the Hulks are taken away in shackles.

What? Was I going too fast? So was the show. Seriously, at times, this episode is more like a sequence of events and not a story, per se.

Look at A-Bomb. He's on a beach. Look again, there's a fish-guy. Look down. Look up. Where are we? Himalayas. Look at these Inhumans. Look away. Look again. Now they're villains. Look down. Look up. Now they're not. Yes they are.

Hulk strikes up a conversation with Medusa in an attempt to show that he's not evil. Medusa responds by explaining that the Inhumans were given powers by aliens in ancient times, then were driven out by fearful humans.

Hulk: "But you're still humans." 
Medusa: "We are the Inhumans, and nothing like mankind."

Except for, you know, being human. You're a subspecies at best, seeing as how Inhumans don't even develop powers until they're taken to a cave to breathe in mutagenic gas. Sooo... yeah, Medusa is, essentially, the Inhuman equivalent of a white supremacist.

Maximus declares that the "obliteration pits" have been prepared, and I have to say.... "Obliteration pits"? Sounds like something the Nazis would reject for sounding too evil. But Medusa proclaims that Black Bolt says the prisoners aren't going to be executed or allowed to leave.

Medusa: "Black Bolt has spoken, Maximus."

Uhh... no. He hasn't. He literally has not spoken a single word. You can tell because the city is still standing.

Meanwhile, Crystal and Rick search the weapon stash for Maximus' WMD's, only to encounter Triton and the others. In his haste to fight, Rick bumps the secret button that unveils the secret WMD's, which gets the others back onto Crystal's side.

But Maximus has shown up... somehow... to subdue Triton, Gorgon, and Karnak with energy rings. Meanwhile, the other Agents break free of their bonds as the WMD rises from the ground. Black Bolt, Medusa, and the Agents head toward it, and Medusa explains that it's a weapon designed to send out vibrations that will kill only human life all over the world. ...that's not how anything works.

Hulk tries smashing it, but that just turns the thing on, and it starts vibrating the Agents. Medusa and Black Bolt get restrained by the jet-flying Maximus... okay, this is getting silly. The heroes escape, there's a fight scene against Maximus in his fighter jet, he crashes, they destroy the weapon, but Crystal seems to be dead.

Rick: "I saw this in a movie once! RAAAAAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUR!"

This shocks Crystal into waking up, and just one second here.

That's part of the climax to The Avengers.
Wait, A-Bomb watched The Avengers?
Buh... I... Whah... Just... How...  Let me explain.

The Avengers is in continuity with Avengers Assemble. 
Avengers Assemble is in continuity with Ultimate Spider-Man. 
Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. is a spin-off from Ultimate Spider-Man
A-Bomb watched the (presumably fictional) Avengers film.

I give up. I surrender. No, really. Why should I care more than the creative team did?

Anyway, it's time for the show to throw us another plot-rush. A-Bomb and Crystal kiss, Hulk watches creepily, Skaar pets Lockjaw, Hulk and Black Bolt part on good terms, and Black Bolt unshields the city as a symbol of goodwill, Crystal promises to keep in touch, the Hulks leave, a Golden Age is declared, Maximus permanently reshields the city by breaking the controls, and only one of Rick's cameras is the only link to the outside world, and now the Inhumans are trapp-WAIT JUST ONE D@#% SECOND.

The Hulks got past the dome barrier just fine! They dug under the darn thing! What's stopping the Inhumans from doing the same? This plot hole's so big, you could fit all five Hulks in it! But no, everybody's all like "Woe is me! We're stuck forever! Alack and forsooth!" Don't worry, though. You can't have a Black Bolt guest-appearance without him saying something his his destructive voice.

Black Bolt: "...smash."

The barrier breaks, all is well, and Hulk delivers the lesson about being yourself, and not locking yourself away, making new friends, blah blah blah, the episode's over.

Review time! Find out why, despite my criticism, this episode may herald good things to come!


  1. Triton is NOT a freaky fish guy!

    Well, he is, but I couldn't resist the reference.

    - That One Anon

  2. so you understand that agents of smash was spun off from ultimate spider-man