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....|
|It’s called “Recognize a Landmass.” Ready? Go!|
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.|
|Careful not to hit the shrapnel.|
|Yes, I'm showing the most disturbing mutation in detail on purpose.|
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.|
|A Hulk. How boring.|
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.|
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."|
|Seriously, what the Hell, Hawkeye?|
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.|
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.|
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!”|
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."
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?|
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.
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."|
Leader: “Are you really going to try and stop me?”
Hulk: “Not stop you. Smash you!”
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: ‘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.|
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.|
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."|
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.