Monday, December 29, 2014

Recap: Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. "It's a Wonderful Smash"

I see Hulks of green.
Red Hulk's, there, too.
They tick me off,
As they often do.
And I curse to myself,
"It's a Wonderful Smash'...."

Yeah, I know; some quotes from "It's a Wonderful Life" would have been more appropriate. But be honest with me: Would you really recognize a quote from It's a Wonderful Life if you read one?

Yeah. Didn't think so. You dang kids these days.

Anyway, let's look at this long-awaited Christmas special. I'll explain what I mean by "long-awaited" in the Review portion. For now, let's make fun of it in a linear-type fashion.

Let's be honest, that's why we're both here.
Our episode opens in A-Bomb's editing room, where he starts talking to one of his floating cameras before cutting to the Hulks about to beat up the recurring menace of Blastaar.

A-Bomb: "'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the town, not a creature was stirring, except for this Negative Zone clown."

You know, I busted my butt off trying to keep the proper meter intact when I wrote that rhymey introduction to "Nightmare on Christmas." The superfluous "Negative Zone" modifier does nothing but break the rhythm. It infinitely bugs me as someone who has a degree in both English and Theatre.

It's called "anapestic tetrameter," A-Bomb. Look into it.

Not everyday that I get to break that phrase out.
A-Bomb: "His monsters beside him, Blastaar thought New York, he could trash!"

Oh, you need to make a rhyme, so now you're Yoda? Speaking as someone who has had to diagram sentences, that sentence is painful.

A-Bomb: "But in his way stood the Hulk and his Agents of S.M.A.S.H."

The heroes quickly defeat Blastaar and his pet monsters as you'd expect from the many times they've done it before. But there's more than a little collateral damage. And the fact that they destroyed more than a few Christmas decorations is really not helping their case. J. Jonah Jameson even takes some time out of dissing Spider-Man to complain about the Hulks.

JJJ: "Maybe you can wreck New Year's Eve, too!"
She-Hulk (cutaway): "Something gets smashed, we get the blame."

Yeah, I wonder why all the smashing is blamed on the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. It's a conundrum, alright.

She-Hulk (cutaway): "Ugh. I'm about ready to sue somebody."

You can start by suing Jameson for his slander. Why don't you find a good lawyer? Oh, wait! You're supposed to be a good lawyer! I swear, even lip service to She-Hulk being a lawyer would be appreciated! Are we going to get it? No. Never. She-Hulk will never be a lawyer in this show. Never ever, not in a million years. Ain't happening.

The Hulks air their grievances to the camera before flying in their jet towards the Gamma Base. As they sulk, A-Bomb wishes upon a nearby shooting star for the perfect Christmas. And the world whites out like it's the Crisis on Infinite Earths before fading back in on a slightly different version to the show.

A-Bomb (voiceover): "Greetings true believers, and welcome to the Hulk-Out Holiday Smash-stravaganza!"

We cut to the Hulk Tower (it's so big, it dwarfs Avengers Tower) before J. Jonah Jameson himself gleefully wishes the Hulks a Happy Holidays.

A-Bomb: "Thanks, JJ. And thanks to you at home for making my little webshow the most popular and beloved web series of all time."

What? Hey, I'll tell you what, readers. Here's five random web series that are infinitely better than whatever A-Bomb makes.

Game Grumps
Nostalgia Critic
SF Debris

You're welcome.

Anyway, after the titles, we get to see exactly what has suddenly and inexplicably become of the other Hulks. But first, of course, A-Bomb tells us what he does besides make web videos.

A-Bomb: "Your truly will be going on tour with my band."

Which, if continuity exists, is named "Deathlok."

A-Bomb: "And yes, the rumors are true."

You have a cloaca? I knew it!

A-Bomb: "I am dating superstar, actress, model, and philanthropist Eliza Dushku."


Eliza Dushku? As in "Voice of She-Hulk" Eliza Dushku?

