Saturday, April 11, 2015

Recap: Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel


On the whole, I’d say that these view count milestones mean a bit more to me than the anniversary ones. I mean, the anniversary milestones are just me celebrating the fact that I haven’t given up on the blog yet, when you really think about it. But all these views are from you guys, and I just want to take this moment to thank you all for reading, new readers and old ones alike.

Man. Just browsing my past milestone celebrations, I think it’s pretty obvious how far I’ve come as a blogger.

For my first milestone celebration, I did a continuity-heavy episode of I show I wasn’t covering at the time. Apologies to the readers who had no idea what was going on.

For my second one, I still had that dang habit of putting images on the sides of the text, like I was a magazine or something. (Apologies to everyone trying to read posts like that on their mobile devices.)

For my third one, I started covering yet another show. Over a year later, and I’m only four episodes into recapping it. Apologies to all Young Justice fans.

The fourth one was late, thanks to the untimely death of my last computer.

And the fifth one covered something so mediocre and relatively obscure that even fewer people than usual even bothered to read it.

And now, this one’s a week late, too. And I’m sure that I’ll be able to find something else to criticize in this post when the NewtCave reaches 150,000 views and I cover B… I’m getting ahead of myself. I’ve criticized my own work enough for now.

It's time to look at something I’ve meant to cover for a while. Something both famous and infamous. Both loved and hated. Something meant to merge fandoms in shared understanding, but ended up leaving a lot of people confused. Ladies and gentlemen… actually, the suspense is kind of pointless, isn’t it? You’ve already read the title of the post. It’s Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel.

Happy 100,000 views. Gonna be a long one today.
Flash back to 2009.

The news broke that Disney was going to purchase Marvel. And they did. In hindsight, the acquisition was mutually beneficial for both companies. Marvel, which had had financial difficulties in the past, got the financial backing of a beloved megacorp, and Disney got to add the Marvel characters to their expertly merchandized repertoire, further cementing their monopoly over America’s collective childhoods.


And yet, a lot of people met this news with outright fury at the time. Fears ran rampant that the Marvel Universe would be toned down. Long story short, a lot of people feared that the more modern and mature comics would be “Disneyfied.” The image that stuck in people’s heads was a crossover between Mickey Mouse and Spider-Man.

Sure, it sounds ridiculous now, but that was the thing everybody brought up. Just like how every political discussion ends up comparing someone to Hitler, every discussion about the acquisition ended up saying that Mickey Mouse would appear as part of Spider-Man’s supporting cast if the deal went through.

Not to mention the Mouseketeer Initiative.
Now flash forward a bit to 2013. At that year’s Comic-Con, the announcement was made, to the confusion, excitement, glee, anger, and basically all the other emotions of the guests, that Phineas and Ferb would cross over with the Marvel Universe. But it made sense. Phineas and Ferb has been called “Marvel’s Spongebob,” in terms of its presence and popularity. And I probably don’t have to tell you how popular the Marvel Cinematic Universe is.

The Phineas and Ferb/Avengers crossover makes sense from a popularity standpoint. Certainly more than a certain other Disney/Marvel crossover…

Seriously, why did this happen?
Reaction was positive enough for Disney to greenlight a Phineas and Ferb/Star Wars crossover, after Disney assimilated that hot property.
"Resistance is futile."
Back on task, Phineas and Ferb is a darn good show, albeit one that's not quite as revolutionary anymore. Back in the era of Zack and Cody and Witches of Waverly Place, its clever jokes, tight writing, and creator-driven status (those creators being Dan Povenmire and Jeff Marsh) paved the way for things like Regular Show, Gravity Falls, and other things that would end up pushing more boundaries of what a “kids’ show” can really be. But the fact that every single episode of Phineas and Ferb literally has the same plot ("I know what we're gonna do today," "Where's Perry?" "Curse you, Perry the Platypus!") kind of got more than a bit stale in the eyes of many. But all things considered, it's still a very good show and was immensely popular for a time. A crossover was almost inevitable.

Now, having said all that, I fully understand that a lot of my readers probably don’t know just what the heck Phineas and Ferb is, seeing as how you come here for mostly superhero stuff. As such, I should probably fully explain it so that my audience is fully versed in Phineas and Ferb lore before we begin.

But I’m not going to.

One of the reasons this crossover exists (any crossover, really) is to get people interested in one thing to be interested in another. Like Alien? Maybe you’ll like the Predator when you leave AvP. Like Freddy Kreuger? Maybe you’ll like Jason Voorhees at the end of Freddy vs. Jason. Like Ultimate Spider-Man? Maybe you’ll want to catch up on Jessie by the end of “Halloween Night at the Museum.” (Probably not.)

As such, this special needs to act as a way to get the Phineas and Ferb fans into the Marvel stuff and vice versa with a minimum of confusion. If you don’t already know about Phineas and Ferb, then you’re the exact person they need to convince to keep tuning in. But in the interests of fairness (as well as the interests of the audience), I’ll still give you a quick rundown so you’re not immediately lost.

