Not so much a nightmare, but a candy coating of Hulk smashing fun.
Credits & Solicit Info:
*New episodes have been airing in Australia since the last week in May. The US won't be getting new episodes of this show until possibly June 24. Alas for us, those Aussies so far have got five episodes up on us with more on the way. So for those wondering how I got to see this episode early, there's your answer.
There's a new Hulk in town and this one's called Rulk or the Red Hulk. This mysterious person has injected himself with the only vial of blood S.H.I.E.L.D. had of the original Hulk's blood and is now wreaking havoc in their hellicarrier. To beat a Hulk, the Avengers will have to call on their own.
So with the previous episodes being solo spotlight on various heroes, this one focuses on the Hulk. We see almost his entire supporting cast once again as those who want him incarcerated. Oh, we FINALLY see Bruce Banner after last seeing him very briefly in the Ultron Imperative. The episode also finally answers how the heck the whole relationship between the two works.
Wow this episode wasn't kidding when it said we'd be seeing red. It's all over the place. Besides Red Hulk, we see Falcon, Winter Soldier, and Doc Samson also all appear and they too wear... red! I'm sensing a pattern here. Gee whiz I wonder who could be the boss. It appears they all work for a fellow named Del Rusk, who just so happenings to be voiced with a thin German accent by Steve Blum. Yep, we're getting a new subplot to stack up with the Skrull, Doom, Surtur, and Kang prophecy!!
Which is kind of a pity since one's expecting the spotlight to fully be on the Hulk here (and it is), but the fan in me has so many freaking questions for this sudden subplot. And while the introduction of the Winter Soldier is nice, it falls flat in the fact we don't have Skrull Cap to see him, nor is the real Cap anywhere to be found YET. People who aren't familiar with Cap will have no idea why this character is so important to Cap's mythology and it really feels like it was done quickly, as if the creators know they have to end any lingering subplots from Season 1.
The other thing I thought was pretty stupid was that everyone just so easily assumed the Hulk that attacks the Hellicarrier is the actual Hulk. How can anyone think this when the Hulk in red displays powers the other Hulk doesn't seem to have? Maria Hill started out so darn smart at the beginning and just degraded into utter stupidity by the end. Also I don't mind, but I'm starting to sense an emerging pattern in every Hill appearance thus far with her getting bound by the main bad guy a lot. But it's a fan service and abuse on Hill so that's win-win for me.
On the other hand, to watch Skrull Cap work his double agent magic was simply... magic! So now the Hulk's off the board for the Skrull Invasion and the Avengers are missing their two biggest guns in him and Thor. This is not looking good for the Earth.
The best part of this episode was something touched on in the previous team episode: the bromance between Hawkeye and the Hulk. This time we have a hilarious scene with Banner and Hawkeye having some time to fish. Then later on we see Hawkeye standing up for the Hulk to back him up as he did him during the Who Do You Trust? episode. These little moments are really some of the best character moments and show us the friendship between certain members of the team.
All this talk and I haven't even touched on the Red Hulk. I'm not a fan of the character, but I'll relent in the fact this was a good introduction. He smashes things pretty nicely and we learn, like in the comics, that this Hulk keeps the persona of who his other half is, unlike the regular green Hulk. However, the whole mystery seems like second nature since there's only one real suspect that this Hulk could be. The show didn't hide that fact at all during the opening scenes. Yet they kept him in shadow and we still didn't get a full answer to his identity. No doubt they're saving it for the eventual Hulk/Rulk rematch after Rusk is revealed as the Red Skull. Until then, it feels like it should have been used here.
With this episode we get another piece pulled off the board and the Skrull Invasion seems to be steering toward total victory over our poor heroes. Yet, we get another new subplot that feels pointless since it'll only get a one episode resolution after episode thirteen, aka the beginning of the Jeph Loeb era, and his demand for one-and-done episodes. I am kind of fearful of what sort of effect he'll have on the show. With this episode we get the introduction of a new, and really the final piece to another [another what?] and I can't wait to see how our heroes fight their way to any sort of victory when the Skrull Invasion hits. It's going to be brutal!
3 out of 5
Review by: Zechs