Thursday, October 29, 2015

Recap: Avengers: EMH "Gamma World, Part 2"

Hulkoween continues, and so does "Gamma World"!

When we last left our heroes, they had defeated the evil villain's plot, only for it to be revealed that the villain had a larger goal in mind that he was closer to accomplishing.

Of course, I've also just summed up the plot of pretty much every episode of Young Justice....
Part 2 opens up with a shot of the Earth from space. At least, I think it’s the Earth. Here, let’s play a little game.

It’s called “Recognize a Landmass.” Ready? Go!
Since the last episode, Las Vegas has been covered in a green, radioactive glow, creating horrible mutants as far as the eye can see. And the radiation dome is expanding.

Meanwhile, S.H.I.E.L.D. is putting the finishing touches on taking the Gamma villains back into custody. Iron Man is pretty eager to chalk this up as a win, but the Avengers spot the green dome drawing nearer. Speaking of drawing nearer, Hawkeye’s hoverbike has nearly reached the Avengers. Black Widow insists that the Avengers won’t trust Hawkeye any more than S.H.I.E.L.D. does. But Hawkeye responds that that’s why he made sure to grab that vial of Hulk blood in the fight at the HYDRA base. But suddenly, the green dome appears, and he makes a U-turn to avoid the strange energy field.

The S.H.I.E.L.D. agents all start re-mutating, and all the Avengers do, too. After Wasp turns back into that strangely-popular bug-girl, Iron Man has a heart attack.

Here you go, kids. Enjoy Iron Man's horrifyingly-graphic cardiac arrest.
He also gets a particularly gruesome mutation that shows his armor bury cables and wires directly into his heart….

Careful not to hit the shrapnel.
Before the cables burst out of his chest and wrap around his body like vines on a tree.

Yes, I'm showing the most disturbing mutation in detail on purpose.
Thor, immune to the effects, can only wonder how this is happening as a mutated Black Panther attacks Doc Samson.

Now, I'm going to give these mutations a free pass. Wasp and Black Panther mutating into a wasp and a black panther is a bit convenient, but it's a cool-looking convenience.

Although Doc Samson probably disagrees.
And as for Tony's armor mutating... it's impossible and unrealistic for several reasons, but I'd take it over the alternative of having Iron Man simply hulk out any day.

Any. Day.
Thor turns to face his friends, only to find the horrible monsters they’ve become, including Captain America, who has become...

A Hulk. How boring.
Thor: “Avengers, remember who you are!”

But it works as well this time as it did last time. That is to say, not at all.

Thor gets quickly overwhelmed by the mutant horde as Hawkeye wakes up after the hoverbike crash that apparently happened offscreen. Black Widow wakes up at the same time, and she’s managed to untie herself. They eye their respective weapons before lunging at them, ending up in a standoff. But before they can continue their conflict, a hologram pops up on Hawkeye’s bike. The same message being broadcast everywhere.

Leader: “Attention, humanity.”

Hawkeye uses the distraction to hit Widow with a TASER-arrow before listening to the Leader’s transmission. Long story short: The Leader is disgusted by humanity’s weakness, so he plans to turn the world into horrible freaks, thinking that this will somehow improve upon nature. And then he’s going to rule the world and create a utopia. The broadcast is watched by everyone around the world. Pepper Potts, Arnim Zola, even the Wakandans are tuned in.

Considering the power vacuum that T'Challa left, perhaps they're actually considering the Leader's words.
Leader: “Welcome… to Gamma World!”

Meh. I much prefer California’s Gamma Land instead. But I hear Gammaland Paris (formerly EuroGamma) is pretty good, too.

Black Widow is tied up yet again, and Hawkeye demands to know if she had anything to do with this. Obviously, the answer is “no.” After all, HYDRA’s idea of a master race is considerably more blonde-haired and blue-eyed than what the Leader has planned.

Black Widow: “Clint, the Avengers were inside that dome. They’re gone. What now?”
Hawkeye: “Not all of the Avengers were inside. We have to find the Hulk.”

Black Widow tells him that the Hulk was spotted in Nothern Canada that morning, and that there’s a Hulkbuster operation scheduled soon. She says that if they hurry…

Hawkeye: “What do you mean ‘we,’ traitor?”

Don’t blame her, Hawkeye. You said “we” first. “We have to find the Hulk.” What, were you just using the royal we?

"We are not amused."
In what is probably the worst thing any character has ever done on this show so far, he leaves her behind to be mutated by the Gamma dome.

Seriously, what the Hell, Hawkeye?
Over in Vegas, Thor and Doc Samson are brought before the Leader. Thor, having been unconscious the whole time, is missing his hammer because none of Leader’s minions could lift the thing.

Leader: “And you, of all the Avengers, were not affected by my Gamma energy… Now, tell me. Why is that?”

Because this ain't Avengers Assemble.
Thor: “Mortal science holds no fear for an Asgardian.”

But for the love of Odin, keep your mistletoe away from Baldr.

Leader decides that if Thor can’t be mutated, then he can always be beaten up, and the Abomination is brought in to do just that.

Abomination: “Not scared? You will be.”

