Welcome back to Boomb Tube, Multiversity’s weekly column detailing the current Cape Cartoons scene. This week, we get our first look at Ultimate Spider-Man: Web Warriors and Hulk and the Agents of SMASH goes legit bonkers! As always, heavy spoilers abound!
First off is our introduction to the new season of Ultimate Spider-Man: Web Warriors titled “Return of the Guardians of the Galaxy” which is a weird title considering I can’t walk on the street without tripping over a Rocket Raccoon plush. Nova is racing across town with Spider-Man who is a person who can swing webs and is instead riding a motorcycle. I’ve complained before about how using a motorcycle instead of webslinging is less visually appealing but Peter is straight up riding across one strand of web so it works in this scene. They immediately splat headfirst into the Guardians’ ship which is crashing into Aunt May’s house, where she is currently playing air guitar in her backyard. On a related note, dying by having a spaceship crash into my face while I rock out to a Titus Andronicus song is precisely how I wish to die.
The Guardians are able to stop their ship from bashing Aunt May’s skull in and reveal that they were attacked by a rogue Nova member named… Titus? Oh today is my day. Yes, apparently the enemy is everywhere and Titus, who used to be the Monitor of a space sector but now will always be a loser, is coming after our Nova, Sam Alexander, to ensure that he has No Future Part III: Escape from No Future by kicking his ass and taking his helmet so he can turn it into A Pot In Which To Piss. “Theme song from Cheers.”
After that disgusting sentence, the Guardians (or at least their most marketable members since Gamora and Batista are out of action) leave Spider-Man behind so they can go after Titus. Spidey predictably rebels against them and he, Raccoon, and Nova go to Nick Fury to steal a plot device so the Heli-Carrier can get shot down, this time by Titus’s chitauri army.
Meanwhile, Groot has been in disguise on Earth as a tree that several kids have taken a liken to, climbing on him and carving in hearts with their initials that years from now they’ll see as bitter mockeries of the loves they once were able to hold in their hearts. You know, kid stuff. Due to Titus’s attack, Groot has to awkwardly get up and rub the kids off, and Groot’s voice actor deserves extra credit for his hilariously apologetic “I… I am Groot”. Those kids’ disappointment is worth it though, as Groot grows up in size and has an epic fight with the chitauri invaders.
Gamora and Batista then jump out of their comas to fight the chitauri which leads to an overall cool fight scene that then leads into a chase between Titus and The Guardians’ ship. Eventually, Nova decides to be as interesting as we all know he can be and destroys Titus’s ship by crashing through it several times, unlocking his alternate costume from the comics, and beating up Titus on a beach with Spider-Man and The Guardians. Webbed up, Titus is taken away by The Guardians who ignore a furious Nick Fury, upset over not being informed about the alien invasion, and Nova and Spidey continue their race. Only now, Nova’s unlocked more power than ever before.
Final Verdict: 7.3 – This episode screamed “Guardians of the Galaxy promo” for the first three quarters but Nova is becoming a weirdly appealing character. If they transplant everything from the current comics iteration (as they started to here) he might even become the total breakout star.
This week Agents of Smash opened by having absolutely no chill with frog soldiers running around shooting Central Park and getting stomped by the Agents and the Fantastic Four’s sub-par voice actors. I normally make fun of SMASH’s fight scenes for being boring at times but this frog one is definitely my favorite so far, albeit for unintended reasons. For one, Skaar slashes a frog soldier in half and then just stands there for a solid ten seconds because this show has a run-time quota it needs to fill. Second, Invisible Woman explains that Mr. Fantastic is trying to disable the toads’ portals so Hulk says that he’ll give it his best shot. He and Red Hulk then immediately begin to violently shoot at the portal with their machine guns. Even though this idea doesn’t work, the pun definitely does. Reed then tries to explain another solution which I can’t understand because his body is straight up horrifying.Continued below
“LISTEN CLOSE, BRUCE. TELL ME HOW TO SCORE WITH THE WALTERS WOMAN.”
Hulk seems to be as done with Reed as we all are, because two minutes into a fight with some random toad aliens who’ve shown up out of nowhere he asks to be put into a cannon so he can pull a heroic-sacrifice and get this over with. There’s easier ways to kill the toads, like putting them on speeder bikes and telling them to get to the end of Turbo Tunnel, but Hulk is just so wearingly ready to die after twenty-four episodes of his own bullshit. A-Bomb even tries to reason with him but Hulk just says that “Heroes need to make sacrifices.” You know, like when Spider-Man died so that Paste Pot Pete’s reign over New York would come to an end. Hulk’s death wish is so apparent that even as Reed is urging him to not smash anything, Hulk smashes the toads’ computers which causes the ship to explode, Hulk still inside.
