by Robin Reed
While the Marvel movies and the upcoming “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” show get the headlines, if you flip channels enough you will find that Disney has not wasted any opportunity to get a return on their investment in Marvel. These under-the-radar shows are animated and appear on Disney-owned cable channels. I knew about (and hate, for the cutesy comments by a cartoony Spidey) “Ultimate Spider-Man.”
I have also come across shows that are set in Japan and seem to be sub-contracted out to a Japanese animé studio. One featured Iron Man and another the X-Men. (I don’t know if Disney can use the X-Men in animation when another studio owns the movie rights. What the corporate relationships are behind the Japanese shows I couldn’t tell you.)
Yesterday, on an early Sunday morning cruise through the desolate wastes of cable TV, I stopped on a show I hadn’t seen before. “Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.” is the title. It has a fully talking and thinking Hulk teaming up with other iterations of himself, including Red Hulk, She-Hulk, and A-Bomb. A-Bomb, you say? It’s Rick Jones in blue armor. If you don’t know who Rick Jones is, I don’t have time to tell you.
The plot of the episode I saw takes the Hulks to the Savage Land, where they encounter Sauron (I always wondered how Marvel avoided trouble with the Tolkien estate), laser-toting pterodactyls, and, yes, Jack Kirby’s Devil Dinosaur.
This is all rather silly, but the reason I decided to hate the show is that once again, they went cutesy. At random moments they do the reality show interview thing, cutting to a character sitting down and taking about the events happening in the story. This is stupid enough in so-called reality shows, but does nothing for an adventure show with a plot.
Maybe kids expect it in every show now. It is proof of the unreality of reality shows. If you know anything about TV production, you know that the interview segments are done later, and the people are told what moment to comment on, and probably told what to say. They also have to pretend they don’t know what is going to happen next, even though it happened in their past.
So my review of “Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.” is that Marvel Maniacs like me may like seeing forgotten characters mentioned, but will also object to Hulk being completely rational and the plot being entirely ridiculous.
Or, in other words, as Mel Brooks might say, “Oy vey!!!”