Previously on Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.: Covering episodes #1 - #4
Hulk and Rick Jones respond to an emergency in New Mexico only to find themselves encountering Skaar, a controlled agent of Annihilus of the Negative Zone. In the ensuing battle, Red Hulk shows up to “lend a hand” and they capture Skaar, but soon discover he was a Trojan Horse in order to open up a gateway to the Negative Zone from Earth. Calling upon the help of his cousin, She-Hulk, Hulk and his friends venture into the Negative Zone to find the controlled Skaar and stop Annihilus’ plans. Afterwards, the “Hulk Family” decides to work closely together in order to stop future problems, but their personalities clash throughout the experience.
Bruce Banner (The Hulk): A brilliant scientist who got caught in a gamma explosion that forever changed him, the Hulk is the hero of the show. Lonely, stoic, but very intelligent, he tries to show the world that he’s not the monster he appears to be.
Rick Jones (A-Bomb): Self-style best friend of the Hulk, Jones does his best to provide a better public image for his green buddy. Very outgoing, young, and adventurous, he doesn’t know when to sit back and let the big boys handle the job.
General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross (Red Hulk): Former enemy of the Hulk and a life-long military man, Red Hulk possesses keen tactical knowledge that helps him in battle. A bit of a gun-nut, he loves to ride into a fight with his pistols blazing.
Skaar: A plant by the long-term enemy of the Hulk, the Leader, Skaar is all brute force with none of the tactical subtly. He seeks out his past, hoping that either the Hulk family or their enemies will lead him to it.
Jennifer Walters (She-Hulk): A walking “green screen” for the cameras, Walters is a stunt double who is rather bored with her life. Feeling unappreciated and alone, she jumps at the chance to help the Hulk and others in their adventures.
I’m certainly pleased to see that this show has the “Smart” Hulk rather than the complete “Grr-Argh-SMASH!” Hulk. Having massive amounts of Gamma-irradiated power is certainly what helps make him the Hulk, but the ability to strategize and make tactical decisions while in battle makes him an even more formidable foe. Besides, if we wanted some unintelligent, Hulk-type action, there’s always Skaar to fill that role; it’s the best of both worlds.
The animation style is definitely in the “win” category for me - superb graphics and up-to-date designs that make it worth watching. There’s no CGI to take away from the greatness of the artwork, reminding me a lot of the other Marvel shows that have been out recently, even with some of the same voice actors repeating their roles in cameo experiences. It is good to have some sense of continuity to the shows, though it would be nice to have some differences to show some originality and uniqueness.
The concept of the show is interesting, but I don’t think it really works for characters involved. The interactions between Red Hulk and the Hulk are quite different than what I’ve come to expect of them, and Rick Jones is just a bit annoying, with his becoming A-Bomb doing nothing to temper that assertion. I know that Jones was never the best character in the old school comics, but at least he had more personality to him than what the show has made of him.
Something else that really gets to me is the portrayal of She-Hulk, a stunt double who looks for action any chance she can. Where’s the smart, intelligent, and savvy lawyer that I’ve come to expect from the comics? It is good to explore different possibilities of how characters can react in situations, but when creating a show/movie based off of established characters, it is also good to keep true to who they are from the source material.
Perhaps the biggest thing that really was annoying was the reality show feel, with the “webisode” cameras following the characters around all the time. I’m not the biggest fan of reality television, and while documentaries can certainly be appealing, I don’t need to see the Hulk family having a burrito-eating contest on film.
There’s an actual plan involved with the Leader taking an interest in the Hulk and his companions, but just what the plan is has yet to be determined. Skaar’s crucial to the plot, and while I know his origins from the comics’ continuity, it will be interesting to see what his background is in this show. So far, it hasn’t been too goofy and annoying, but there are still some aspects that could be made to be more “grown up” to be more appealing.