Man, Yoda got big and mean. Speaking of big and mean, the Hulk is fighting his way through Northern Canada, chased by S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Hulkbusters all the way. Bullets, missiles, tanks , helicopters; nothing they throw at him can take him down. That is, until they take him down. But suddenly, the helicopter that did the deed gets hit by a purple, exploding arrow before getting its fuel tank punctured by a few regular arrows. With the air support forced to retreat, the Hulk gets his second wind and starts smashing the tanks sent after him, with some assistance from Hawkeye. The few remaining S.H.I.E.L.D. operatives are sent fleeing with a mighty roar, and Hawkeye simply gets told to leave.

Hawkeye: “I need some help.”
Hulk: “Hm. Call the Avengers.”
Hawkeye: “The Avengers are the ones I’m trying to save. Not to mention the whole world.”

Hawkeye explains the deal regarding the Gamma dome, but Hulk tells him that he should have gone to S.H.I.E.L.D.

Hawkeye: “I don’t need them, smart guy. And I don’t need you. I need Banner.”

Sometimes, a Hulk just needs to feel wanted.
Hulk:Banner's not home.”

So… could you take a message?

Hawkeye: “Listen, Bigfoot. If you don’t give me Bruce Banner in the next three seconds… Bottom line: I will take you down.”

The Hulk finds this laughs, and laughs uproariously before deciding to give Hawkeye what he came for.

Bruce: “Okay, you have to give me a minute. He hasn’t let me out in weeks."

And after adjusting his pants, he asks for everything Hawkeye knows.

Over with Thor, the Abomination has stopped beating him up, giving him a chance to start debating the finer points of government with the Leader.

Thor: “What gives you the right to lead this world?”

“Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical mass mutation!”
Thor: “You defeat your enemies with trickery! With the strength of others!”

Go ahead and read Richard III some time, Thor.

Thor: “You have no honor.”

So you’re a Klingon now?

The Leader launches into a standard “I’m the smartest and the world is plagued by war and famine and stuff” speech.

Leader: “Mankind is on the brink of destruction!”

Yeah yeah, storms come, you learned to be strong, you don't lean on anyone else. Gotcha.

Back at the Cube, the Wrecking Crew are still trying and failing to lift Thor’s hammer. But after a sudden bolt of lightning, it rises up and flies away. Over in Canada, Hawkeye is pretty impressed with Bruce’s set up.

I'm pretty impressed, too. If Bruce hasn't been let out of the Hulk's mind in weeks, then when did he set all this up? Weeks ago? How long has he been gone? I mean, I know I recapped the episode where he ran off  seven months ago, but there's only been four episodes between that episode and this one. And the Hulk's departure from the Avengers isn't common knowledge, so it couldn't have been too long ago.

But I've had enough difficulties trying to figure out how Ultimate Spider-Man, Avengers Assemble, and Agents of S.M.A.S.H. fit together into a single timeline, so I'm not about to start over with this show's chronology.

As Bruce goes over the data that Hawkeye’s ride collected, he hits Hawkeye with a little device.

Bruce: “I just inoculated you.”

"Really? Because it felt like a staple gun."
"Might have been. Wasn't looking."
So Hawkeye is now temporarily inoculated against the Gamma energy while Bruce packs up his things to do some of his science on the road. After all, the longer these people are transformed, the less likely it is that they’ll be able to transform back to humans. And since Banner triangulated the center of the dome, they know exactly where to go.

Hawkeye: “So, how’re we going to get to the Leader?”
Bruce: “The direct route….”

Uh, maybe don’t transform yet, Bruce? You have some science to do on the way, remember?
But alas, he Hulks out, grabs, Hawkeye, and starts jumping to Vegas, meaning that any science that still needed to be done will probably have to be done by Hawkeye while bouncing up and down. Speaking of Vegas, Thor gets beaten up some more before knocking out Abomination in one hit.

Leader: “You cannot win. You must know that.”
Thor: "I disagree, villain.”

Mjolnir crashes through the window, returning to Thor’s hand. But alas, Thor’s moment is ruined when he gets covered in what appears to be Silly Putty. Said Silly Putty is really the Absorbing Man. Because, as was the Leader’s plan all along, he can now absorb the properties of the magic metal (Uru) that Mjolnir was made from.

Leader: “You asked before what gives me the right to rule? Because no one can stop me.”

As the Gamma dome continues to expand, Absorbing Man and Abomination start beating the crap out of Thor for realsies. But the God of Thunder still refuses to give up as the fight spills over from the Leader’s tower to the streets below.

Leader: “And without the Avengers… who is left to stand against me?”

Yeah, you all saw this next part coming, didn’t you?

"Well, look at this. Appears we got here just in the nick of time. What does that make us?"
"Big damn heroes, Cupid."
"Ain't we just."
The Leader tries to spin Gamma World as a good thing for the Hulk ,where no one will ever hunt him down, “cure” him, or hate him.

Leader: “Are you really going to try and stop me?”
Hulk: “No.”

Uh… what?

Hulk: “Not stop you. Smash you!”

That’s better.

Leader: “Disappointing… but not unexpected.”