Maybe she's into cloacas?
Speaking of She-Hulk, it's explained to us that she's a successful actor. Right, because how dare she be have that law degree from the comics, right?

A-Bomb: "Besides her A-list acting career, somehow, she found the time to get her law degree and now she sits on the Supreme Court!"


She-Hulk: "I'm tough. But I'm fair."

Something is seriously wrong with the Hulks' world if one of them actually resembles their comic counterpart.

Skaar soon enters, and it turns out that he's the World Wrestling Champion.

Skaar: "And wrestling not fake!"

And something's even more wrong if wrestling's not fake. Claim what you will about "remembering when wrestling was real," but wrestling became scripted towards the turn of the century (1900, not 2000) in order to compete with the quickly-growing sport of gentlemanly fisticuffs. While normal wrestling matches could end up being short and boring, scripted matches were guaranteed to entertain.

This Recap is turning out to be much more informative than I thought.
Anyway, their butler, the Leader, gets the door for the President of the United States, Red Hulk, who just came back from getting his face carved on Mt. Rushmore. Escorted by Nick Fury himself. Hulk, who apparently has no job, is wearing an ugly Christmas sweater and petting his dinosaur. I have nothing to say for that, but only because that's the tamest thing here. Something is quite obviously not right, and yet the Hulks are accepting it with the same schmaltzy spirit you'd find in a 1950's Christmas special.

As A-Bomb prepares to light the Yule Log, something comes down the chimney. It ain't Santa; it's Rocket Raccoon of the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Rocket: "None of this is real!"

Well, duh. It's animated.
Rocket: "You're all under the influence of a holographic neural inducer!"

After a bit of a scuffle, Rocket shoots some floating robot drones and takes out the image inducer in the portrait over the fireplace. This shuts down the illusion and the Hulks have to come to terms with the fact that none of their fantasies were real.

Skaar: "Wrestling... fake."

Uh-oh. Better not tell him about Santa.
They smash their way out and find themselves surrounded by more containment units. Rocket explains that the device at the top of the room rewrites minds to keep the inmates docile. It apparently thought that Rocket was just a mindless animal, and just dumped him in with other animals.

Voice: "An oversight I will correct. I do hate not having a complete set."

And if you've watched "The Collector," you know that voice.

Collector: "I'm back."

Because they parted on such amicable terms last time.
His hologram threatens the heroes, and they open fire on the drones. The Collector explained that if walls couldn't contain the Hulks, then their own fantasies would.

Collector: "The perfect revenge."

Basically, Mr. Roarke mixed with Khan, which is twice the Ricardo Montelban than the average human can withstand.

Rocket explains that they were transporting the Orb of Truth to a peace summit between the warring alien races of the Kree and the Shi'Ar. The beautiful queen of the Shi'Ar is due to present it to the ugly green mound that leads the Kree, and-hey, wait a sec....

I know Disney owns both Marvel and Star Wars, but this is is an odd reference for them to make.
If they can't get the orb to the summit, then the two races will start fighting some more. And, of course, Earth will be caught in the middle. Because fiction.

Rocket and A-Bomb head to a console up above in order to see where the rest of the Guardians of the Galaxy are kept. It's a good thing She-Hulk didn't go, because we all know she has trouble reading Arabic numerals. Oh, sorry. "Alien-jerk language," as she calls it.

"So how was she a lawyer in her fantasy if she can't read letters or numbers, A-Bomb?"
"Pop-up law books."
And, of course, Rocket gets to put the plot on pause for a second in order to explain to us who these people are. I can't really criticize this because this is the first time these characters have appeared on this show (well, technically not true, but I'll get to that in the Review). But I had a Guardians of the Galaxy week a few months back, so I've gotten character descriptions for these guys coming out my wazoo.

In summary, Gamora's a green assassin lady, Drax is a green warrior guy, Groot's an Ent, and Star-Lord is the guy with the laser gun.