Phineas Flynn and Ferb Fletcher are (step)brothers. They love building really cool things like roller coasters and robots in the back yard, which their older sister Candace always wants them to get in trouble for. And yet, everything is always conveniently cleaned up whenever their parents are around, so she’s a bit neurotic about never “busting” them. Meanwhile, their pet platypus secretly operates as “Agent P,” tirelessly working to thwart the inept evil of Danville’s own Dr. Doofenshmirtz and prevent him from ruling the Tri-State area.

Yes, you did read that right.

If anything else is too obscure, I’ll go ahead and explain it as we go. But this needs to be accurately judged as an episode of Phineas and Ferb, as an Avengers team-up, and as a crossover. You’ll see why I’m so gung-ho about looking at this episode as an introductive crossover in a bit. For now, let’s finally begin.

The episode opens in a way that can only be described as follows: Freakin'. Metal. The very ground cracks and rumbles as the Phineas and Ferb logo emerges from the very depths of the Earth. On either side stands each half of the titular duo as they play what I'm nearly positive is the Iron Man theme on their guitars.




Spider-Man: "Aunt May! Phineas and Ferb are making a crossover!"

And chalk one up for "Things non-P&F fans won't understand." This is a play on the normal intro to the show, which has Candace trying to get her brothers in trouble for making a title sequence. A nice little joke, but one that the new viewers they're trying to draw in won't get. I hate to say “get used to this,” but….

The episode proper opens in the cold depths of space, where Phineas (Vincent Martella), Ferb (Thomas Brodie-Sangster), and their assorted pals Baljeet (Maulik Pancholy), Buford (Bobby Gaylord), and Isabella (Alyson Stoner) are zooming through an asteroid field on surfboards like this was an episode of Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. (Why does it always seem to come back to that show?) A Beach Boys-style rock song plays over this, singing about how much fun this particular activity is. Get used to the songs, too. After the creators made an episode about the boys becoming one-hit wonders, the executives demanded at least one song per episode. Some of them (like "She's Got an Alien Heart") are amazing. But others, like this one, are simply okay. And I'm not sure that "quasar" and "guitar" rhyme, strictly speaking. Still, this is a fun little opening sequence with some really nice visuals. And it sets up the status quo for non-P&F fans: Songs and ridiculous adventures.

But after the song ends, they meet back up and gush over what fun they’re having as Phineas mentions that the ambient cosmic rays are making a wonderful power source for their surfboards.

Um, I'd be a bit more worried about those cosmic rays, guys.
They soon head back to Phineas and Ferb's space station (which they probably whipped up earlier in the morning) because Baljeet needs to use the bathroom.

Buford: "You know, these suits are equipped with..."
Baljeet: "I do not want to do it in the suit."

Also, the space station is shaped like their heads. Because why not.
Back at the station, the gang gets a message from Irving (Jack McBrayer) back on Earth. Irving is excitedly giggling over the fact that Phineas, in true surfer style, called him "dude."

Hope I don't need to add a tens column.
Irving is the resident Phineas and Ferb fanboy. And by that, I mean that he literally is a fan of Phineas and Ferb, as in the characters. The character was created as a nod to the real-life P&F fans, but he remains a fairly unpopular addition. Mainly because some of the most stereotypical "fanboy" traits are put on display to be made fun of, like obsessive behavior, shrines, and general social awkwardness.

Anyway, Irving clears a butterfly out of the yard, and the signal to return in the module is given.

Irving: "Hey, where's Perry?"

Like I said, Perry is the boys' platypus who often disappears to fight the evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz. Saying "Where's Perry?" is a running gag to lead into those segments.

Boy, that's zooming up there.
And Perry is indeed doing what he usually does over at Doofenshmirtz Evil Inc. Currently, the little monotreme is caught in a trap while Doofenshmirtz (Dan Povenmire), explains his evil plan.

Dr. Doofenshmirtz: "I don't know if you're aware of this, but my brother Roger is the mayor."

The "wah-wah" music makes it clear that he's established this more than a few times (and he has), but....

Heck, I hope I don't need to add a hundreds column.
Dr. Doofenshmirtz: "Alright, I may have touched upon the subject from time to time, but you know, I figured why not mention it again just for clarity?"

A nice little jab at the fact that he's bringing this fact up yet again, and a possible joke aimed at the fact that the writers know they'll have a few new viewers here to see the Marvel stuff. If only they had that mindset for the rest of this thing, the counter wouldn't be up to six already.

Anyway, Doofenshmirtz explains that he's very jealous of his brother's mayoral powers, so he whipped up the Power Drain-inator to suck those powers out and give them to himself.

Dr. Doofenshmirtz: "Just think! I will have the power to raise taxes, pass legislation, and-and even cut the ceremonial ribbon at openings."

