Thursday, May 21, 2015

Recap: Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. "Guardians of the Galaxy"

Well, I'm returning to Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. And so are the Guardians of the Galaxy.

You know, it's pretty lazy when you just name an episode after the guest stars. But do you know what's even lazier? Reusing an episode title after naming an episode after the guest stars. The Guardians already showed up once, why can't they just name this episode "The Return of the Guardians of the Galaxy"?

Oh, wait....
The episode begins, once again, in space, in which our “heroes” still find themselves lost. The ship is flailing about in a magnetic storm, but Rick is wondering just how the Leader can sleep while all this is going on. Meanwhile, I’m starting to wonder if the Hulks are committing crimes by keeping the Leader locked up in their bathroom. I mean, that’s got to count as cruel and unusual punishment. And it’s not like they’re sticking him in a disused bathroom, either. An earlier episode specifically pointed out that there was only one bathroom in the ship.

Speaking of things to gross you out….

A-Bomb: “I haven’t been this nauseous since I swallowed a mouthful of Ego’s big, snotty, green… Oh, man, I’m gonna hurl.”

Reminding me of that episode? You’re losing points very quickly, show. Also, A-Bomb swallowed saliva, not snot. If you're going to disgust me, then get your details straight.

She-Hulk, meanwhile, is busy piloting the ship through the magnetic storm. I’d go off on a tangent about how spacecraft don’t have to deal with drag and the artificial gravity on Leader’s craft would probably use some kind of inertial dampening… but I probably already lost you with that sentence. Long story short, there’s a lot of things wrong with the physics of the ship at the moment. But like wondering how they eat and breathe and other science facts, I’m going to repeat to myself that it’s just a show and I should really just relax.

Hulk tells the cutaway camera that they’ve been lost in space for a while and as the days go by, they face the increasing inevitability that they are alone in a godless, uninhabited, hostile, and meaningless universe.

"Still, you've got to laugh, haven't you?"
A-Bomb: “Soon as I clean up these barf bags, I’ll send out another distress call.”

Nope. Not laughing.

Red Hulk is a bit bummed over the whole deal, saying that even if they do get home by some miracle, Earth still hates them. Hulk decides to take Rulk into the other room and give him a talking to for being such a Debbie Downer.

Hulk: “You wanna mope around, Mr. Crabby-Pants? Fine.”

You’re thinking of the wrong Clancy Brown character, Hulk.

Hulk: “But remember, you used to be an Army General who inspired his troops.”

Well, he was an Army General at least. As the ship exits the magnetic storm, they Hulks get a message on the big screen from a familiar face.

Captain America: “Cap to Hulks. Can you read me?”

Apparently, Cap and the Avengers have been searching all over the galaxy for a while looking for them. Don’t ask me how any of this fits into the timeline of Avengers Assemble or I’ll start to cry a little.

Cap transmits the coordinates for a nearby planet, and the Hulks make their way there. A-Bomb is quite excited when he meets the Avengers in person, but everyone’s mood goes down a notch when Captain America slaps some handcuffs on the Hulk and tells them they’re under arrest. A fight soon starts, but there’s a lot of stuff that seems… off. Hawkeye and Black Widow are using futuristic lasers, Falcon isn’t there, and Cap is using “Avengers attack!” as his battle cry. And when Cap says that, it’s Marvel’s subtle clue that not all is as it seems.

When a solid punch breaks open Iron Man’s helmet, Tony Stark and the rest of the Avengers are revealed to be Skrulls; shapeshifting aliens last seen in Season 1’s “Deathlok.” And that's why I’m not ranting for a few paragraphs on the Avengers’ jurisdiction in outer space. There’s a different Recap you can read for that rant.

With the Faux-vengers defeated, Red Hulk decides that leaving the planet is probably the best option. But Hulk thinks that it might be a good idea to stop whatever the Skrulls have been planning here. Before they can argue too much over a course of action, the Guardians of the Galaxy show up pretty much out of nowhere. A-Bomb describes who they all are to the audience, but I won’t. If you don’t know who they are by this point, go read any of the Recaps I did to build up to the release of their movie.

