Episode #48 - Rage of the Hulk
Original Airdate - June 27th, 2012
Esteemed scientist Bruce Banner needs Howard and Tony Stark’s help desperately. An old colleague of Howard’s, the meek scientist is secretly the green man-monster known as the Hulk. Hunted by the military and S.H.I.E.L.D. he’s counting on the Starks’ to help him return to normal. But when their experiment is interrupted with tragic results, Iron Man must figure out a way to stop both S.H.I.E.L.D. and The Hulk without anyone getting hurt!
Directed By Stephane Juffe and Phillipe Guyenne
“The Rage of the Hulk” may be on a show called Iron Man but it’s a prototypical Hulk story.
The Hulk wants to be left alone but the antagonists – in this case the U.S. government, fronted by General Thaddeus Ross – won’t do that.
This makes the Hulk angry and when the Hulk gets angry he smashes stuff.
That’s about all there is to the plot. Ultimately, it feels – not necessarily good or bad – but generic.
I know it’s tough to create original stories for the Hulk – a character that’s been around 50 years and been the subject of multiple movies, TV shows (live action and animation) and hundreds of comic books.
But this episode doesn’t really throw any twists or turns into a basic story that superhero (and, specifically, Hulk) fans have seen many times before.
OK, I’m not being fair. There is one pretty substantial twist.
Spoilers on: Gray Hulk – Green Hulk’s smarter iteration – shows up at the end. But even that twist doesn’t tie up this story as much as it seems to set up another one.
But it’s not all frownie faces and Internet complaints.
“The Rage of the Hulk” finds good reasons to graft both Tony and Howard Stark onto what I’ve already acknowledged is a Bruce Banner-centric story.
First, they make the elder Stark and Banner old science buddies, which sets the plot in motion.
More importantly, the younger Stark commiserates with Banner when Ross tries to weaponize Banner’s research. He tells Banner that he too understands what it’s like when someone uses your work to try to hurt people.
This commiseration takes up exactly one line, but it’s an enormously important line. Firstly, it shows how Tony has grown from the Armor Wars plot line.
Furthermore, it gives Tony a purpose in this story beyond being one more guy the Hulk tries to smash.
And it’s paramount that Tony has a purpose because – while the episode belongs to the Hulk – the series is still Iron Man’s.
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