But the gigantic pair of scissors that he brings out to illustrate this last point punctures the hydraulic lines to Perry's trap, freeing him and allowing him to deliver a kick to the doctor's face. Quickly, Perry wrecks the Inator and makes his escape.

Dr. Doofenshmirtz: "You're just gonna thwart and run? I thought this was going to be a special extended episode!"

But as Doofenshmirtz curses Perry the Platypus, a beam from the Power Drain-inator shoots into the sky. It hits Phineas and Ferb's space station and gets redirected out the satellite dish straight at New York City, where a Stan Lee cameo is busy running a hot dog stand.

Oh, Stan. You will literally appear in anything.
Suddenly, as is usual for New York City, a superpowered fight erupts. On the one side, Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor, and the Hulk. On the other side, Red Skull, MODOK, Whiplash, and Venom. They're all voiced by their Marvel Animated Universe actors, except for Whiplash (Peter Stormare) and Venom, who's voiced by Danny "Machete" Trejo of all people. That particular casting job is as awesome as it is random and I will love this episode forever for it.

Another thing I'll love this episode forever for is the fight scenes. They’re all amazing. The action is fast, but still well-paced. The animation is nice and fluid, and the creativity of how the two sides choose to attack each other is remarkable.With something like Avengers Assemble, you know what you're going to get. Falcon shoots his darts, Hawkeye's shoots arrows, Cap throws his shield, etc. But here, Hulk throws a lamppost, which Whiplash cuts apart and throws back at the heroes, Thor and Hulk tag-team Venom (oh, I am not looking forward to the Google searches that phrasing will bring here), and Iron Man actually flies around instead of hovering in one spot and blasting things. Without exaggeration, Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel has better superhero fight scenes than the entirety of the Marvel Animated Universe. And… that’s a little depressing.

Anyway, the fight continues as MODOK and Red Skull bring out their evil antimatter cannon, which looks oddly like the Technodrome.

Only less 80's.
That is, until our heroes bust it up and throw the villains into a pile. But before Spidey can web them up and await bashing by J. Jonah Jameson, a flash of green light envelops our heroes. The bad guys escape, and our heroes feel… different. Spider-Man can’t stick to walls, Thor can’t lift his hammer, Hulk’s as weak as a kitten, and Iron Man’s suit is out of power. And since his friends don’t have super-strength anymore, they need to find a furniture dolly to move him around.

Back in Danville, the boys make their improbably smooth and traceless landing as Candace (Ashley Tisdale) tries to bust them for revolutionizing casual space travel. Yeah, how dare they do something Nobel-worthy before their teenage years! Dang kids! Go play a videogame or something! …Yeah, her motivation for busting the boys has really decayed since the first episode. It’s largely just a matter of principle now.

Candace: “Why aren’t you in space?"
Buford: “Eh. We got hungry.”
Mom: “Oh, that’s my cue. I’ll make you guys some snacks before I leave.”

While the returning to Earth, the failed busting, and the snacks are all running gags, I’m only counting the first two.

Everybody loves snacks. That's just universal.
Over on the helicarrier, Spider-Man’s pretty bummed.
Spider-Man: “Without my spider-powers, I’m just a guy in a body stocking.”

Don’t be sad, Spider-Man. You could always be that annoying fan at college basketball games.

Thor laments shaving to leave Mjolnir in the street, whereupon it receives a parking ticket in a Family Guy-style cutaway. I’d mark this as a thing non-Marvel fans wouldn’t understand, but Thor’s worthiness does end up getting an expository conversation later in the episode. It gets a pass. For now. Iron Man is wheeled into the room in his non-functioning suit.

Iron Man: “Man, do I regret having that second cup of coffee this morning.”

With the Avengers assembled, Tony begins working on triangulating the beam’s origin. But the answer is standing right in front of them.

Nick Fury: “Danville. Danville, USA.”
Spider-Man: “Have you been standing there the whole time?”
Nick Fury: “Yes. Yes, I have.”

Another running gag.
He reveals that child prodigies Phineas and Ferb must be involved. After all, the space station that shot the beams at the Avengers was shaped like their heads. And with Nick Fury here, I find myself wishing that Phineas and Ferb would join Spider-Man’s team over in Ultimate Spider-Man. At the very least, that would certainly make things interesting.

Back at DEI, Doofenshmirtz’s robot, Norm, absentmindedly wonders if that errant beam from the Power Drain-inator even hit anything, as a convenient news report on a nearby TV lets him know what happened to the Avengers. The doctor is naturally overjoyed enough to do his best Charlie Sheen impression.

Dr. Doofenshmirtz: “Winning!”

Then he goes to post his victory on the L.O.V.E.M.U.F.F.I.N. website.

The League Of Villainous Evildoers Maniacally United For Frightening Investments in Naughtiness.
He excitedly demands the power storage canister, but it’s entirely empty. Wherever the powers ended up getting zapped to, it wasn’t here. Speaking of not here, Red Skull is at his evil-looking HYDRA castle, going over footage of the end of the fight, no doubt with the help of the Stark Variable software. He quickly deduces that the heroes are now powerless, and MODOK has already begun to interface with the internet for answers.

