Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Recap: Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. "Planet Hulk, Part 1"

They did it. They renewed Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. for a second season. Why? It's got the lowest score on IMDb out of Marvel's three current shows, it doesn't have a devoted fanbase, it's not a cult hit, and nearly every review of every episode utterly trashes the show.

Allow me to demonstrate.

"They took interesting characterizations and clear story lines and tossed them out the window for fun in the sun cheese." - GTDMAC, IMDb

"Words cant describe how awful this show is. Its almost as if the writers were challenged to cram the most non-Hulkish ideas into a show for a bet... And they succeeded. I don't know if they should be congratulated or executed for crimes against television"- finkelman, IMDb

"Disney/Marvel may be knocking it out of the park when it comes to live-action theatrical releases, but they continue to struggle to create an animation show that is worth a damn." - teegeeyoung, IMDb

"More proof that Disney is destroying the Marvel brand." - Jbad5, IMDb

"Sadly, Agents of S.M.A.S.H. didn't manage to reproduce much of that book's appeal in this one-hour premiere." - Jesse Schedeen, IGN

"Give it a try, and watch an episode or two. You will like it." - ahlan336, IMDb

I did say "nearly."

And you know what? I'd have to say that Season 1 wasn't awful overall. Episodes like "All About the Ego" and "The Skaar Whisperer" certainly did it no favors, but it did get noticeably better toward the end, even resulting in one of my favorite versions of the Abomination. I'd go into more detail about Season 1, but I've got an entire post for that once I recap and review the Christmas special.

Honestly, I don't want to toot my own horn, but I think my Reviews are one of the few fair assessments this show gets. Though I'll admit, I tend to get a bit hung up on the parts that bug me. There's a lot of people going around bashing this show (guilty), and a lot of people going around praising it (also guilty, but less so). But I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle. After all, there have been legitimately well-written episodes, and a couple of absolute pains to sit through. Both sides of this argument have fair points. When this show's bad, it's awful. But when it's good, it's spectacular.

Which brings me back to my original point. This show is simply "okay." Marvel has canceled shows that were doing far better than that. Why is this show still here?

The cliffhanger from last season? Nope. Plenty of shows have been canceled on cliffhangers. Did you know that ALF ended up taken away by the government and vivisected? Seriously, look it up.

The fact that they don't want to anger Man of Action, the driving force behind the Marvel Animated Universe? Heck, no. They're not involved with this show at all. This is Paul Dini and Henry Gilroy's baby.

Maybe they had a really good episode written for Season 2? Let's find out.

The answer may surprise you! But I'll bet you it won't.
Season 2 begins with our heroes' new ship circling a planet in a shot that emulates the opening sequence of Start Trek: TOS.

To boldy homage what everyone else has already homaged before.
A-Bomb: "A-Bomb's log. Stardate: Tuesday."

I'd bring up the theory of relativity in regards to this stardate, but we're literally a single line into the second season. I'll suspend all judgement until the opening theme at the very least. If I can.

A-Bomb: "Nah, maybe Wednesday, I kinda lost track."

Hmm. That was actually funny. Looking good so far.

A-Bomb (cutaway): "I know it's been a while, Hulkies."

Not long enough.

A-Bomb (cutaway): "Lemme getcha up to speed."

You could always point your viewers my way, A-Bomb.

He recaps the last two episodes and proceeds to begin a final message to his viewers, what with the possibility of eternal loneliness in the vast emptiness of space.

Hulk (cutaway): "Rick, we've only been gone three days."

Here's a question. How is Rick planning on getting this episode uploaded to the Internet from the other side of the galaxy? Ignoring my question, Rick takes his viewers through the ship's awesome amenities, including the robotic masseuses, the molecular 3-D printer, and the food replicators. Unfortunately, everything's built for someone the size of the Leader.

Hulk: "And seriously? One bathroom?"
Red Hulk: "Hey, which one a you green beans made off with all the toilet paper?"

If She-Hulk walks into that bathroom, I am not finishing this episode.

Speaking of her, she's complaining about someone swiping her tools. In the same vein, someone ate Skaar's food and is messing with Rick's cameras. Hulk gets the others to stop arguing and notices something.

Hulk: "Hmmm. Looks like the TP perp left a clue."

Jinkies! Looks like we've got another mystery on our hands, gang! They follow the TP trail to the cargo bay, falling right into the Leader's trap. After a good dose of the ol' banter game, the Leader opens the cargo bay door, which begins to suck the Hulks out into space.

"It wasn't a ghost at all! Old Man Leader was stealing the toilet paper the whole time!"
After the opening titles, the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. manage to jam the hole shut with cargo and quickly split up to find the Leader. The Leader counters this by activating the internal traps. One of them nabs Hulk, quickly beginning to crush him.