While Abomination goes after his old enemy, Hawkeye has to try and get past the GammAvengers to stop the Leader. He shoots Cap and Wasp with arrows, earning the Leader’s frustration. After all, these magnificent monsters can’t be stopped by arrows.

Hawkeye: “Yeah, I know. I’m not a genius like you. So I went and found one. And he made me some new arrows.”

Wasp and Cap turn back to normal, thanks to the cure Bruce Banner made. With the odds beginning to favor the Avengers, the Leader activates Final Boss Mode.

Complete with big, glowy weak spots.
Thor gets the snot beaten out of him by Absorbing Man, and refuses to fight back because he’s “concentrating” And when Absorbing Man’s fist stops right before Thor’s face, we see exactly what he was concentrating on.

Thor: ‘The hammer’s power is not yours to control. It is mine.”

As Absorbing Man flies into space at Thor’s will, the other Gammavengers get a dose of the cure while Hawkeye fights the Leader. And since the Leader’s robot-suit doesn’t have a big ol’ eye like a Zelda game, he’s not sure where to shoot his arrows. So instead, he escapes out the hole the Hulk made, followed by the Leader.

Meanwhile, Hulk and Abomination fight on the roof, right next to the Gamma-emitter. As the Hulk gets madder, he gets stronger, so the Abomination turns his Gamma-booster up to eleven and gains the upper hand. That is, until Hawkeye gets him in the head with a cure-arrow, turning him back to his regular size. With a Hulk-sized punch knocking the Abomination clear out of Vegas, the heroes turn their attention to the Leader… who gets smacked down by the falling Absorbing Man. The Hulk breaks the Gamma-emitter, and the civilians all return to normal. The Leader emerges from his craft, headband broken, brain growing so big that he can’t move.

Leader: “I was creating the perfect world… all in my image….”
Hulk: “That’s the problem. You’re ugly.”

Yeah, he should really think about shaving off that mustache. That might help.
The sun rises, and the Avengers get medical attention as the villains get packed into custody. More than that, though, Hawkeye uses the surveillance data from his hoverbike to prove that Black Widow was the traitor, not him.

Agent Quartermain: “You’re cleared, Hawkeye. Your S.H.I.E.L.D. Special Agent status will be reinstated.”

But Hawkeye’s not exactly impressed with S.H.I.E.L.D. at this point.

Hawkeye: “Yeah, no thanks. I’m going after the Widow on my own.”
Tony Stark: “There’s another option. Join us. Join the Avengers.”

Join the team that just got its butt soundly kicked.
Hawkeye: “I don’t think so.”

He’s not impressed with how quickly the Avengers went down when this all started, so heads off solo. Technically, he’s going rogue, and S.H.I.E.L.D. should be going after him right now. As for the Avengers, Thor asks Hulk to stay on the team this time.

Thor: “You are indeed a noble warrior, Hulk. One who has saved the Avengers, and now helped save the world. I would trust you with my life. Will you trust us?”
Hulk: “Uh, I’ll stay if Cupid stays.”

Hawkeye doesn’t take to this nickname well, and challenges Hulk to a fight right then and there.

Tony Stark: “This is going to be fun….”

And so, as the Hulk/Hawkeye friendly rivalry begins, the Abomination crawls through the desert. Beaten. Battered. But he finds hope.

Baron Zemo: “Hello, Mr. Blonsky.”

"I've brought a few friends. One of them would like to axe you a question."
And with that, the episode ends.

So how does this episode fare? Well, I can tell you right now, it's better than Agents of S.M.A.S.H. But I should probably go into more detail. So I guess I will.


  1. Odd, how Crimson Dynamo is the only member to join Masters completely out of nowhere. Well, ok. Not exactly out of nowhere. Avengers fought him in one of these comic tie-in things.

    Not a complicated story. Avengers fight CD, Cap beats him by jumping out of jet and landing on him shield first, then Winter Guard shows up and there is misunderstanding fight that gives him chance to slip.

    - Faceless Enigma

    1. If this had been Avengers Assemble, they would have milked another opportunity to do an Iron Man-centric episode for all it was worth.

    2. And yet the villain team in that show somehow got more time in the spotlight. To quote a Mr. Jubal Early, "Does that seem right to you?"

      - That One Anon

    3. Actually.... yes.

      In Avengers Assemble, the villains were more interesting than the Avengers, who actually ARE interesting in EMH.

      Still, a bit more time to flesh out the villains here wouldn't go amiss. Maybe finish up Wonder Man's redemption arc?

    4. Like what was supposed to happen in that Emperor Doom adaptation?

      - That One Anon

    5. Apparently, bringing him back from the dead in the first two minutes of that episode and having him suddenly become a hero was a bit too much to fit in, so they rewrote the story.

  2. Man, that picture of Iron Man is scary. It makes me think of what if the suit had some kind of mechanism that would've given him a quick, lethal heart attack instead of dying as painfully as possible from some kind of radiation leak?

    1. Dark thought. Would that mean that Tony doesn't think he can cheat death again? Or does he simply not want to?

    2. could be either. That would've been an interesting topic in Iron Man 3 if the makers of the movie were wondering about that too.