Whiplash: “I can do the same thing with my phone. Plus I got free roaming!”
Venom: “Nice.”

MODOK continues that he discovered an online post by a “Dr. Doofenshmirtz” claiming to be responsible.

Red Skull: “Doofenshmirtz? Zat sounds Druselsteinian. I have a cousin who married a Druselsteinian. She is dead to me!”

It’s funny because Nazis believe in racial purity…?

His location is triangulated to Danville, and the villains begin on their journey to the Tri-State area.

MODOK: “Shotgun!”
Red Skull:You do not fit in ze shotgun position!”

Speaking of Danville, Phineas and Ferb’s mom is heading off on her walking tour of the Tri-State area, and Candace is left in charge of the boys. Their dad doesn’t appear much in this episode, which is a darn shame, because he’s voiced by Richard O’Brien. You know. This Richard O’Brien.

This is his IMDb photo. I know, right?
Phineas: “Hey, where’s Perry? Oh, there he is.”

It works as a callback, so the counter stays where it is.

Meanwhile, the Cabal arrives at Dr. Doofenshmirtz’s lair.

Red Skull: “Zis is Whiplash, zis is Venom, und I am Red Skull.”
Dr. Doofenshmirtz: “Yes. Yes you are. You know, you really should use sunblock. You’re burned down to the bone.”

MODOK introduces himself as well, and after a cutaway gag of the time Doof tried out a tiny little MODOK body of his own back in the 90’s, they get down to brass tacks.

Red Skull: “Showuss your defices, Doofenshmirtz.”
Dr. Doofenshmirtz: “’Shesso defises?’ Is that Latin?”
Red Skull: “Shauwus yur devices.”
Dr. Doofenshmirtz: “I-I-I-I.. still not getting it.”

After some enunciation, Doof gets to work showing of his “Inators,” as he calls them. As he takes them through his stash of comical mad science, the Avengers arrive at the Flynn-Fletcher household.

Spider-Man: “Aren’t you a little young to be stealing superheroes’ super powers?”
Phineas: “Yes. Yes, we would be, Spider-Man.”

Phineas explains that, quite simply, they didn't drain their powers as Isabella gives Iron Man a juice box. I’m sure he appreciates the gesture, Isabella, but the man has to pee like a racehorse and his inbuilt filtration system probably doesn’t work without power. So unless you want Iron Man to start rusting from the waist down, that's probably not the best idea.

After a gag where Thor is amazed at the convenience of a box of juice, Iron Man informs the boys that the energy beam bounced off the boys’ space station. But with the boys clueless about where the beam originated, they decide to focus on restoring the powers however they can. Before Phineas can tell Ferb that he knows what they’re gonna do today, Candace comes downstairs to give her spiel.

Candace: “Alright, boys, listen up. Mom’s on a walking tour of Danville and dad’s tinkering in the basement, so I’m in charge. That means no shenanigans, hey, Spider-Man, so I’ll be over at Stacy’s all d-d-d-dayyyy…?”
Spider-Man: “’Sup?”

The Avengers introduce themselves, and Isabella takes Candace to go lie down for a bit so she can start putting words in the right order again.

Phineas: “Hey, where’s Perry?”

Because rule of three.

This time, Perry the Platypus is dressed up once again as Agent P and in his secret lair, getting a briefing from his boss, Major Monogram (Dan Marsh) and Nick Fury (Chi McBride).

No, I'm not sure why there are 80's sprinkles on the sides of the screen.
Major Monogram: “This is Director Nick Fury of S-H-I-E-L-D.”
Nick Fury: “That’s ‘shield.’ It’s an acronym.”
Mojor Monogram: “Oh. Like OWCA?”
Nick Fury: “Yes. Except it’s cool.”

Organization Without a Cool Acronym
After Monogram explains that the platypus is the secret agent they’re briefing (as well as wearing two eyepatches to one-up Nick Fury), Fury tells Perry what’s going on and tells him to go monitor the situation with the heroes. As Doofenshmirtz takes the villains through his Hall of Inators, they eventually cut the crap and demand to see the Power Drain-inator, only to be informed that it was destroyed by an ordinary crime-fighting platypus.

…Well, when you put it that way, it just sounds ridiculous.

Red Skull demands that he rebuild the machine, and the Cabal begins pretending to elect him leader in order to get him on their side. Doofenshmirtz tells them to come with him on some errands before he’ll rebuild the machine, and Red Skull gets quite visibly upset by this.

Dr. Doofenshmirtz: “Is your head gonna burst into flames, or am I thinking of somebody else?”