Their last episode before they were redesigned to match the movie. Thank goodness. I hate Star-Lord's helmet.
But actually, A-Bomb’s explanation of who they are makes sense. Last season’s Christmas special hadn’t aired yet (because if Disney XD loves anything, it’s airing Marvel holiday specials out-of-order) so this would have been the first introduction the audience had for the team. Assuming they didn’t catch them on Ultimate Spider-Man or Avengers Assemble. And also assuming they didn’t just pirate the episode before it aired on TV.

Anyway, Red Hulk opens fire on the Guardians, believing them to be Skrulls. And the Guardians return fire, believing the Hulks to be Skrulls. Oh, the irony. But Rocket Raccoon realizes that no Skrull could be as strong as these Hulks and manages to get the fight to stop.

Star-Lord: “Hulk, it’s really us! We fought the Collector, remember? Had Christmas dinner in a crummy diner in the desert…. Any o’ this ringing a bell, big guy?”

It sure isn’t ringing a bell for the audience. This episode aired November 2014. The episode Star-Lord’s referencing didn’t air until a month later.

Anyway, the fighting stops and the Guardians explain why they’re here. They’ve been stalking the Skrulls for months, checking out rumors that they were trying to create super-soldiers. And you could argue that by one of them changing into Captain America, they did. Speaking of shapeshifting into superheroes, Rocket wants the Hulks to prove that they’re really the Hulks.

"Prove it."
"You're a dick."
Actually, that’s not far off the mark from what really happens.

Red Hulk: “Well, I know the little raccoon there would make a good hat.”
Rocket: “Yep, that’s the red jerk, alright.”

Suddenly, She-Hulk and A-Bomb turn into Skrulls.

Not-She-Hulk: “Guess we should have studied harder… before we took your friends.”

Oh, come on. You guys didn’t even try to convince them you were really the other Hulks. Maybe they remembered how easily they fell for the “Pink Hulk” gambit last time.

The Skrulls make their orders to take the Gamma-powered ones alive known and open fire. Thanks to Groot on the defense and Hulk on the offense, the bad guys go down pitifully easily. After a few threats, they spill the beans that the other Hulks have been taken away to have their Gamma energy drained. The heroes pile into Star-Lord’s ship to track the captive Hulks and, after Drax and Red Hulk bond a little bit, they spot the train taking the Hulks to be processed. But the train spots them back and opens fire. Our heroes leap down onto the train to fight the assembled Skrulls, but things get a little complicated when the Super-Skrull shows up to get his revenge on the Hulk.

Looks like it was continued.
Hulk, Star-Lord, Rocket, and Groot fight the Super-Skrull while the others go to search the train for the other Hulks. But things don’t go according to plan (really, that kind of sums up this whole episode) as Gamora and Drax are captured. The Skrull in charge reasons that since Drax and Gamora are green, they must be powered by Gamma energy, so he order them to be taken to be processed. Nice reasoning there, pal. Because it’s not like there just happen to be green aliens who aren’t Gamma powered, right?

Like your own entire race, for example.
But Red Hulk manages to find where the others are being held. But before he can free them, Skaar assumes that he’s a Skrull and kicks him off the train. And Hulk’s group fares no better as Super-Skrull disconnects their train car and summons his insect minions to finish them off. While a sonic clap takes care of the bugs, Hulk’s group is still no closer to saving the others. Made worse by the fact that there are now others to be saved. Red Hulk meets back up with Hulk’s group and continues to be a Gloomy Gus.

But despite that, they manage to quickly find the main Skrull base. They spy a weird green goo with pods hooked up to it. In one of the pods are the other Hulks, and Drax and Gamora are in the other pod. The Hulks’ pod is lowered into the goo where some kind of mad SCIENCE happens, draining Gamma energy out of the Hulks and creating Hulk-Skrulls. “Skrulks,” if you will.

Red Hulk, yet again, is quick to call the situation hopeless, but Hulk pep talks him into action. Red Hulk decides that Skrulls aren’t the only ones who can play the camouflage game and formulates a plan to sneak into the base by disguising themselves with the fetid corpses of those insectoid drones they killed earlier. And because the Skrulls have nothing which could even remotely be called “security,” it works like a charm.

