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Gammaworld, Part II  

Season One, Episode 13

Director(s) Vinton Heuck, Sebastian Montes
Writer(s) Alan Fine, Christopher Yost, and Michael Ryan
Summary The Leader has begun his master plan, and irradiated Las Vegas under a dome of gamma radiation as his test-run at the ruined Cube facility in the previous episode.  Citizens and tourists begin to mutate into gamma-monsters of various kinds.

Out next to the Cube at the temporary SHIELD command post, Iron Man is commenting that the recovery of nine escaped villains is a good day's work.  Everyone is staring past him; he turns, and sees the enormous gamma dome spreading out from Las Vegas.

Hawkeye, with the Black Widow as his prisoner, has almost reached the Avengers when he sees the expanding gamma dome.  The Black Widow tells him to turn around, fast!  He complies, but the dome is spreading faster than his skycycle.

At the Cube, SHIELD agents and the Avengers are mutating into gamma monsters, except for Thor (who, as an Asgardian is immune to the effect, as established in Part I) and Doc Sampson (who is already a gamma-enhanced person).  The mutates dog-pile on Thor.

Hawkeye's skycycle has crashed, and he is about to attempt to re-capture the Black Widow when they are interrupted by an urgent messag3 from the Leader.  Hawkeye takes advantage of the Black Widow's distraction to nail her with an electric arrow while the Leader's message plays.  The Leader announces that his plan for world dominion of a gamma-irradiated world will be much better for humanity.  No, really!

When the Black Widow observes that the Avengers were inside the zone, Hawkeye tells her that the most important Avenger was not; Bruce Banner is the foremost expert on gamma radiation poisoning in the world.  THe Black Widow tells him that they'd better hurry, as the Hulk was last spotted in Northern Canada and a Hulkbuster unit is on its way to begin operations.

Thor is being questioned by the Leader as to why no one could move Thor's hammer, and why Thoir himself isn't affected by the gamma energy.  Thor tells the Leader that only those worthy of the thunder may lift Mjolnir, and that mere Earthly science cannot touch Asgardians. The Leader decides that if Thor won't become a minion, then he can serve as entertainment - gladiator time as the Abomination attacks the Thunderer.

Up north, Hulkbuster operations are underway to ...well, bust the Hulk, and meeting with its usual level of success, or lack thereof... your tax dollars at work, neh?  Hawkeye joins the fight on the Hulk's side, and implores the Hulk to help the Avengers.  Hulk changes into Banner at Hawkeye's request - kind of.

Thor's hammer kicks Wrecking Crew butt on its way back to Thor as the Leader responds to Thor's allegations that the Leader is not fit to lead.

Banner has taken Hawkeye to his makeshift lab, up in the Great White North; Hawkeye is impressed that Banner could build such while on the run.  Banner innoculates Hawkeye temporarily against the gamma energy field, and explains to Hawkeye that they must hurry, lest the effects of the gamma field become permanent.  Banner hulks out, and they begin a fast bounding trip back to Las Vegas.

Thor pounds the Abomination flat while Mjolnir travels back to it's master; but the Absorbing Man touches the uru mallet head and shows Thor why he's called the Absorbing Man (and not "wife-beater shirt trailer trash").  The Leader, much like a cat, claims "Yeah, I meant to do that".  Its Thor vs the Absorbing Man and the Abomination as the gamma dome continues to expand; fortunately Las Vegas is in the middle of nowhere, really...  The big brawl of a fight crashes out to the street below as Hawkeye and the Hulk crash through the roof.

The Leader tries to appeal to the Hulk's self interest; in Gammaworld, Hulk would be a king, or at least a prince.  Hulk responds with his traditional cry of Hulk Smash! and engages th Abomination, leaving Hawkeye to fight the gamma-mutated Avengers.

Fortunately, Hawkeye has some arrows with the Banner innoculation, and begins to medicate the Avengers at arrow-tip end.  The Leader arms his battle suit while the Avengers recover, and attacks Hawkeye.

On the street, the Absorbing Man is striking at Thor again and again, and Thor is not striking back - he's busy concentrating, and his will proves strong enough to command the Absorbing Man so long as he is made of the uru metal of Thor's hammer.

The Abomination uses his gamma power boost device, and gains the upper hand in the fight witht he Hulk... until the Hulk's backup arrives, in the form of an archer with a gamma-draining device.  The Abomination goes flying over the Las Vegas skyline.  the Hulk flings the Leader's gamma field generator into space, but the feedback from the sudden disconnection causes the Leader to mutate further, his head growing until the Leader's body cannot support it.

The SHIELD clean-up team and medics have their hands busy in the aftermath.  Clay Quartermain confirms Hawkye's information clears him and proves that the Black Widow is working for Hydra, but also tells him that she has escaped.  Hawkeye quits SHIELD and turns down Iron Man's offer to join the Avengers until the Hulk taunts him, saying that the Hulk will stay "as long as Cupid stays".

The Abomination, having landed off in the desert, is recruited by the Masters of Evil.
Commentary  Whatever my precieved pacing problems in the prior program, it seems fixed in this one; although I would have liked a few more extended battles.  I don't even mind that Wasp, Iron Man, the Black Panther, and Captain America are basically cameo appearances while the Hulk, Hawkeye, and Thor dominate the episode.

The Hulk as portrayed here seems to be much smarter than the Hulk from the early episdoes.  He makes jokes!  And he's going to stick aroound - I'm pretty happy about that!  I do wonder of the roster of the Avengers team going foward isn't a little top-heavy, but we shall see.

Other notes:
 
* Hawkeye's putting down a distracted Black Widow with an electric arrow was so totally in character I laughed.  You go, Hawkeye!

*  Like all would-be world dictators, the Leader is doing this to save us from ourselves.  How selfless of him, neh?  I liked the vignettes from around the world, including Pym in Wakanda and Baron Zemo and the Masters of Evil.

* I still think that the Hulkbusters bear an uncanny resemblence to GI Joe. 

* I really enjoyed the reaction of the Hulk to the threat Hawkeye makes.

* While Thor's hammer was out in the middle of nowhere, the Leader could have just sent the Absorbing Man out to touch it; he didn't have to let Thor get his hands on it. 

* For the episde to make sense, please ignore the time-scales it takes to fly a skycycle from Manhatten to Las Vegas, or for the Hulk to jump from Canada to the American Southwest.  Nothing to see here, move along.

* What kind of person puts medicine on an arrowhead?  "The bad news, is that you're going to die.  The good news is you'll be cured!"

* Hey, when did the Masters of Evil recruit the Crimson Dynamo? Did I miss something?

* Is it bad that I liked the Black Widow all tied up? *snickers at self*

* Given that the second half lacked credits and the theme song sequence, I'm assuming that the writing and directoral credits remain the same from Gammaworld, Part I



Notes Youtube (both 12 and 13):
Part One
Part Two
Part Three