I hope I haven't disappointed anyone who apparently didn't read the title of this post and thought I was doing something for the 40th Anniversary of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I'm sorry.
|Here's Harley Quinn doing the Time Warp. I hope this makes amends.|
|No, really. A Hulk cartoon. Look it up.|
Captain America: “This joker’s fast, I’ll give him that.”
|“Why, thank you! I’ve been working out a bit lately.”|
|Not impressed, Hawkeye. Anyone could hit her from that close.|
Iron Man’s pretty whiny over how sketchy the whole situation is, seeing as how not only are the Avengers in the dark about what’s going on, but Nick Fury seems to be off the grid. Remember, this show came before Ultimate Spider-Man turned Nick Fury into a petty little dictator. In that case, no sign of Fury would be a good thing.
But the Avengers finally reach their destination: the Cube. And it’s spewing a big bubble of green.
Thor: “What manner of sorcery is this?”
Iron Man: “Wow. It’s pure Gamma radiation.”
You know, I’m not going to nitpick the idea of a visible radiation bubble. It’s no more absurd than the idea of a force field, and we let sci-fi slide with those things all the time.
Iron Man: “Man, I bet Hank is sorry he stayed behind in Wakanda now."
Especially when you consider the fact that if Black Panther’s in America, then Wakanda must currently be in the process of overhauling their government. And given Wakanda’s history of isolationism and distrust of outsiders…. Welp, Hank was no doubt executed for the heinous crime of being a foreigner.
Voice: “Where’s Bruce Banner? I was told he was on your team.”
|Ah, yes. Time to explain.|
Captain America: “Why does that man have green hair?”
|“Kids today. They only get stupid haircuts, tattoos, and body
piercings just to shock people.”|
“You’re the only one shocked by it, Cap.”
Tangent over, Iron Man quickly covers for the Hulk's disappearance.
Iron Man: “Hulk is on a… vacation.”
Yeah, they’re not buying it. And they’re not exactly put at ease by that statement.
But the Avengers are shown the camera footage from S.H.I.E.L.D.’s incursion into the Cube, looking for all the world like somebody’s doing a co-op Halo Let’s Play.
|"Okay, I'm gonna go left. Cover me."|
"**** you, you noob. Stay in formation."
"Don't call me a noob, buttmunch."
"Guys, protect me, my Hot Pocket's ready!"
Doc Samson: “Strong as the Hulk, twice as mean. And with military training.”
|“So it’s a good thing he was never pardoned of his crimes and put in
charge of capturing the Hulk, huh?”|
“Good God, that would be idiotic.”
|I'm sure it's not as bad as it looks.|
But alas, as much as I'd like to go into detail about the character and brag about how I own the non-Marvel comics that Terror, Inc. originated from, this guy shows up in a more mutated form later. So this was probably just a minor shout-out at best.
Anyway, here’s the problem. The dome’s expanding, and it’s due to hit a town within six hours, and a major city in eight. When Cap asks who’s behind it, Doc pulls up a profile on the Leader. He’s as smart as the Hulk is strong, and it seems as though he’s amassed a Gamma army, including the Abomination, Absorbing Man, and
Agent Quartermain: “We want you to go into the Cube.”
Wasp has a good laugh at this.
Wasp: “Oh, wait, you’re serious.”
Meanwhile, in New York, Black Widow has decided to be a part of the show again.
|At least, her butt has.|
It’s probably important to mention that earlier in the season, Black Widow was caught by Hawkeye while trying to sell Hulk’s blood to HYDRA, only for her to claim that Hawkeye was the traitor the whole time, putting him on the run. I mean, we haven’t seen these guys for like 6 episodes now. Of course, the Ultimate Spider-Man route of telling us stuff we already know at the beginning of every episode isn’t much better.
Hawkeye sneaks in behind her and starts drumming up some havoc while the dome in the Nevada desert gets bigger. The Avengers suit up in radiation suits that Doc Samson prepared for them. Except Thor.
Thor: “An Asgardian needs no such protection.”
That’s right, Thor’s immune to Gamma mutation, unlike his Avengers Assemble counterpart. Point to Avengers: EMH.
After Wasp takes a second to check out her own butt real quick….
|As does some of the audience. Yowza.|
But I'm just going to assume that I can't correctly identify any of these characters and call them by names that I know are 100% incorrect.
|Grawp, Cuddles, and Flap-Flaps.|
Black Panther: “If the Leader is as brilliant as Samson says, then this is probably a trap. He will be prepared for the Hulk at the very most, and S.H.I.E.L.D. at the very least.”
Wasp: “I forgot you talked!”
Can't say I blame you; that was his first line in this episode.
Thor: “If this is a trap, warriors. Then so be it.”
