Just because “Marvel’s Avengers Assemble” appears to be on a momentary hiatus, it doesn’t mean that Disney X-D isn’t producing new Avengers animation. My favorite animated heroes drop by “Marvel’s Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.” this week to show us why Hulk is so different in each series. Meet me after the gamma-powered jump for my thoughts.
The Leader and the Accuser
Here’s the set-up in “Planet Monster: Part 1” (yeah, it’ll be to be continued). In some past episode of the series that features the Hulk leading a team of similarly gamma-irradiated heroes, they fought and captured Ronan the Accuser. Now as I’ve mentioned before, in the comics, Ronan is not always a villain -always a jerk- but not always a villain. However Lee Pace’s performance as the character in Guardians of the Galaxy has cemented Ronan as a bad guy in the Marvel Cinematic and Animated Universes.
The Supreme Intelligence, giant creepy head floating in fluid, and the ruling entity of the Kree Empire, has come to Earth to free his citizen, and punish Hulk and the rest of the planet. The Leader, constant foe of the Hulk in almost all of his animated endeavors, comes along for the ride. He also teases Ronan into fighting the Avengers, one of whom has a better hammer than he does.
The Other Side of the Hulk
Anyone who’s seen at least one episode of both “Agents of S.M.A.S.H.” and “Avengers Assemble” knows all too well that the Hulk’s behavior and personality is much different in each one. In the Avengers, the Hulk is a literal smasher, a dumb brick. He is co-comic relief with Thor and eats whatever he can find in Stark Tower. His only depth can be found in his fondness for his glass menagerie.
On the other hand, in “Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.,” the green goliath is a leader in the Captain America mold. He is much smarter and his team looks up to him, he inspires them. Hulk is guidance and guardian, and in many ways, he is a father figure and savior. And it’s much more than his name being in the title of the show. It really is as if he’s two different people.
Torn Between Two Teams
When a force of Kree soldiers liberate Ronan, along with The Leader from S.H.I.E.L.D. custody, the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. and the Avengers must work together to beat the bad guys, the battle leading our heroes into space in pursuit of their cosmic foes. The Hulk finds himself at odds with the needs of his two teams, and the stated differences between them.
The whole thing comes down to how the Hulk views each gig. The Avengers is a job, while the Smashers are a family. I can see it, as an Avenger, he’s just following orders. The Smashers include his cousin (She-Hulk), his father-in-law (Red Hulk), his son (Skaar), and his old kid sidekick (A-Bomb). They are Hulk’s family, and he has to look out for their welfare.
Two Big Heads
I liked the sarcastic conversation between the Leader and the Supreme Intelligence, both mocking the other’s respective names. I didn’t really dig the Supreme Intelligence’s altered appearance for animation. Some change is not for the better. He kinda looks more now like M.O.D.O.K. crossed with Doc Ock and broccoli, and much less threatening. Of course it could be worse.
After some commentary on teamwork, sacrifice, and order and chaos, the Avengers and the Smashers figure out how to stop the Supreme Intelligence’s plan. Unfortunately the Hulk pays the price, becoming one with their enemy. If I thought his original look was unappetizing, the Hulked out Supreme Intelligence is even less attractive. It’s almost as if a Herb Trimpe Hulk face has been superimposed over a Sal Buscema Supreme Intelligence – unique but scary. The story is, of course, to be continued…
In the end of this crossover, it might be nice if She-Hulk joined the Avengers – because she is an Avenger in the comics, and this team sorely needs another female member. She’d be replacing her cousin on the roster, and Red She-Hulk (that’s still a thing, right?) could replace her on the Smashers, providing good character interaction ammo for both Hulk and Red Hulk. Maybe as an Avenger, She-Hulk will get to do more than smash and drive the plane…
We’ll have to wait and see what happens, and what the two teams will make of the Supreme Hulk Intelligence. See you next time.