Hey Kids, remember back in the Fall of 2012 when Marvel started rolling out new #1 Titles that gave a number of characters in the Marvel U a “Soft Reboot” under the banner MARVEL NOW? Guess What? They’re doin’ it all again, Baby!
It’s the ALL NEW MARVEL NOW! Over the next few months, I’ll be taking a look at the first issue of each new title as it hits the comics stands. (This only applies to REAL #1 Titles – None of this .Now stuff.) Wanna know if this series seems like a keeper or is destined for the quarter bin of our interest? Sit back and enjoy my analysis. You just might learn something.
It’s been a long time since I read a She-Hulk title and the ones I have, have been few and far between. It’s not that I dislike the character. I’ve just never really been interested. That was until last year’s FF series where she stood in for The Thing for 16 issues protecting the children of the Future Foundation. Even though she was sharing the page with a cast that went into double digits, She-Hulk’s character shone through. She’s smart and tough as well as compassionate and gets a few laughs on occasion too. So when it was announced that she would be getting her own book once again, written by Charles Soule with art by Javier Pulido, I knew that this would be a book to watch. If issue #1 is any indication, I think I might be right.
Our story begins with one Jennifer Walters, attorney at law (aka She-Hulk) meeting with the partners of her firm for a first year evaluation. Due to a large amount of billable hours logged (not to mention saving the world a bunch of times) over the past 12 months, Jenn’s pretty sure she’s got a hefty bonus coming her way. Think again. Turns out the only reason they hired her in the first place was to get connections to the rich superheroes she knows like Tony Stark, Danny Rand and Reed Richards. So no bonus for Ms. Walters. That doesn’t sit right with her and she let’s them know it right after handing in her resignation. With no firm behind her, she somehow finds herself representing a widow of a third tier super villain who may’ve had his ideas for Repulsor technology stolen by Tony Stark’s company. Jenn assumes that all of this can be sorted out with a little conversation with Tony. Another incorrect assumption as she’s given the runaround by Stark’s legal department and ends up meeting them in court. More roadblocks are set up here as Legal attempts to hold up the proceedings even before they start with a series of motions regarding She-Hulk, a known friend and ally of Mr. Stark, and her conflict of interest in representing the plaintiff. Needless to say, Jenn needs to find irrefutable evidence to win the case and hopefully get to talk with Tony to sort out this mess. Easier said then done. But that doesn’t mean She-Hulk can’t do it.
I have to say that while I’m not a big fan of done-in-one stories, this one does a great job of both introducing the series and leaving the reader wanting to come back for more. Much like the new Black Widow series, this book gives the pieces you need to get the story and let’s your immagination fill in the details. There’s no decompression here and no talking down to the reader. The pace is fast and the writing is smart. Even with this incredibly fast pace to the story, Soule does a great job of establishing character. Jennifer Walters rarely does anything She-Hulk-y in the story as most of the issue revolves around a court case but the fun thing is that you don’t care because you’re having too much FUN! The book’s entertaining, it’s rooted in the environment of the Marvel Universe, and it presents a hero you can get behind. It’s fun to see Jen have to deal with normal, everyday stuff. Her reactions to lawyer tricks and redtape feels genuine. She knows when to show her true emotions and when to laugh it off with a joke. There’s a distinct likeability to the character and it makes you give a shit every time things don’t go her way. This character work extends to the supporter characters as well. Stark’s lawyer, known only as Legal, is there to service the story first but gets a great moment to shine as he explains the evolution of Stark’s companys and holdings. (What’s really cool is that his monologue follows the convoluted and crazy history that Stark’s organization has been through to the letter). His lines in the courtroom are also the magic of dry wit on display. That comic timing used throughout the book is wielded expertly. In the past, She-Hulk has been known to be a comedic book, occasionally breaking the fourth wall or going with the slapstick gag. In this, the comedy is very natural and does nothing to disrupt the flow of the story. It instead enhances it and ends up revealing even more of She-Hulk’s character. Another enhancement to the story would be the visual assist from Pulido and company.
One of the things I loved about last year’s FF series was that Mike Allred presented a fun and cool looking world with a very simple visual style. Pulido continues to tell stories about Jenn with that same philosophy. Anyone who’s seen his work before knows what they’re getting: interesting, shaply characters with amazing facial expressions. The facial expressions are key as they really end up telling most of the story. So much of this tale depends on a glance or a smile and it’s all there. You can actually tell what everyone is thinking (except for Legal who rightly keeps his poker face on at all times). The pacing I was prasing earlier is greatly set by Pulido’s work. We get a story that feels really exciting when most of the panals are just two people talking. There’s no real fights, no superhero action, yet I’m flipping the pages as fast as I can to see what happens next.
If you love great characters, great storytelling and comedy done right, you HAVE to pick up She-Hulk #1. I was obviously blown away with how good it was and you will be too. Check it out and let me know if I’m right in the comments.
Okay, so where to begin? That’s really what Simon Spurrier should have really thought about when he chose to write this issue. It appears that characters from both last year’s Cable and X-Force and Uncanny X-Force have gotten together to form this new incarnation and even Psylocke doesn’t really know why. She literally asks Cable point blank, “What’s X-Force for, Cable?….This time round.” Cable’s answer: Mutantkind needs a “Dirty Tricks” crew to protect their interests. Okay…..so what the hell does that mean? Apparantly, it means beating the shit out of big guys and shooting off a lot of guns. Marrow and Fantomex round out the foursome and each is written as a one dimensional characture of their former selves. Marrow’s obsessed wth nothing but violence and talks like a five year old who’s never noticed the parantal advisory warnings. Fantomex is nothing more than a bad-ass Pepe Le Pew who prances around Psylocke making goo goo eyes just to piss her off……and then he laughs and laughs. The art’s okay but that’s as far as I can say anything about this book that resembles a compliment. Avoid X-Force. That is all.
Check back here for more ALL NEW MARVEL NOW first issue reviews. Until then, stay in the NOW!
If you’re gonna geek out GEEK HARD!