Salutations peeps and peepettes. Welcome to Cartoon Crackdown, wherein I regale you with tidings of newly released animated wonders, and by regale I mean geek the hell out about cartoons you should watch.
This week, Marvel treated us to a week-long, two-part premiere of its newest superhero cartoon, Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. While everyone (myself included) is probably very puzzled about what “S.M.A.S.H.” actually stands for, one thing is clear: there is A LOT of smashing on this show if nothing else.
Continuing Marvel’s recent advocacy of “the more the merrier,” Agents of S.M.A.S.H. finds the not-so-jolly green giant forming his own Avengers of sorts: sporting pretty much everybody with anger management issues in the Marvel Universe. This includes fanboy favorite She-Hulk (voiced by Buffy’s Eliza Dushku), enemy turned “frenemy” Red Hulk (veteran actor Clancy Brown), the mysterious Skaar (Benjamin Diskin of Codename: Kids Next Door), and the comic-relief sidekick A-Bomb (Robot Chicken’s Seth Green).
With so much muscle and roid-rage in one place, it’s pretty clear what this show is: an action quintuple-decker yard-long smash-wich. We’re talking massive explosions, epic city-decimating brawls, and punching contests across the cosmos. It’s every eight-year old boy’s wet-dream fully realized, with enough polished and fluid 2D animation to give the fight sequences that much more of an epic “oomph.”
Sadly, the higher focus on the animation department and fight scenes draws unfortunate attention to the more serious pitfalls of the show, which can be pretty heinous even by Saturday morning cartoon standards.
For starters, the whole story is bogged down by a Family Guy-style of cutaway humor ironically headlined by Seth Green’s character A-Bomb in the form of vlog-style confessions and gags. In a show that has “S.M.A.S.H.” in the title, too much deviation into slapstick is distracting at best and irritating the rest of the time. It’s true that Avengers showed us how hysterical the Hulk can be, but it works best in smaller doses and not as a dominating force in an action cartoon.
Also, the storytelling itself is really rushed and fails to develop the characters beyond “Hello there, I’m the Red one!” Sure hardcore fans of the comics will know all about these characters and admittedly the voice actors actually put some effort into bringing their characters to life, particularly Fred Tatasciore in the lead role. But the lopsided pace and under-developed characters aren’t going to attract casual or non-fans of the Hulk, which is a shame considering that appears Marvel’s ultimate goal with this cartoon.
But that all being said, it’s a pretty entertaining little superhero show and if you’re a Hulk fan, love mindless violence, or both (because honestly they do go pretty hand in hand) you’ll probably get some fun out of this show. Just check out the trailer below and see what I mean.