Rocket and A-Bomb pinpoint the Guardians right before Rocket gets KO-ed, and we cut to said Guardians being re-introduced by Queen Lilandra of the Shi'Ar before the Hulks smash their way into the Guardian's holo-cell. The usual hero-on-hero fight breaks out (because of the KO'ed Rocket), but Hulk takes out the image inducer and the hologram dissipates.

Lasers: Now with a refreshing spearmint flavor.
Our heroes decide to team-up to get the real orb back once Rocket wakes up and vouches for the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. They head through the halls of the Collector's ship, engaging in the usual banter. They enter the landing bay where their ship is, but the Collector (who can now change his size, somehow) shows up with the Orb to stop them.

Hulk offers himself and his team in exchange for letting the Guardians and the Orb go, but the Collector wants it all. After a fruitless fight, the Collector's memory-wiper activates, and...

A-Bomb (voiceover): "Greetings true believers, and welcome to the Hulk-Out Holiday Smash-stravaganza!"

Here we go again.

They light the Yule Log, and the Guardians come over for the holidays. I guess their holo-cell is still broken. After the obligatory "What is this 'Christmas' of which you speak?" gag that all aliens get, Star-Lord presents the Orb of Truth to the Hulk, who starts getting suspicious as he puts it at the top of the tree that Groot had been trying to flirt with.

This, but with Hulks.
Star-Lord: "Heard this was the custom, so I brought a little token, too."

Star-Lord, you're from Earth. You know what Christmas is.

Star-Lord: "Y'know, Lilandra said the orb brought peace because it could cut through lies, deceit, and illusion."

Spoiler: That's not the real Orb of Truth. And yet, it seems to be letting Hulk cut through all these lies, deceits, and illusions.

Hulk smashes where the old holo-projector was, but finds nothing.

Hulk: "This is all fake!"
A-Bomb: "It's true that Christmas is a little over-commercialized, but there's no need to be rude."

Hulk decides to trick Rocket into shooting with a little feigned anti-raccoon racism, and Rocket zaps the Orb off the tree. Hulk smashes the Orb, and all goes back to normal. The now-gigantic Collector rips the roof off the holosuite while wearing the Orb, and decides to wipe their minds completely.

With a little newfound teamwork and fancy maneuvering, the heroes manage to steal the Orb away and get it in the way of the memory-wipe beam. The Chekhov's Gun mixes with the MacGuffin and manages to hit the Collector full in the face. In true Christmas spirit, he immediately stops being a Scrooge and agrees to release all the living things in his collection.

Hulk hands the Orb over to Star-Lord, and they all rush off to the Shi'Ar homeworld, where it's presented to Lilandra without a hitch. No doubt many cries of "Wesa have peace!" rang out. In the spirit if peace and goodwill and all, the Hulks take the Guardians back to Vista Verde for a meal at Herb's Gammaburgers.

Star-Lord: "Oh, you have no idea how long it's been since I've had a chili burger."

You have a spaceship. That's really your own fault, Star-Lord. Come to think of it, weren't you actually on Earth a couple months back? You have no excuse.

Impossibly, Eliza Dushku leaves a message on A-Bomb's phone. A-Bomb freaks out that he's still in the Collector's paradise, but Hulk reassures him that they're all back home, despite proof of that being rather impossible. For all we know, Collector faked being affected by the charity-ray and the Hulks are still captured in a simulated world.

But we'll ignore Plato's Allegory of the Cave for now. A-Bomb rhymes a Merry Christmas to the audience, and the episode ends. Tomorrow, (A bit of a delay, but there's a lot to organize and discuss) I'll review. Sans rhyming.


  1. I like how first thing Rocket did when describing "the most dangerous woman in universe" was comparing her to She-Hulk, as if Gamora was a reverse Nazgul and was easily defeated by men or something.

    Or if you give them any credit, maybe he assumed She-Hulk is deadliest team member. Who knows.

    1. She's certainly the smartest team member at least, though that's not much of an accomplishment.