Okay, I’ve been criticizing this episode left and right, but that was hilarious. And you know, I think it’s time to bring something up about this episode. It’s tough to review bad comedy. But do you know what’s tougher to review? good comedy. Especially if you’re a comedic reviewer. When reviewing bad comedy, all you can do is make jokes about it while hoping your jokes are better than the ones in you’re busy criticizing. But the reason this episode is so tough for me to review, the reason I’ve been putting it off for so long, is because while the episode is heavily flawed, the comedy is good. Gold, even. But the devil’s in the details, and that’s what I’ve been trying to focus on.

Back with the heroes, Phineas and Ferb unveil the Secret Hideout for Emergency Defense, aka S.H.E.D. They enter the little shack, and the heroes are amazed to discover that it’s bigger on the inside.

Ferb: “Just a little British sci-fi technology.”

Ferb should be the next Captain Britain. Start the petition!
Thor points out Phineas and Ferb’s two-man armor, the Beak Suit Mk. II, which they’re still waterproofing. This sets up later events and explains the armor well enough that it doesn’t get added to the counter. After Phineas and Ferb, pass out S.H.E.D. ID cards, Candace returns with her fanfiction, asking them to sign it.

Spider-Man: “I’m sorry, but we’re not allowed to accept unsolicited material.”

Nice reference to Marvel’s writing/art policy.

Isabella brings up that she didn’t know Candace was a superhero fangirl. Here’s her answer.

Now this explains a lot.
A little bit of self-reference there, and quite illuminating self-reference at that.  What was one of those words? “Research.” The creators of this show expect kids to do “research?”

Because kids love research?
When you make a crossover, it’s important that you represent both sides equally. Not just to please existing fans, but to draw in new ones.

It’s at this point that I’m retiring the counter. I think you all understand my point by now. This episode needs to, for lack of a better term, pander to fans of both Phineas and Ferb and Marvel. It does. But it also needs to make each side of the crossover accessible to the fans of the other side. And that’s where this episode simply fails. This episode assumes that you’re familiar with both sides going in, whether you’re simply a fan of P&F and Marvel, or you did the research.

Expecting your viewers to have to prepare themselves like this for a crossover is inexcusable, especially when your primary audience is children. I get that you should always respect your audience’s intelligence, but there comes a time when you do need to explain some things.

This crossover is simply not as good as…. Oh, God. I’m going to have to say it. It’s not as good as “Halloween Night at the Museum,” the Ultimate Spider-Man/Jessie crossover….

Let me explain.

Sure. I ripped that crossover apart. I gave it a piece of my mind. One of the things I specifically said was this:
“Ideally for the Disney Channel, this crossover would have the Jessie viewers start tuning into Ultimate Spider-Man, and vice-versa. But the way this episode is written, it would probably only appeal to people who are already a fan of both shows.”

When I said “appeal,” I meant that the only people who would want to tune into it would probably be fans of both shows already, just because Ultimate Spider-Man and Jessie are almost completely different in terms of… well, everything. But I’ll give the Ultimate Spider-Man/Jessie crossover this: If you were only familiar with one side of the crossover, the episode did its best to not confuse you with the other side. Potentially-confusing things like recurring side characters and running gags were eschewed in favor of keeping it simple with just Spider-Man himself and the core cast of Jessie. “Appealing” or not, you could go into it with no previous knowledge about Ultimate Spider-Man or Jessie, and you’d be able to watch the episode with a minimum of confusion. But Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel is chock to the brim with in-jokes and running gags that a casual viewer coming into it is simply not going to get. While these jokes are very rewarding to someone who is already a fan, all a newcomer sees is things happening for no real reason.

And don't think I'm giving the Marvel stuff a pass; there's plenty of things non-Marvel fans won't get.

Anyway, as the good guys get to work on a machine to restore the heroes’ powers, Doof and his new entourage commit petty evil across town set to music.

It's a running gag. Perhaps I retired the counter too soon?
Back with the team, Phineas and Ferb have whipped up a little something to temporarily replicate the heroes’ powers. But thanks to Candace’s eagerness, she activates the machine before Ferb can reverse the polarity of the neutron flow and the machine overloads, empowering the heroes with each other's powers. Over with the villains, Whiplash is finally sick of Doof’s milquetoast brand of evil and decides to start wrecking the Googolplex Mall.
Back with the heroes, they’re assessing the damage. Hulk has Spider-Man’s powers, Spider-Man has Hulk’s, Iron Man has Thor’s, and Hulk has Tony Stark’s powers. You know, nothing.

Hulk: “I am feeling entrepreneurial.”

Iron Man, able to move again, is very excited to be able to summon Thor’s hammer. Except….

Thor: “That is not how it works.”
Iron Man: “What do you mean? I’ve got your powers.”
Thor: “Wielding Mjolnir is about worthiness, not power.”
Iron Man: “Really?”
Thor: “It’s a fine distinction, but an important one.”
Iron Man: “Po-tay-to, po-tah-to.”
Thor: “…I do not know what that means.”