The Skrulls attempt the Gamma procedure again, but discover that Drax and Gamora aren’t Gamma-powered and put them aside. Hulk and the remaining heroes initiate their one and only plan. Here’s a hint: it rhymes with “Shmash shmeverything shmup.” Groot rescues She-Hulk, A-Bomb, and Skaar before the Skrulls can drain more energy from them, and everybody reunites for the final battle. It doesn’t go well. Mainly because the Skrulks can pick up Red Hulk like he was Fay Wray.

Star-Lord and Rocket end up unarmed, which gives the Super-Skrull a bit of an advantage. With things going badly, Red Hulk cannonballs into the Gamma goo before emerging as a gigantic brute with more than enough strength to take on two Skrulks at once.

Big Red vs. the Doublemint Twins.
Meanwhile, Rocket finds the Skrull spaceship and gets to work.

Star-Lord: “How are you planning on blowing up their ship with no explosives?” Rocket: “It’s got a power source and wires; what else do I need?”

Some kind of combustible fuel for the explosion. You’d think the furry little pyromaniac would know that.

But scrambling the wires inside a single, easily-accessible control panel seems to have been enough to overload the entire ship and rig it to explode. Actually, what’s interesting to me is that if you look at the explosion, the Skrulls actually seems to be out of the blast zone. Unlike Star-Lord. Which would mean that this explosion did nothing but injure one of Rocket’s own teammates.

The only guy not running is the only guy Rocket wasn't aiming for. Way to go, furball.
But the initial explosion also manages to set off a few subsequent explosions, which you’d think would destroy the facility, but you’d be wrong. The building is just as intact before the explosion effects as it is after them. But despite all the ineffectual explosions, the day ends up saved when Hulk and Red Hulk team-up to bury the Super-Skrull beneath a pile of unconscious Skrulks.

The two teams reconvene at Star-Lord’s ship, where they all heap praise on the now normally-sized Red Hulk, who burned up all his extra Gamma energy fighting the Skrulks.

Star-Lord: “You saved a lot more than the day. This could’ve been a lot worse.”

Yeah, actually. This episode could have been as bad as “All About the Ego.”

Star-Lord hands Hulk a small memory drive, saying that it contains a map that can get them back to Earth. Call me crazy, but I’d be willing to bet real money that this map won’t actually be involved when the team returns home.

For now, Red Hulk runs to the ship and throws up. We don’t see it, but we get to hear the retching, moaning, and splattering sounds. Wonderful.

The team reboards their ship, where A-Bomb brags to the Leader that they’ve got coordinates for Earth now. I’d like to point out that the Leader is still locked in the bathroom. Near as I can tell, he never left the bathroom. This raises the question: Where exactly did Red Hulk throw up? It was probably somewhere on the ship, because that’s where he was running to when he started screaming about how he couldn’t hold it in. Not to mention the vague sound of something flushing when he was retching.

Marvel, these are not the things I should be thinking about. Toilet humor shouldn't be confusing.

Hulk brings things full circle by explaining to the camera what the moral of the story was, as per usual. This week, it was all about hope, and never giving up, and teamwork, and yadda yadda. Thankfully, Red Hulk knocks Hulk out of the frame and delivers the sign off himself.

Red Hulk (cutaway): “Red Hulk. Over and out.”

Red Hulk, you're hard to love. But you're harder to hate.
And with that, the episode ends. Time to review.


  1. Man, Groot creeps me out. His face is like a skull with spikes jetting out of it. He's supposed it be loveable, not hideous!

    1. Agreed. I'm not really a fan of how Gamora, Groot, and Star-Lord look. In this case, I think copying the film look is preferable to what they came up with. Of course, they first appeared in Ultimate Spider-Man, which is a bit more willing to use something other than film designs.

  2. But Red Hulk and A-Bomb aren't green and they're gamma powered!

    ...also, I liked Star Lord's (who?) helmet

    1. Yeah.:. This episode has some logic issues. I wouldn't mind Star-Lord's helmet... if I didn't absolutely LOVE his movie headgear.

    2. Oh! My bad I thought you meant the movie one, that's one really cool mask

    3. No, I LOVE the movie one. Which originated in the comics. Which still makes me wonder why Marvel decided the half-helmet was the way to go for their cartoons....