Thursday, May 21, 2015

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

Seriously, why does this episode have the same title as an episode of Ultimate Spider-Man? Is it really that hard to come up with a title?

The Hulks and the Guardians team up to stop the Skrulls. While this was probably meant to be some kind of sequel to both "It's a Wonderful Smash" and "Deathlok," the episode does a poor job of following up on those events. Instead, we get a generic "stop the bad guys from completing their super weapon" plot.

Ho hum.

Actually, can I bring up that plot for a second?

They were going to siphon the Gamma energy from the Hulks to create Skrulks.

First of all, Gamma radiation's a real thing. And the Skrulls probably could have gotten some from some Plutonium, or some other easily obtainable radioactive isotope.

Second of all, in the various alternate Marvel universes, it's basically assumed that Gamma rays only create Hulks if you use a concentrated dose on somebody with a very specific sequence in their DNA.

What all of this basically means is that by the standard rules of the Marvel universe, the Skrulls were trying to harness something they could find more easily somewhere else and use it in a way that wouldn't work on their alien biology.

Or maybe it doesn't work that way in this universe and I'm just nitpicking. After all, it's just a show. I should really just relax.

As Hulk was trying to hammer into our heads, the theme of the episode is to be optimistic.

If I wanted to give the writers the credit, then I'd say they were going for the lesson of "Things aren't always what they seem." Sometimes, a bad situation isn't as bad as you think. And sometimes, your best friend is a shapeshifting invader from beyond the stars. But I think that's a bit of a stretch. Sometimes, a ham-fisted moral is all that a story has hidden in its depths. And sometimes, they use inconsistent characterization to make it work. Let's talk about that.

Red Hulk
So it turns out that one of the brasher, more overconfident, cockier characters is turning into a Debbie Downer. And all it takes to turn that around is a pep talk.


Guardians of the Galaxy
They have almost no reason to be here. You could take them out of the episode and all you'd lose is that moment when Drax and Gamora are mistaken for Gamma mutates. And that wasn't even a pivotal moment in the episode.

The Guardians were completely superfluous to this episode. But there's nothing wrong with having a crossover for the sake of a crossover. Actually, without them, this episode would be even more forgettable than it already is.

Though I must say that I find it problematic that both She-Hulk and Gamora were taken out of action fairly quickly. Then again, so were most of the men. Fine, you're off the hook this time, show. This time.

Again, superfluous. Ostensibly, he's here to get revenge on the Hulks for what happened in "Deathlok," but he never does anything aside from fight the Hulks. Which the other Skrulls were also doing.

I will say this. The opening shots of space are some of the best parts in this series. I've always been a sucker for nebulous energy swirls in space.

They better not hit Tom Baker on their journey.
And I'll admit that the wobbly camera as they went through the magnetic storm was a bit of a nice touch.

Pretty much the only time the weird letterboxing ever worked.
And so were Leader's socks.

The man just wants to be comfortable. I can respect that.
Final Thoughts
I find myself with little to say.

No sprawling essays, no pages of ranting.

I was simply underwhelmed for simple reasons. And you know what? That's a good thing. After the way the past few episodes had me ranting and raving and whining and complaining, having an episode this good not bad is a breath of fresh air.

I want to like this show. That might be hard to believe, but it's true. Every episode, I hope to turn on the TV and be pleasantly surprised. And today, I was.

Is this a perfect episode by any stretch? No. Does it hold up to your average episode of, say, Avengers: EMH? Or Spectacular Spider-Man? Hell, no.

But it's miles above what this season started with.

Next time... is another case entirely. Get out your miner's hats and bring along a canary, because Agents of S.M.A.S.H. is going to dig itself deeper. See you then.


  1. You know? I think this whole thing was just an excuse for the Super Skrull to try and get revenge on Hulk

    1. Jeph Loeb has probably been replaced with a Skrull.

    2. Everyone turns out to be a Skrull these days

    3. The Skrulls are making the current shows intentionally bad in an attempt to slander Earth's heroes! This all makes perfect sense!

      - That One Anon

    4. And DC axed their own quality lineup in an attempt to keep Marvel from looking even worse by comparison! Such a noble sacrifice....