Fun fact; this exchange was based on one the writing team had with the Marvel consultants after they wanted to have Iron Man wield Mjolnir. Marvel vetoed that idea and told them why they couldn’t do that, leading to a very similar conversation. This explains things like why Thor lost his worthiness in the power drain, and why Doof refers at one point to the power to “carry around a hammer for no reason.” Those lines are dialogue artifacts left over from when Thor’s worthiness would have been transferred to Tony until Marvel intervened.

Iron Man is eager to use his other powers, like the lightning and flight, but those are all part of the hammer, too. At least you got super-strength out of the deal. It’s not a total loss. Candace offers to help her brothers fix the machine, but Phineas does something completely unexpected.

Candace: “I know that the villains will….”
Phineas:No! You don't know!”

Phineas snaps at his sister, for what I believe is the first time in the series. Phineas, the font of cheerfulness and optimism just yelled at his sister. And to think people were worried that the superheroes would be drastically out-of-character.

In anger and sadness, Candace leaves as news footage of the chaos at the Googolplex Mall is intercepted by S.H.E.D. The heroes, despite their mix-and-match powers, head off to help, with Phineas and Ferb joining them as the Beak. To make a long story short, it does not go well for our mixed-up heroes. Hulk has no strength, Spider-Man can’t control his strength, the Beak gets cut in half and soaked, and Thor can’t turn his wall-crawling fingers off.

Thor: “I find myself in a sticky situation! Oh no, I’ve received Spider-Man’s propensity for puns!”

And yet your worthiness wasn’t transferred? Hm. Convenient.

To make another long story short, our heroes soon find themselves quickly subdued, and it looks like the villains will reign supreme. How will they get out of this one? We find out after the commercial break. And Stan Lee even does the recap of the last half of the story.

Stan Lee: “When last we left our handsome heroes, their fate hung in the balance in a cataclysmic cliffhanger!”

Thanks, Stan.

Suddenly, our heroes are saved by a mysterious spandex-clad platypus….

Huh I wonder who it could be the disguise is so perfect.
And dropped off back at base.

Phineas: “You know, he seemed vaguely familiar.”
Spider-Man: “You think that was Howard the Duck?”
Iron Man: “Time is of the essence, we’ve gotta… no, it wasn’t Howard the Duck.”

They get back inside S.H.E.D.quarters and try to figure out a Plan B. The temporary powers have all worn off, but Baljeet, the resident Indian whiz-kid, is working on fixing the machine to restore them.

Candace: “And I’m helping!”
Phineas: “You are?”
Candace: “I’m redeeming myself.”

And the Gamma Ray Concentration Beam to restore Hulk’s powers is nearly ready. Candace, once again trying to help, plugs it in. This ends up turning it on before they’re ready, and Baljeet gets a faceful of Gamma radiation, turning him into Hulkjeet. In a fit of rage, he smashes his own machine and runs away until he can learn to control the beast within.

What's with Buford's "I am so high right now" face?
As for Candace, Phineas snaps at her again. But this time, he rejects her apologies and goes off on her about her misguided attempts to help. Finally, he asks for her ID card and tells her to leave. She sadly walks away as a not-quite version of “The Lonely Man” from The Incredible Hulk plays.

Buford: “I’ve always told her. Don’t make Phineas angry. You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.”

And you know what? People don’t. Phineas getting after Candace like this is one of the most often criticized things about this special. Because this episode has to make time for the Marvel characters and all the villains, there’s not much time left for Phineas and Ferb in their own show. Which means that the most memorable thing Phineas does this entire episode is yell at his sister when she’s only trying to help.

Isabella, worrying about Baljeet, offers to go after him.

Buford: “Nah, nah. I’ll go. You stay here, little girl. It might get ugly.”

Um, excuse you, Buford. Isabella is a Fireside Girl Troop Leader. They’re like Girl Scouts mixed with Katniss Everdeen. She’s earned her patches for Aquatic Safety, Tonsillectomy, Aeronautics, Desert Tracking, Rock-climbing, Non-power Flight, Water Rescue, Concussion First-aid, Magic, Intergalactic Planetary Racing, Eating a Grub, and more.

Not only that, she’s strong enough to crush a pencil and once painfully elbowed you, Buford. She should be staring Buford right in the eye and telling him...

God, I love Agent Carter.
 Naturally, she’s not putting up with Buford’s guff and will go right out there and find Hulkjeet, right?

Isabella: “What, you don’t think I can handle ugly? I’ve been hanging out with you all summer!”
Buford: “Sticks and stones.”

Despite her comeback, she stays behind.

I’ll discuss it in a minute.

Perry the Platypus gets a message on his wrist communicators about the villains operating out of Doof’s building, and the monotreme rockets over there immediately. He spies on Doof finishing up his Power Drain-inator by powering it with four orbs of Mundanium Finite.

Dr. Doofenshmirtz: “It would only take one orb of Pizazzium Infinionite, but that’s so hard to find. Oh, don’t get me started.”

If I were still using that counter, you bet your butt it would have just gone up.

He soon completes his work.

Dr. Doofenshmirtz: “Viola! …I know, it’s a large violin. I don’t know why people say that.”

