Episode #3: Hulk Versus the World
003a - The Coming of the Hulk
Original Airdate: September 23rd, 2010
Forever a man on the run, Bruce Banner heads to Las Vegas to track down an escapee from the super villain prison known as the Cube. But he gets more than he bargained for when a confrontation with the Absorbing Man causes him to transform into the Incredible Hulk.
003b - Hulk Versus The World
Original Airdate: September 28th, 2010
The battle rages as the Incredible Hulk trades blows with the Absorbing Man across the Nevada desert. Just when it seems like things can't get any worse the Hulkbusters join the fray with orders to take down the Hulk!
003c - This Monster, This Hero
Original Airdate: October 1st, 2010
The Hulk may be able to take on tanks, assault choppers, and heavy artillery, but what about two of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s most highly trained agents? Introducing…Hawkeye and the Black Widow!
003d - Beware the Widow's Bite
Original Airdate: October 10th, 2010
Clint Barton--codename Hawkeye--has faced his fair share of super villains in the past, but something doesn't sit right about his last encounter with the Incredible Hulk. Why did the Hulk save his team? And what's going on behind the scenes that Clint doesn't know about?

*Please note this episode is comprised of four five-minute micro-episodes.

Written by Kevin Burke & Chris Wyatt
Directed by Sebastian Montes
Review by ShadowStar
Media by Marvel Animation Age

At this point, it might be a good idea for me to address the show’s theme song, don’t you think? I can hardly believe that I glossed over it in my first two reviews. It’s energetic, lively and catchy. There are shades of cheesiness (“I’m standing on my own, but now I’m not alone” and “Assemble, we are strong”) but it’s exciting, especially the instrumental version used for the end credits (which I believe is actually a little different in its composition, but that’s good as it acts as a fine send-off to the episode in question). The montage of images throws a lot at the viewer, but it’s still a success. It’s a departure from the likes of the majestic theme for Justice League, but a welcome one because it captures the thrill of seeing all these Marvel icons together.

On to the episode at hand, “Hulk vs. the World”. Right off the bat there’s a great atmosphere as we observe Bruce Banner wandering the desert, en route to Las Vegas. Before you know it, he’s being pursued by long-time enemy General Ross and we learn his reason for entering civilization again: he wants to question an escapee from super-villain prison the Cube about what it’s up to. Unfortunately for Bruce, the convict knows exactly who he is and it all goes downhill from there for Bruce/Hulk. The opening quarter of the episode keeps you guessing when the Hulk will rear his green head, and when the moment comes, the transformation and the ensuing fight are very cool, needless to say.

The fairly intelligent, even articulate Hulk we see here is a breath of fresh air. He doesn’t always communicate through grunts and roars, and when he outwits the Absorbing Man, it’s hilarious. “Hulk smash rock, Einstein” indeed. The action is a step up from what we’ve seen in the first two episodes as the forces of General Ross and S.H.I.E.L.D. come swooping in, and when Hulk falls in battle, you fear for the poor ogre.

As is pretty standard for one of these micro-episode compilations, the story has more than one main star; Hawkeye takes centre-stage towards the end, which paves the way for some humour when he’s trying to hack into Black Widow’s files on the S.H.I.E.L.D. computer system. Clint clearly perceives himself as a ladies’ man, and this will add an interesting dynamic to the team roster when he eventually joins the Avengers. I always did like him more than his DC counterpart (Green Arrow) so the highlight of the piece was undoubtedly his quest to get to the bottom of Black Widow’s suspicious activities. The fact that this will become a plot point spanning future episodes is an added bonus, for sure.

The standard of the voice acting here surpasses that of the previous episodes. Gabriel Mann, Rick Wasserman, Vanessa Marshall and Chris Cox do a commendable job as Bruce Banner, Absorbing Man, Black Widow and Hawkeye respectively (and introducing the latter two characters as companions working for S.H.I.E.L.D. was an interesting move). There’s some terrific storyboarding during the set-up and the introduction to the Cube, the character designs are great, and the actions of a certain treasonous S.H.I.E.L.D. agent leave you wanting to know what further betrayals lie in store. Said traitor might turn out to just be a double agent (as indicated, possibly, by her alternating accent), but this wouldn’t be a cop-out.

Whatever the writers have up their sleeves for these characters, count me in for it. This is probably the best of the first 5 episodes, and I say that as someone who isn’t much of a Hulk fan. If they can convert me, then suffice to say that that shows plenty of promise for this series.