Scott: So, I just want to say that “The Incredible Hulk” from 1982 has possibly the greatest theme song of all time. You can have your Spider-Man ’67 and your Batman: TAS, but they don’t come close to the epic thundering march of this song. It’s glorious.
That said, the rest of the show is a real mixed bag. The Hulk in this show is a great version of the character. The simple rampaging monster that is almost at war with Bruce Banner is a lot of fun, and the new cartoons rarely touch on that side. The real problem is the rest of the cast; Rick Jones is all over the place, swinging wildly from sidekick to annoying hindrance. Major Talbot is a serviceable toady, but they lean too heavily on him. Betty Ross is an awful character incapable of staying out of trouble. The villains are straight up strange choices for Hulk to fight. I mean, one episode has Hulk up against Doctor Octopus, and that’s just weird.
Jason: I can’t agree more about the title theme song. Either as pump music for the gym or getting you to work in the morning, this is one of those that truly hits the tuning fork in the primal areas of your brain. If ever I go on a rampage then this song will be on loop under my luchador mask.
So this one was back to back with Spider-man and his Amazing friends, so this whole hour of TV was pure awesome for me. Animation quality was fine for the time, and they weren’t doing anything new. I think there was even a crossover with Spider-man and his Amazing friends, and just like that show Stan Lee’s iconic voice introduced each show. This is one of the few Hulk’s I’ve seen out of print that really plays up that the hulk and Banner are separate personalities in the Dr.s head, and the Hulk really hates banner. That is an aspect of the true inspiration for Hulk Jeckle and Hyde. All in all a great baseline for the complex Green Giant and this one has a special place in my heart.
Scott: Hulk and the Agents of SMASH, man. I watched a bit of it when it first hit Netflix and bit last night, and this cartoon commits that cardinal sin of entertainment television; it is boring.
Following on the heels of Ultimate Spider-Man and Avengers Assemble, (both of which are great, snappy shows), SMASH tries really hard to follow the game plan. But it fails pretty badly. The team has almost no chemistry, and it fails to both challenge the Hulks in any dramatic way and to showcase their strength with any sense of awe.
I know you like this one Jay, so gimmie something here.
Jason: OK so I’m a big fan of Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D, and I know this caught my eye for that reason originally. Right away the problem we’re having I believe is Hulk himself. The Hulk is Mr. Hyde, the dark side of all folks who just wanna smash shit. So right away we’re dealing with a late version Hulk who:
1. Doesn’t transform, and
2. Acts like a calm Leonardo type instead “Hulk SMASH!”
What makes this work though for this particular format is the rest of the team. When Captain America is around we don’t need smart or controlled Hulk to remind us of Dr. Jekyll inside the Hulk. This show has big Mr. Green basically being Captain A to a team of Hulks. Red Hulk is great, he totally is Rafael. Voiced perfectly by Clancy Brown, or as I like to think of him: Mr Krabs with [Seth Green as] A-Bomb filming the whole thing for web series. I think that adds an innovative twist to the format of the show more than just monster of the week. Skaar is the mindless violence we all love about Hulk. The animation is a lot like all the modern cartoons.
The second problem (I know you’ve got with this one Scott) is it’s very light-hearted, family friendly and almost hokey slapstick. It’s a fun departure from the dark gothic roots of Jekyll and Hyde, but it’s very fun and lots of fourth wall breaks and cameos from the Marvel Universe keep it fun for me.
So I call this one Fun Hulk, not Dark Hulk, which we have yet to see out of print.
So here is my issue; according to my scoring system, we got a tie. What do I do? Well, it’s a coin flip and really the New Hulk and Agents of SMASH is a better cartoon only by standing on the shoulders of Hulk 82′. It’s a Tale of Two Hulks, and I call this a win for the younger one. That was a tough choice, though.
Scott: I dunno, opening sequence alone puts ’82 up there for me, but I will concede that Hulk and the Agents if SMASH is more complex and refined.
Jason: Yep, and trust me that opening sequence nearly trumps more than 30 years of cartoon and story development. Hulk 82′ vs Hulk and agents of smash 2013. To anyone reading our articles I encourage you to watch both and decided for yourself. It will make you feel better, but of course as always were right.
The winner, by a green hair, Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.!
Incredible Hulk 82’
Animation quality: 3
Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H.
Animation quality: 4
So that’s how the bracket looks right now! Stay tuned for the next fight, where Batman Beyond will take on Challenge of the Superfriends!