Meanwhile, She-Hulk and Skaar try to hack the internal systems to no avail. To add to that, the computer warns them that the ship is entering a hostile star system.

She-Hulk: "Nice try, Leader. But you're not going to distract me with some bogus warning."

Why the heck would he do that, She-Hulk? It's not like you can turn the ship around. Or get off the ship. There is literally no reason for him to fake a warning.

She-Hulk rips out some wires in a hacking attempt, triggering the robo-butlers into becoming warbots.  Over with Red Hulk and A-Bomb....

Red Hulk: "Show your ugly, swollen mug, Leader. This soldier needs target practice."
A-Bomb: "Dude, chill! We need him. He's the only one who can prove our innocence back on Earth!"


First of all, you did prove your innocence with that surveillance footage. They thought it was faked.

Second of all, Leader's a villain. Why would they believe him? So, by your logic, if Green Goblin told the world that Shocker was a good guy, they'd believe him?

Third of all, you guys took off from Sakaar without him. What was the plan for clearing your names before you just now found out he was a stowaway?

Before the lack of logic can continue to astound me, guns pop out of the walls and take aim at the two Smashers. Then the gravity turns off, turning them into aerial targets.

Of the trapped heroes, the Hulk is the first to escape his bonds, after Leader taunts him by outlining his plan to return to Earth and be declared a hero for defeating the Hulks. Apparently, he's hoping that the world will forget all those attempts to take over the world. Red Hulk and A-Bomb escape using some bobbing and darting, and Hulk saves She-Hulk and Skaar. Hulk seems to be going a little cray-cray while ranting and raving, so She-Hulk calms him down by.... rubbing his shoulders. And here I thought the show was done including material for the Hulk/She-Hulk slash fics.

Hulk (cutaway): "Did I overreact? Maybe."

Yeah, I mean, who hasn't overreacted and yelled about beating someone to death? These things happen.

She-Hulk uses the computer to pinpoint the Leader's location. Turns out, he's hiding in the wall. Before they can act on this information, Leader sends poison gas through the vents into their control room. As they all start choking, Hulk smashes the wall, exposing Leader to his own gas. He refuses to deactivate the gas, so She-Hulk does it for him. How anti-climactic. The Hulks then proceed to restrain the Leader and try to decide what to do with him.

Hulk: "It's the airlock for you."

I like where this is going.

She-Hulk: "You don't want to do this."

Pretty sure he does.

Hulk: "The universe would be better off without him."

So would the show.

But before they can enact any sort of justice, the ship begins shimmying and shaking. They've entered an asteroid belt. Unfortunately, the asteroid belt is surrounding a very familiar face....

Ego the Living Planet.


What did I do to deserve a sequel to "All About the Ego?"

For those of you who haven't read my past Recaps, in Season 1, Ego tried to smash Earth...

A-Bomb (cutaway): "So, in Season 1, Ego tried to smash Earth, but we smashed him first. And here are again."

That was just... surreal.

But there's another ship in this asteroid belt, and it's firing at Ego. Looks like I have someone to root for. Yay! Hulk locks Leader in the bathroom while the team goes to help Ego's attackers.

Leader: "Don't you Hulks know how to flush? It's backed up!"

I can only imagine this was Red's revenge for the lack of toilet paper. Also, ew. Also, a pox on the head of whoever wrote that part.

The team shoots a meteor out of the way of the other ship. In response, an alien beams aboard.

Ronan: "You are guilty of interfering with the will of the Kree Empire."

Hulk explains that they were trying to help and Ronan quickly accepts the offer, saying that they will be Ego's judge, jury, and executioner. She-Hulk declines the partnership, trying to remind Hulk that they chose to not kill Ego when he threatened all of Earth because they're heroes.

Red Hulk: "Look how well that turned out."

I would also like to remind you that lobotomizing Ego was their plan to deal with him. Just saying.

Ronan offers to give the team directions back home in exchange for help, and Hulk accepts the deal.

"Yeah, I go to Earth in pretty much every Marvel cartoon to try and take it over. Of course I can get you there."
In cutaways, She-Hulk tells the camera that she doesn't trust Ronan, and A-Bomb says that he burned Ronan a "Best Of" DVD. The Hulks enter Ego's atmosphere on their rocket boards, and Ego counters with his beard hair. He ensnares the team, but Ronan quickly comes to the rescue. And so they all head...for Ego's nose. Because I guess I really offended somebody at Marvel with one of my Reviews, and this is their revenge against me.

Thankfully, they pass over the nose. Unfortunately, they choose the ear, instead. The ears that are conspicuously absent on Ego. Nice writing, there, Marty Eisenberg.