Unfortunately the episode just started. Hell, it hasn’t even reached the theme song so, of course, Hulk survives the blast which leads to all of New York calling him both a hero and several of his nicknames/catchphrases. Even J. Jonah Jameson, who is literally unable to say the words “I was wrong” admits “[he] was misled.” Despite the fact that this was an extended level of Frogger and the Agents defeated Galactus, a guy who was gonna eat the Earth, like, a month ago, this event is what finally makes Hulk and his friends a hero in everyone’s’ eyes. It also makes The Leader and his name tag giggle in their cell at The Hulks’ base, which in turns causes me to giggle because the sudden smash cut to The Leader giggling like Vincent Price at the circus is the unsung sixth ranger of the Agents of Smash.
Back at Vista Verde (urgh), A-Bomb gets a call from the Mayor AKA Stan Lee who is notably different from Super Hero Squad Show’s mayor who was also Stan Lee but in a very silly costume. They’ve also allegedly earned over two-billion hits on a video of Red Hulk accepting Hulk’s award for him which is absolutely ridiculous. If “What Does The Fox Say?” caps out at 400 million then Hulk and his mostly C-list team could expect to reach maybe 500,000 hits at most. Meanwhile, She-Hulk has finally got her movie career started while leaving her law career dead in the dust, Skaar’s fighting beating up The Thing at a charity wrestling match, and A-Bomb’s ditching Hulk to go to the Dazzler concert. Bored and thinking of splitting up the team, Hulk goes to check in on his prisoner, The Leader who has allegedly escaped while The Agents were reveling in their fame, and also he’s left five bombs in the city which would destroy Vista Verde. After Hulk runs off to find the supposed bombs, my favorite moment in animation of 2014 occurs when The Leader just pokes his head out from behind an overturned couch, now with an open cell door.
I’d call that a genius gambit on The Leader’s part for getting The Hulks to let him out but apparently he did plant some bombs after all. When The Agents of SMASH interrupt their own award ceremony by being rude as hell to the citizens (just like that, they’re monsters again), they get sucker punched by The Abomination. And Sauron. And Absorbing Man. And Blastaar. And Titania. I wrote that sentence with full stops everywhere because that’s exactly how each bored voice actor says their archenemy’s name. Between this and Skaar standing still for ten seconds, we are really stretching for time here. Oh, also apparently they’re called the Agents of CRASH. Ew.
The search for the bombs goes to the wayside as each SMASH member fights against their CRASH counterpart (Abomination/Red have military backgrounds, Blastaar/Skaar are from outer space and sound like Sigur Ros songs, Titania/She-Hulk are women). In fact, these fights end up seeming to cause more property damage than usual and.. oh my god… oh my god.
After the Agents of SMASH proceed to destroy the town in order to find the bomb, The Leader’s hologram arrives, points at Vista Verde’s destruction and reveals that they were the five gamma bombs.Continued below
I have been slow clapping for seven hours.
Approximately all of Earth then shows up to yell at the Agents of SMASH for being monsters and destroying the only town who’s ever loved them. Fragmented and bickering against each other, the Agents discover that The Leader is still inside their base and activated an actual bomb that would destroy the world. He jumps off into some portal that The Agents follow him into, carrying the bomb and neutralizing it. There, they wake up in weird costumes, prisoners of some dungeon.
If anyone’s keeping tally, this scene is where I officially lost my mind.
Draped in Planet Hulk armor, The Agents are raised up into a Colosseum that Skaar recognizes as his own and The Leader, exiled emperor of Sakaar, prepares to subject his new prisoners to the arena.
No joke, I threw my chair across the room.
Final Verdict: 8.2 – We seriously need to talk about this episode. They actually played up on the theme of The Agents being ostracized monsters to a tragic effect in an event that would fit right in with the original Lee/Kirby run in the comics, and the final twist about The Leader being the, uh, leader of Sakaar worked because it explains how and why he planted Skaar on the team earlier in the season — yet it fits because we just assumed that Leader was just a gross mutated human like in the comics. But apparently he’s an alien. And he controls Sakaar. And we went from Battletoads to a tragic event that actually held consequences and felt true to the character of the Hulk before then immediately diving into a loose adaptation of “Planet Hulk.”
Cheesy voice acting and insane pacing aside this episode was actually… kind of good.
Come back next week when pigs continue to fly.