With his work complete, the Cabal now has no more use for Doof, and they capture him in a cage. Red Skull exposits that they will destroy the Tri-State area to deter any other heroes’ attempts to swart them. After another joke about Red Skull’s pronunciation of “thwart,” Red Skull continues that they will drain the powers of every superhero on Earth and then take it over. But first, Red Skull tells Venom to take care of Agent P on the ceiling.

After Perry gets captured in a smaller cage, Doof offers to introduce Perry to… himself. Because Doof doesn’t realize that this super-platypus is his nemesis. Because I guess there's a lot of crime-fighting platypuses.

Over with Hulkjeet, he’s doing all sorts of damage to the city. In case you forgot, I guess. Over with Candace and Isabella, it’s time for one of the main problems with this episode beyond all the crossover issues.

Isabella: “None of the women superheroes showed up, so it’s all about testosterone and towers and fighting. Which… meh.”

We’re then treated to another song. This one’s called “Trying to Help,” and it’s the big Act 2 number. Take a look at these lyrics.

Isabella: "Well, it's all about the boys/Playing with their macho toys. And they're making so much noise/I didn't really want to shout."

I can only imagine that this means that she felt left out by what seemed like a male-only excursion into superheroics. To be fair, that’s a fair point. A lot of female comic fans feel like an unfairly ignored demographic. But that’s because they largely are.

Candace: "My presence felt like an intrusion/Causing way too much confusion. Now I've been sent into seclusion/I've been banished and cast out."

Self-explanatory. She screwed up, she got kicked out.

Candace/Isabella: "I'm not tryin' to place the blame/But I feel it just the same. That we could be, yes, we should be/In the game."

That is an excellent point. One that actually pokes a hole in this entire episode. There are no women superheroes in this episode. And the two main female characters are largely sidelined. Sure, they’re acknowledging this and turning it into a bit of a character moment, but that’s the problem. It’s a character moment. These two barely affect the plot apart from some filler and the finale, and their subplot basically boils down to “I wish the boys let me do cool things.”

Sure, Candace is screwing up, but they’re not letting Isabella join in on the action purely because of that second X-chromosome. To be fair, this is a sentiment that a lot of girls interested in superheroes feel…

Case in point.
But this episode addresses this problem by mentioning it and perpetuating it. In a nutshell….

"Hey. I like superheroes. Can my gender be represented as a butt-kicker?"
"Of course not. But you can gripe about it along with our female characters!"
 I mean, why not treat the female characters like sex objects while we’re at it?

I was being sarcastic!
At least the Distinguished Competition responded to specific criticism by turning a frustrated female fan into a superhero.

I haven't said this much lately, but good job, DC Comics.
At least we get an appearance by Richard O’Brien as Candace's dad, as he reveals that it’s not raining during the song, but he was just watering the lawn.

But mostly the windows, apparently.
Over with Buford, he uses kind words to calm down Hulkjeet, changing him back. But Buford’s scathing criticism of Baljeet’s rampage causes him to Hulk out again. Over at the town hall, Red Skull tells the citizens of Danville that he will destroy the Tri-State area unless the heroes reveal themselves. They show their seriousness by showing off the upgraded Power Drain-inator. Now, it absorbs powers, matter, and energy, leaving nothing behind. He proves its power by using it on a nearby hot dog stand.

Stan Lee: “Aw, man! And I just moved here from New York ‘cause I thought it would be safer!”

S.H.E.D. intercepts the news transmission of the villains, and the heroes resolve to head off to save the day, even without powers. Phineas and Ferb get back to work on their Beak suit as Candace returns to the S.H.E.D. to apologize with Isabella.

Isabella: “They’re your brothers. They’ll listen.”

She enters and apologizes, and we get that brotherly love.

Phineas: “How did you get in? I thought I revoked your S.H.E.D. ID.”

You little jerk.

She tries to talk to her brothers, but Phineas proceeds to yell at her again that she doesn’t understand how dire the situation is. Over downtown, the heroes arrive by bus and get captured almost immediately. Over with Perry and Doof, Perry cuts his way out of his cage with wire cutters that… I guess he just remembered he has. Over with Phineas and Ferb, the overemotional womentypes beg the two not to go as they suit up and go do some superheroing work. Back with the villains, Red Skull gloats.

Red Skull: “You have nothing!”

But something shows up.

Iron Man: “We have a Baljeet.”

With Hulkljeet, the Beak, and Perry showing up, the fight begins! Doof even joins in by firing waffles from the top of his building with his Waffle-inator.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the slay.
While the villains are distracted, Spidey makes off with the reactor core to the Inator. Over with the womenfolk….

Candace: “There’s just one thing I don’t understand about the lost superpowers. In all the comics I’ve read, energy can never be destroyed. Only morphed into a different form or contained somehow.”

Clearly, she's never read the Fantastic Four.
Props to the episode, though. Way to lay some Law of Conservation of Energy on the audience.