Over with Black Widow, she’s selling the Hulk’s blood to Viper/Madame Viper/Madame Hydra. (She has many names, and the various sources I've found list variations on the above. Either way, she's a high-ranking Agent of HYDRA and she's voiced by Vanessa Marshall.) But alas, Viper doesn’t get the vial. When she’s distracted by Hawkeye’s raid on her facility, Widow puts it back in her wrist gauntlet for safekeeping before swinging down on a rope to attack the purple archer. Inside the Cube, one of the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents gets grabbed and pulled into the chartreuse mists. And then the other members of the U-Foes appear. Ironhide, X-Ray, and Vector.
|A skull in a containment suit? 10/10 BEST EPISODE|
But Wasp might still be okay. After all, as we’ve seen in the old Incredible Hulk TV show, Hulk, and The Incredible Hulk, the transformation isn’t unstoppable until we get a close-up shot of the character’s eye turning green.
|Personally, I think this is taking the idea of a “wasp waist” a bit too far|
Now, I understand that there are people out there who do find the mutated Wasp to be sexy.
Okay, then. That's fine. By and large, I don't care about other people's fetishes. Furries? Feet? Leather? Juggling geese? Whatever floats your boat; it's not my business. But I still submit that whether or not you find Gamma-Wasp to be attractive, her final design noticeably breaks from the usual method of female anthropomorphic character design.
So. Let's take Disney's Robin Hood as an example of anthropomorphized character design.
|This vixen (pun intended) is Maid Marian.|
To convey to the audience that Robin Hood sees her as one foxy lady (pun definitely intended), the character design includes features that we as humans might find desirable in females.
- Noticeably feminine eyelashes
- Humanoid facial proportions
- Humanoid figure
- Et cetera.
Now, some anthropomorphized characters will be more humanoid, some less humanoid, but generally speaking, when an anthropomorphic character is supposed to be attractive in-universe, then human features considered attractive will be generally included in the design. And actually, Wasp herself briefly got this treatment in the 90's, when her attractive human features were augmented with the aesthetically pleasing parts of insect anatomy in her X-TREME redesign.
|Wings, basically. Ovipositors are a bit of a niche fetish.|
And when you factor in what such an unnatural transformation would look like in real life, the whole design gets even more unsettling.
|Well, there's my nightmares for tonight.|
- Good job, EMH, on not going the stereotypical route of purposefully sexualizing the transformation.
- I'm not judging anyone who does find it sexy. Whatever butters your parsnips.
Anyway, from his control room, the Leader (Jeffrey Combs) watches the Avengers struggle for a bit before deciding to use his mind-control headband to order the Wasp to kill Doc Samson. She tries, but Thor gets in the way of her claws (which can charge up with her energy “stings” now).
Thor: “Remember who you are!”
It works for a second, but she resumes her attack while more Gamma monsters appear. Black Panther knocks one down and runs off, despite Iron Man yelling at him to get back with the rest of the team.
|"Panther! You're not earning my trust! You're not earning my trust!"|
Back in New York, Black Widow has Hawkeye at her mercy. He yells at her to just finish him off, but she doesn’t. Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, Hawkeye tries to trip her as she hesitates, but she dodges the attack and counters with some attacks of her own. Their fight takes them through the burning HYDRA warehouse until a few lucky shots break Widow’s wrist-gauntlets and wrap her up against a wooden crate. She tells him that he can’t take her to S.H.I.E.L.D. because they think he’s a traitor.
Hawkeye: “Yeah. I remember. That’s why I’m not taking you to S.H.I.E.L.D.”
Uh, what are you doing with that knife, Hawkeye?
|"Let's put a smile on that face."|
Hawkeye: “I’m taking you to the Avengers.”
That’s gonna take some doing, seeing as how they’re getting their butts kicked as they flee through the Cube. Cap and Iron Man go down hard, and Iron Man yells at Thor to keep heading toward the generator. Doc Samson and Thor find their way there, but the generator is guarded by the super-Gamma-charged Wrecking Crew instead of the Leader.
|I like how Piledriver's powers are literally just "FIST."|
Luckily, Black Panther is sneaking around up at the top of the generator, using Thor’s fight as a distraction so he can shut the power down. He accomplishes this by throwing some vibranium darts into the core. The ensuing reaction shreds his radiation suit, but the Gamma blast shuts the reactor down, reverting all the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and the Wasp back to normal as the dome disappears.
Meanwhile, Hawkeye is taking the tied-up Black Widow to the Avengers on his hoverbike. It’s a bit awkward.
|Or should I say… hawk-ward!|
Black Panther: “Did we?”
Well, the episode’s labeled as a “Part 1,” so I’d say… no. And we soon see the Leader and his remaining henchmen looking over Las Vegas.
Leader: "I would call that little test run a success. And now… we begin.”
A green glow envelops the city.
|"Soon... the whole world with be bathed in minty freshness."|