If you’re just joining us, I’m offering my thoughts on the new comic book related shows currently airing on a television near you. Assuming you get ABC, Cartoon Network and Disney XD.
HULK and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.
When I first learned of this show I had no interest in watching it. But then I learned Paul Dini was involved in it, and he was one of the masterminds behind the excellent “Batman: The Animated Series,” so I figured I should give it a shot.
Alas, not even the great Paul Dini can make a show about the HULK leading a team of Hulks worth watching.
The first problem is “team of Hulks.” The world doesn’t need a team of Hulks. One Hulk is plenty. Oh, I don’t mind She-Hulk. After all, there’s a long history in comics of female spinoffs of male characters — Supergirl, Batgirl, Spider-Woman, etc. And she’s been around since 1980 so she’s paid her dues.
But Red Hulk? Blue (A-Bomb) Hulk? Skar, son of Hulk? That’s three Hulks too far. Rick Jones should not be a Hulk. He’s Marvel’s lone teen sidekick and he should stay that way, bouncing from hero to hero as sidekick needs allow.
And turning General Thunderbolt Ross into the Red Hulk is the single stupidest thing ever done in the history of comic books. And believe me, there have been many, many stupid things done in comic books. For God’s sake, the man has a mustache that disappears when he turns into Red Hulk. Why? Why doesn’t the hair on his head disappear?
Second: I just can’t buy into HULK as a team leader. Or knowing how to fly an aircraft. Or having his own high-tech hideout. I like my Hulk to be stupid. Or at least average intelligence.
Third: Here’s another show that relies on the tiresome trend of characters talking to a camera. Tired of it, which is why I called it tiresome.
And finally, it’s another Marvel ‘toon that tries too hard to be funny and usually fails. The animation’s not bad, but not good enough to make up for all its other problems (Oh, and in case you were wondering — S.M.A.S.H. doesn’t stand for anything).
Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
The most highly anticipated new show of 2013, and the only one on this list that’s not a cartoon, is “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (S.H.I.E.L.D. does stand for something but I can’t be bothered to look it up right now.)
The main problem is this is one of the weakest ensembles I’ve seen for a Joss Whedon show (OK, “Dollhouse” was the worst). I’m not a fan of the two British science geeks, and why do we need two of them? I like agents May and Ward, not so sure about Skye. If she’s going to be a double agent, I hope she stays one but odds are that won’t happen.
Of course the star of the show is Agent Phil Coulson, played in mild-mannered secret-agent style by Clark Gregg. He died in “The Avengers,” I’m sure you remember, and the truth behind his resurrection is still a mystery — probably until sweeps month or the season finale. My guess is he’s an LMD — an old S.H.I.E.L.D. staple — but we’ll see.
This show is definitely not ashamed to wave its comic book/movie roots. I can’t imagine anyone watching this show and following it who hasn’t been watching the Marvel movies. Every episode has about five different movie references. We’ve already had guest spots by Maria Hill and Nick Fury. One can only hope Thor shows up to promote his new film next month.
Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle
I guess since I made such a big deal about almost missing this last week that I should offer a few thoughts on it. A decent 3-hour documentary on the history of superhero comic books.
It’s pretty much a “greatest hits” of all the major moments in superhero comics history — Creation of Superman and Batman; WWII and Captain America; Wonder Woman and bondage; Seduction of the Innocent; The Rise of Marvel Comics; Pop Art!; The Rise and Fall of the Comics Code; Watchmen; The Dark Knight Returns; Superheroes Conquer Hollywood.
It’s pretty much all there but not a lot of depth. The only glaring omission I noticed was the lack of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles — one of the few superhero icons of the modern era and the only one that didn’t come out of Marvel or DC (sorry Spawn, you were big in the ’90s but who cares about you now?).