Isabella figures out that the powers are stored in the space station, and she takes Candace there in the space module as the heroes keep fighting the villains using a golf cart, a bike, and a skateboard. Apparently, MODOK can’t hit moving targets. Doof decides to switch to the Disintegrator-inator, and rushes off to find an extension cord. Candace, meanwhile, thinks she’s found the button that will shoot the superpowers back into the heroes. Because the energy container has red detailing. And she found a red button. Turns out it was the system shutdown, though, and the space station starts falling to Earth.

In the course of the fighting, the Red Skull obtains all the Mundanium Finite orbs and repowers the machine. Before he can us it, though, the space station falls on him. Candace emerges and repowers the heroes as the villains emerge from their shield bubble. With their powers restored, the heroes smack down the villains with ease, as all the kids sit back and watch, meaning that the final fight was a sausagefest from start to finish.

What happened, Disney? Has Pixar not rubbed off on you enough?
This goes on while Phineas apologizes to his sister.

Candace: “No, I’m sorry. I deserved it.”


Phineas reinstates her as a member of S.H.E.D., and she repays the favor by trying to hurry up and get her Mom so she can bust the boys.

Nick Fury salutes the boys, Stan Lee starts handing out free hot dogs, Ferb gets a Stark Industries internship for next summer, and Doof ends up finally firing off his Disintegrator-inator to accidentally clean up all the battle wreckage before Candace can show her mom the space station shaped like Phineas’s head. During the credits, the kids end up unmasking the mysterious platypus superhero, revealing Candace’s favorite animal character, Ducky Momo, who flies away and quickly returns as Perry, their pet platypus.

Phineas: “You missed all the fun!”

And on an homage shot of the "Spider-Man No More !" cover, the episode ends. Boy, it's a good thing Perry was able to disguise himself as Ducky Momo. Can you imagine what would have happened if Perry's secret were revealed?

Ferb's time as Captain Britain must remain a secret.
Now let's review the crossover nobody demanded and many were confused by!


  1. Why didn't Hulk become Bruce Banner?

    1. Personally, I forgave that little detail.

      I figure that it's because they decided it would be funnier to have a powerless Hulk instead of a normal Bruce Banner. Or it might have something to do with the complete lack of Banner in the Marvel Animation Universe.

    2. Fine, I guess that's possiblem I'll come up with the Watsonian explanation, let me think, while it removed Hulk's strenght of a bull it didn't remove the Gamma Rays that belted Doc Bruce Banner that turned into the Hulk (ain't he unglamorous?) leaving us our everloving Hulk who, as we all know, is more loveable than any monster clown (Is it too obvious that I've been listening to the 1960's Marvel intros?)

    3. Hey, it's better than what Agents of SMASH did to Bruce Banner.

    4. I'm almost afraid to ask... almost. What did it do?

    5. Well, people have wanted to see Bruce Banner for a while (since Mark Ruffalo made him popular again). So they had Hulk reveal that he hasn't changed back into Bruce... Well, basically ever. Then they cure the Hulk, Bruce's around for a single episode, then Hulk is needed to save the world so he re-mutates himself into the Hulk permanently.

      It's as if Marvel said, "You want to see Bruce Banner? There he is. Now he's gone forever. **** you."

    6. Well, that's Just... I have no words...let's botter them about Joe Fixit now!

  2. I must say, I found Isabella's subplot to be really, really, dumb.

    First of all, only Buford was excluding her because she was a girl. And Buford is a jerk. No one else made her feel unwelcome.

    Secondly, Avengers are to her real people, not comic book characters. That means complaining that she doesn't get to work with "right" heroes is just petty. She might as well complain that Hawkeye didn't showed up and it would make as much sense.

    There is a big difference between fictional and real characters. For example from our point of view it sexist that girls don't get to fight bad guys. But from fictional characters' p.o.v., Baljeet didn't asked to be irradiated and if Isabella wanted to grab dead fish and join fight like Buford did, then no one was stopping her.

    All I'm saying if I got chance to I got chance to help Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie save the day, I wouldn't sulk how lack of Spike makes me feel underrepresented and now its all about estrogen, in some convoluted allegory how boys can't like girly things.

    1. Interesting points.

      Though I agree with your thoughts on working with the "right" heroes on principle, I let it slide because it was a bit of a play on fans' reactions to the same thing.

      But I found Buford's sexism to be a bit out of character and Isabella's reaction to be VERY out of character.

      In the end, the special stumbles quite a bit as it lacks focus in its themes and can't decide if it's dumb fun or a love letter to fandoms.

    2. That's what happens when you try to insert politics into something, also, come to think of it, the Candace thing makes her seem kind of dumb, I learned that like two years ago in high school...

    3. Then again, you have to keep in mind the target audience. While I'm all for smart and mature storytelling in cartoons, the target audience is in elementary school and probably doesn't know about the Law of Conservation of Energy.

    4. I mean, that could've come from anyone else explaining it...