So, uh, why does the Living Planet have earwax in his nonexistent ears?

Now, you might be thinking that Ronan has no reason to attack Ego. So he takes this opportunity to explain himself.

Ronan: "Ego has endangered worlds in the Kree Empire time and time again."

Well, that could be construed as an act of either war or terrorism. Coupled with Ego's history of attacking Earth, then I'd say Ronan has grounds to deal with Ego in the manner that Kree law dictates. And seeing as how this is, presumably, Kree territory, he would be perfectly within his rights to do so.

Ronan: "The punishment we deliver will save billions of lives."

And best of luck to you, Ronan. It might seem odd that I'm siding with the villain (spoiler), but you have to keep in mind that we're dealing with a planet-sized lifeform that has a history of attacking planets for basically no reason. We saw it do just that in "All About the Ego." This is a sociopathic, genocidal, living planet. It kills worlds. I am 100% supporting Operation: Stop the Mass Murdering Planet.

Anyway, Ronan talks too loud, and the ear canal lashes out. After landing in the earwax, the team forges ahead to Ego's brain cavity. Ego tries to stop them with vibrations, but they manage to make their way to Ego's tiny little brain-ball. Man, I wish I were watching Futurama instead.

A-Bomb: "Just like I remembered."

Pretty sure that was Red Hulk who was there, not you.

Ego: "Please spare me. Ego kept his promise and avoided your Earth."

Hulk prepares to smash the little guy, but can't go through with it.

Hulk (cutaway): "I'm supposed to be one of the good guys."

Then help the universe.

Ego: "Ego meant no harm."

Bull. Crap.

In "All About the Ego," Ego was going to crash into Earth, killing everyone. When the Hulks went to stop it, Ego attacked them and only changed direction when his brain ball was directly threatened by Red Hulk. Who knows how many worlds he did crash into? Even if Ego's not guilty of murder, he's guilty of manslaughter billions of times over.

Ego: "Ego pulled your ship into my orbit in the hopes that you could defend me from the Kree!"

What, the Kree whose worlds Ronan says you kept trying to destroy?

Hulk: "Wait, they attacked you?"
Ronan: "An attack more than justified."

As I said.

Hulk tells Ronan not to hurt Ego, so Ronan simply puts a band on Ego's head, which gives the Kree control over the planetoids to use as a weapon. Okay, now that we have to deal with the morals of using a criminal as a weapon, I have to side with She-Hulk. Dang it.

You broke my heart, Ronan.
So our designated heroes begin defending Ego by attacking the Kree soldiers themselves.

Ronan: "Ego was guilty of inflicting wanton destruction across the galaxy!"
Hulk: "That doesn't give you the right to use him as a weapon!"

You know, Ronan is only the bad guy because he's taking it a step too far.

Hulk removes Ego from his brain controls. This will kill Ego in the long run, so Hulk vows to find a way to get the controller band off, then get Ego back to his controls.

After some more fighting, including a game of keep-away involving Ego, they make their way to the surface through the planetoid's tear ducts. More Kree swoop in on the backs of their mounts, so the Hulks attack the eyeball so the tears can take out the soldiers.

Ego: "You have my gratitude, Hulk. No one ever fought for Ego before."

That's only because you kill everyone you meet, Ego.

"Mostly they just scream, and bleed, and die...."
The Kree surrender. But it's not over. As Ronan exposits, he might not have control over Ego, but he doesn't have to control Ego. He just needs Ego to stay still for a bit.

Ronan: "Ego is to be sacrificed to a greater evil."
Hulk: "What greater evil?"

To answer his question, Galactus arrives.

Red Hulk: "All that crud about justice, and Ronan just wanted to feed Ego to Galactus so he wouldn't chow down on his homeworld."

Well, that and Ego's numerous attacks on Kree planets. Are we supposed to have forgotten about that? All in all, this is like sacrificing Ted Bundy to stop Hitler.

A-Bomb: "In case nobody noticed, we're standing on the planet that the planet-eating dude is gonna eat."

Sounds good to me!

Galactus emerges with his new herald, Firelord. What happened to Terrax, you ask? Dunno. My theory is that Galactus discovered that She-Hulk threw that fight and fired him.

Galactus: "Prepare this world to sate my hunger."

What, is he going to fry it in butter or something?

"Medium-rare this time. Galactus demands a pink center!"
Hulk (cutaway): "Sure, life is valuable. All life. But depending on whose life it is, protecting it might end up costing more than you can pay. Hulk out. Hopefully, not for good."

...did the moral just do a 180?

Can our heroes stop the eater of worlds? Should they? Tune in tomorrow for the second part of this two-parter! Same Newt time, same Newt channel!

No comments:

Post a Comment