Monday, July 7, 2014

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

Spoiler Alert: Crystal doesn't even get mentioned this week. So much for that status quo shake-up I was hoping for.

Why should I expect any different?
We open up on the sleepy Hulk getting his blankie out of the dryer. It's been a long month of fighting and the guy needs his sleep. Unfortunately, someone (A-Bomb) installed a gizmo into the base that makes sound effects when stuff happens. The lights make a flush sound, the microwave does fart sounds, etc. More and more, A-Bomb is making me think his name should be A-Hole. Luckily, Hulk manages to rip A-Hole's annoying gadget out of the mainframe.

Hulk ends up getting so fed up with the team that he gets in the Hulkjet and sets it to fly on autopilot while he naps. Unfortunately, it's an established fact that the jet will be destroyed every episode, so it gets shot down over a tropical island. After waking up in a crater, he has a fight with a giant, pink ape. Noticing all the monsters running around, Hulk realizes that he's crashed on none other than the imaginatively named Monster Island. He explains to Rick's floating cameras that this is where all the monsters that attack New York and Tokyo get sent after superheroes defeat them.

Hulk finds the black box and sends out a distress signal. Back at base, a cricket starts chirping, and the team vows to kill it dead because it's annoying. Then why is A-Bomb still alive? They start fighting over who the leader should be, and we cut back to Hulk. Hulk stumbles across a nest, and finds some ostrich-sized eggs. He decides to make an omelette, but ends up defending the eggs from a gigantic, carnivorous turtle. In a nice touch, he throws it away, which sends it spinning through the air like Gamera.

Before he can do anything with eggs, they hatch into four monsters that become quite attached to the Hulk, following him as he leaves the nest. Back at base, the Hulks are wrecking the place while searching for the cricket. Back with Hulk, the little monsters are eating sticks and shedding their skin as they grow a bit. After they grow, they change color. One red, one green, one blue, one grey.

Huh I wonder what parallel the writers are trying to get across it is just so subtle.
Hulk decides to look after them and... ugh, really? When has the comedic surrogate parent plot ever worked in any story?

Hulk: "Aw, crackers, now what?"

...did the Hulk just say "Aw, crackers"? I'm sorry, but "Aw, crackers" is not a thing that the Hulk would ever say.

He burps one of these monstrosities and gets a face full of flame breath. Suddenly, a ship arrives and ejects a man riding a giant bird. He reveals that he was the one who shot the Hulk down, and introduces himself as Arkon.

More like "Nimrod the Hunter," as we shall see.
Now, I like to think that I'm pretty knowledgeable. By no accounts do I consider myself to be a comics historian, but I like to think I have some obscure knowledge tucked away in my brain. Having said that, I have never heard of Arkon before. Let that sink in for a moment. I've heard of such characters as the Bug-Eyed Bandit, the Hypno-Hustler, Planet Master, Bantam, Captain 3-D, and more. But Arkon? Not ringing any bells, unless he's one of the Mesopotamians, from that They Might Be Giants song. But then where are Hammurabi, Ashurbanipal, and Gilgamesh?

Back in the episode, Arkon demands that Hulk step away from his "prey." Oh, yes, because baby monsters are the most dangerous of prey. Arkon zaps Hulk with one of the lightning bolts in his quiver, and Hulk takes the little monsters and runs. More lightning bolts follow, and the monsters run away. Hulk leaps up and hits Arkon a few times before retreating, and Arkon decides to go after the Hulk instead of the baby monsters. Speaking of the baby monsters, they meet back up with the Hulk.

Back at base, they're bringing out the heavy artillery and destroying their base from the inside to kill a cricket. If these Hulks get any more mindlessly violent, Hulk's going to have to put them down Of Mice and Men style.

Back with the Hulk, he's carrying the baby beasts up a mountain in a backpack, hoping he can get a better signal for his distress beacon at the top. The babies hop out as he climbs and end up getting trapped by an electro-snare. Arkon comes to gather them, and gets a faceful of fists from the Hulk. He has his mount snatch the holo-snare and fly away to his lair. Hulk then decides Why, Hulk? WHY ARE YOU GOING AFTER THE BABY MONSTERS? Yes, they're only baby monsters... but they're baby monsters. They're mindless freaks of nature who only exist to disrupt an ecosystem by their very presence. They're living natural disasters. Let them die.

Back at base, more destruction, more frustration. You all realize that the "cricket" will no doubt be Hulk's SOS with the sound effect changed by A-Hole's gizmo, right? Because it's pretty dang obvious.

The Hulk arrives at Arkon's lair, but ends up captured. Arkon gloats about his new plan for the hunt.

Arkon: "I wasn't interested in pursuing you, but as you continued to defy me, I became intrigued, Hulk. Yes, I've learned everything about you. About the recording devices chronicling your 'heroic' life." 

Do only the villains watch Rick's vlog?

I would give anything to read the in-universe comments.
Hulk gets taken into the lair and stuck with the babies' mother: a 20-foot fully grown Goom. Of all the classic Marvel monsters to showcase, they chose Goom? I guess that means that those little Gooms are all Googam, son of Goom.
"Booga booga booga!"
Evil plan time! Arkon wants to hunt the heroes of Earth, and he's going to train the little Gooms to fight for him. Oh, so Arkon's going to be ripping off Kraven the Hunter. K.
Hulk fights the acid-spewing Goom, and tricks it into acidifying a hole in the wall, letting the mother-Goom reunite with its babies. Hulk smashes free and fights Arkon with some help from Goom. The lair explodes. Because why not. Hulk and the Gooms get out of the flying base, sentence Arkon to wander the island without his ship-base or his weapons, and Hulk finds a HulkJet pod that lets him get home.

Back at the decimated base, the Hulks are playing Go Fish when Hulk arrives. The cricket chirps again, and Hulk determines that it's his SOS, with the alarm sound changed by Rick's still-functioning gizmo.

A-Bomb: "That's... that was funny, right?"

Not in any way, shape, or form.

They all go for pizza, Hulk delivers the lesson about family, the episode ends. Let's review.

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