Friday, 5 June 2015

She-Hulk Vol 1 and 2 by Dan Slott

She-Hulk, written by Dan Slott, is another comic I've read digitally on Marvel Unlimited. I thought I had read the full run, but turns out there is a second run (a soft reboot?) by the same writer, starting the numbering from issue #1 again (which made it show up separately in the MU app). As it happens, what I actually read were Vol 1: Single Green Female and Vol 2: Superhuman Law as far as trade collections go. (Blurbs from both volumes below.)

Single Green Female, outgoing, intelligent, great sense of humor. Enjoys clubbing, dishing with gal-pals and saving the universe.

As a superhuman lawyer, She-Hulk has tried some of the strangest cases on Earth...but all of that is about to change! Empowered by the Living Tribunal, Shulkie is heading into deep space to practice Universal Law!

The first thing I want to say is that I thought the illustrations by inker Marcelo Sosa, who did most but not all of the interiors in this run, made She-Hulk look cute as a button, especially as Jen. I was very disappointed when the art changed for a few issues — not because the other art was bad per se, it just wasn't as appealing and cute. I was pleased to see that some of the run I have yet to read is also illustrated by Sosa, so I've got that to look forward to.

She-Hulk, aka Jennifer Walters, is a lawyer who became Hulkified after finishing law school — her origin story is there was an accident and she got a blood transfusion from her cousin Bruce Banner aka (He-) Hulk. This run opens with her practising law as She-Hulk, with the occasional recess to go save the world, and then partying hard in the evenings. She-Hulk has a high tolerance for alcohol and also enjoys taking home a different hot guy each night (and because she's She-Hulk, she doesn't have much trouble finding willing hunks). But everything changes when she gets thrown out of the Avengers mansion (too much partying) and loses her job (for being an Avenger). She's offered a new job quickly enough, but with the stipulation that she has to practice law as Jen not as She-Hulk. Turns out, the new law firm has a department not dissimilar to the law firm in Angel (but less evil... probably), dealing with superhuman cases.

My favourite part was that comics count as historical documents (and not just any comics, but Marvel comics) because the superheroes in question have to sign off on them before they're printed. So as well as trawling through normal legal precedent, Jen and co also have to trawl through old comics, lol.

The first volume was mostly about Jen getting her life together, interspersed with amusing superhuman trials. It was fun and upbeat and I was very entertained by the quirky cases. Of course, Jen's solutions to tricky problems often centred upon some sort of personal growth, which added to the overall continuing story line.

The second volume was a bit more weird. There were still some quirky cases, but She-Hulk was also recruited to an intergalactic tribunal thing and things got a bit weird in space. Then after she came back there was an epic nemesis face-off, which also involved Jen working through some issues. On the up side, She-Hulk spent a lot of time babysitting a budding supervillain teen, who was amusing and provided a nice source of banter. Unfortunately, some mysterious event took place in zero apparent time given this continuity. I assume it was chronicled elsewhere and since it seems to involve She-Hulk hulking-out in the classical Hulk sense and breaking all the things, I'm not particularly drawn to finding out the details. But it did make some of the continuity confusing because there was character development effectively while we weren't looking. The bane of comic events, I suppose.

Anyway, this was my first exposer to She-Hulk and it has absolutely convinced me that she's awesome. I suspect not all runs are quite this good though, so I'm a bit wary to go back in time. I definitely intend to read the rest of Dan Slott's run, which will be Volumes 3 to 5, and after that I'll probably jump forward to the new current run (with breaks for other comics, of course). I highly recommend this run of She-Hulk to anyone looking for an awesome female superhero and anyone interested in reading about a superhero that spends more time using their brain than punching things.

4.5 / 5 stars

First published: 2004–2005, Marvel
Series: She-Hulk, issues #1–12 of the run starting in 2004, collected in Vol 1: Single Green Female and Vol 2: Superhuman Law
Format read: Digital
Source: Marvel Unlimited

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