Thursday, September 25, 2014

Review: Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. "Planet Leader"

If this "adaptation" of the Planet Hulk storyline were any less faithful, it would be wearing a little red A. Seriously, people. Read a book.

The only thing that this episode has in common with the Planet Hulk story arc is that it takes place on Sakaar, features the Hulk, and has other supporting characters show up to do nothing. You know those really crappy knockoff movies like Snakes on a Train and Ratatoing? The ones that only exist so that grandma can buy the wrong one on accident? (Happened to me once. I got Antz instead of A Bug's Life.) That's what this episode is.

Perhaps the Leader's scheme was actually an attempt to make Planet Hulk suck? Well played, Leader.
This episode is not an adaptation, it's a mockbuster. Heck, that's probably why this is called "Planet Leader." Even the writers knew that this was an inferior knockoff of Planet Hulk. Planet Hulk was a tragedy. It was about a destructive force being exiled to Hell. It was about a warrior learning how to use his brain. It was about a monster becoming a king. Way to screw all that up, show.

Now, I know I can muster up hyperbole something fierce, so you might tend to take my outbursts with a grain of salt. Please trust me when I say that this episode imply fails on multiple levels. Not like internet "fail," as in "it sucks," but as in "it didn't succeed at doing something." This episode fails to adapt a good story, and it fails at telling a different story well.

The writers had the options of doing a heartfelt love story or childish comedy. They chose poorly.
There are many more ways that I could tear this episode a new one. But instead of savagely ripping this episode apart, let's just take a look at Skaar's character. Forget for a moment that his "character arc" only comes up in the three-or-so episodes where it's important. Let's just ask five simple questions.

1. Why did Skaar have amnesia? 
As I mentioned, there's lip service paid to the idea of Leader making people forget things, but that's a cop out. Basically, the Leader took Skaar, wiped his mind, and took him to the Negative Zone to join Annihilus' army. Then, the Leader had him defect from Annihilus' army and join the Hulks as a double agent. Was there a goal to this at any point? Why did Leader need to wipe Skaar's mind for blackmail? Skaar was already a nasty piece of work, if his slave-driving past is any indication.

2. Why is his name almost the same as his homeworld when, in this version, he WASN'T named after his ravaged homeplanet?
That's like naming your kid "Erth", or Spock being called "Vulca."

3. Why does he look nothing like the other people on his planet if Hulk is apparently not his dad?
Is he still the Hulk's son? If he is... how? Time travel? Is he not Hulk's son? Then what is the point of including this character?

4. Why does he use Hulk-speak when no one else from Sakaar does?
Is he just mentally challenged?

5. How are they recording segments in the recording booth while on Leader's ship?  
Seriously, it's bugging me. Is there an Agents of S.M.A.S.H. booth on Leader's ship? Why? How?

But there's another question looming. Will being lost in space become the status quo for a while? Either it will be, (which means that things like the baby Gooms, talking jet, Crystal, Deathlok, Devil Dinosaur, etc. will probably not be making a comeback any time soon), or it won't be (meaning the reset button will be pressed, as per usual).

Why include characters from Planet Hulk if they're not going to do anything? Why even use the source material if you're going to change everything?

The gladiator armor for the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. is well designed, at least.

For hate's sake, I spit my last breath at this episode. If you want a more faithful adaptation of the storyline, go check out the animated Planet Hulk movie. Actually, that's my favorite version. For one simple reason.

The best character from the Thor comics: Beta Ray Bill!
Alas, this season draws to a close. Maybe. This episode ends on quite the cliffhanger, and there is a Guardians of the Galaxy crossover listed as the 26th episode, but I don't know if it's the real finale, or the beginning of next season, or what. But if the universe has any mercy, I won't be returning to Hulk and the Agents of S.MA.S.H. for a good, long while.

See you next time, whenever that may be.

1 comment:

  1. Way to ruin the greatest Hulk storyline ever, nay, one of Marvel's all-time best stories. WHOSE IDEA WAS THIS?!?!?

    - That One Anon