Monday, June 23, 2014

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

Another Recap, another Review. But this time, I think it's time to give A-Bomb an examination. Not medically, no. I mean like the ones I did for Red Hulk and She-Hulk.

For what is really the first time, A-Bomb has stopped ignoring the fact that regular people hate and fear him. In the premiere, he was wisecracking, and generally being the comic relief while also being oblivious to his situation. Ditto for when the team went to the mall. But the beginning of this episode shows us that, despite having the most popular vlog watched by villains and time travelers, A-Bomb is seen by people on the street as a monster. It's little wonder that he falls in love with a redheaded princess who grew up surrounded by stranger-looking people.

And... well, that's kind of it. Being the comic relief member of the team, his character growth is kept at a minimum. Pff, this is the first time he's had anything that could be called "character."

When it comes to the guest stars, I'm torn. On the one hand, the Inhumans' racially-inspired isolation rubs me the wrong way (especially Medusa's out-and-out racism; even after she changes her mind, she leaves a bad taste in my mouth), but it's an accurate portrayal of the characters involved. I'll give this episode a pass in that regard, but mainly because there's other things to criticize.

As for the story, this episode's plot was the Fantastic Four issue where Johnny and Crystal fall in love with a coat of Hulk-paint slapped over it. The episode's pacing suffers as a result. At some parts, it's not really an episode so much as a sequence of recycled plot points, but I already elaborated on that point. It's odd because there's some Silver Age goofiness, like Maximus' fighter plane, Crystal hanging out at a beach, and a weapon that vibrates only humans to death. But the Silver Age-ness clashes with the more "realistic" aesthetic of the show.

Relatively speaking, of course.
It's like if Krypto were to appear in Superman vs. Batman; the tones just don't work together. It wasn't terribly executed, but it's still a standard Marvel plot for a different team of heroes. What hack wrote this episode again?

The internet says it's Adam Beechen, who helped write the critically panned Countdown over at DC Comics. Geez, Linkara was right. Crappy comic-related stuff can all be tracked back to Countdown. He also wrote the piece of crap episode "The Skaar Whisperer," (Beechen, not Linkara) and... two of my favorite Batman: TBATB episodes? "Invasion of the Secret Santas!" and "The Super-Batman of Planet X!"? To be fair, he also did a couple okay episodes of The Batman. I guess he's not really a hack, just an inconsistent writer. Sorry, man. My bad. You know, it can be so easy to throw out insults all willy-nilly, but there really is a lot of time and effort invested by these creative teams. No one sets out to make a bad episode. On the other hand, if you're just recycling a standard plot with different characters, then maybe you need to put in a smidge more effort.

Having said that, there's one thing I do like. Crystal and Rick become and item... and they're not separated by the barrier in the end. Do you know what this means?! There could actually be character growth! Things that happen might actually matter from episode to episode! There could be... dare I say it? ...continuity. Heck, the jet might even start talking again once we open the doors to that.

This episode may have been a recycled script, but the ending does leave the door open for a shake up to the status quo. I lamented at the end of "Deathlok" how it was a real shame that Deathlok didn't join the team. But with Crystal possibly on board? It actually shows a modicum of creativity. I guess every cloud has a silver lining.

See you next time, when we see whether or not Crystal gets exiled to the same limbo that the talking Hulkjet was relegated to.


  1. Sooo, they are starting to care a little more about Kirby's creations. Don't you think?

    1. I don't think so. If they actually cared, they wouldn't be plagiarizing. It seems more like they've been trying to draw in the Silver Age fans by utilizing the classic Kirby creations, like Goom, the Inhumans, Devil Dinosaur, etc.

    2. So, should we be expecting characters like Machine Man or the Celestials? Tough that begs the question of why Terrax and not Silver Surfer