Monday, April 14, 2014

My Crazy Youth: That Time The Hulk Fought Four-Armed Cyborg Ninjas in Shangri-La!

There is crazy and then there is comic book crazy.  This is much more the latter!

For those who don't know, The Hulk is a big, green beast that smashes people, places and things.  Okay, EVERYONE knows that.  Let's talk about what people may know less...

The Incredible Hulk was a Cartoon made in the 1990s.  It was a good time for Comics.  The Prospector's Boom- when people like myself bought Comics thinking that they would grow exponentially in value within a small period of time- was in full effect and they were getting picked up for TV and Film.  The Fantastic Four, X-Men and Spider-Man were big, while smaller hits were made with Spider-Man Unlimited, The Silver Surfer, WildCATs, Nightman and Ultraforce.  Before the bubble burst, The Hulk got a show too.  Unfortunately, UPN was a fickle TV mistress and wanted bigger ratings.  As such, She-Hulk was forced onto the show and the tone went from dark (and interesting) to goofy.

That leads us into today's induction (which is also the *second to last* Episode ever) called...
A Chinese Man has a magical medallion and...the bad guy from Centurions (?) is watching.  He sends his four-armed Cyborg Ninjas to get it.
Naturally, Bruce Banner and Betty are going for a walk and stumble across the scene.
Bruce becomes the Hulk and helps out.  It gets weird(er) when the man seemingly turns into dust after handing them the Medallion and disappears.
Using the power of micro-fiche (and the Internet), the gang (now with She-Hulk thanks to UPN) know where to go and show their Medallion to the right people.
The villain attacks in person (via cheap animation compositing) and actually beats the Hulk!  They trick him with a fake copy, however, and manage to hold onto the real amulet.
A recovered Hulk and company are visited by Monks and go through a magic portal to what is basically Shangri-La.  They call it something else, but it...might also be where the Elves live in Lord of the Rings.
The mystic residents use the Medallion to give Bruce some sort of inner peace that 'cures' him of the Hulk transformation process.  That's nice.  One problem...
The bad guy- who is one of three Brothers, if you care- attacks again and only Hulk can turn the tide.  The magic Deus Ex Machina process can only be done once (why?), so he has to give up peace to not be killed.

Oh and you get to see Betty & She-Hulk take the robot arm chassis things to shoot lasers of their own.  Neat, but silly.
The villain is defeated and Banner is pretty okay with never being cured...since the show would end next Episode.  The End.
This is just so odd and out of place.  To be honest, that sums up most of the last Season as well.  The first Season is neat since it is so dark and dreary.  Banner looks for cures, but they keep getting taken away.  He gets a cure finally...and he'll die unless he becomes the Hulk again.  He gets a cure...but it actually turns him into a Gray jerk.  To make more people watch, UPN wanted things lighter.  The result: Episodes involving She-Hulk going to her High School Reunion and getting cast as a Stunt Woman.  Joy.  This one is especially goofy because the basic premise doesn't fit The Hulk.  Once you get past the Ninjas, you get the fact that they have an extra set of robot arms and that their boss is a Cyborg.  That is just so 'out there' that it is funny.  For a crazy tale to work, it has to be grounded in some sort of reality.  This tale involves three Brothers, Shangri-La, Cyborg Ninjas and a magic Medallion.  We have long past reality and it is waving at us desperately in the Rear View Mirror!  I don't hate the story- I just think that it is ridiculous.  It would make for a crazy Iron Fist or Iron Man tale (just sub in The Mandarin maybe), but it makes no sense as a Hulk tale.  It just feels extra goofy as the lead-in to what would be the Series Finale.
Next up, a good Sci-Fi Cartoon goes off the rails in a big way.  It starts out strong, but ends up with Dinosaur Men...somehow.  Stay tuned...

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