Wednesday, 17 June 2015

She-Hulk Vol 3 & 4 by Dan Slott

She-Hulk Vol 3 (Time Trials) & 4 (Laws of Attraction) by Dan Slott are the first two volumes of the second run of Dan Slott's She-Hulk. They collect issues #1 to #13, although, actually I read up to #15 before giving up. Vol 5 goes up to issue #21 which is also the end of Slott's run but I just wasn't enjoying it any more so I stopped. This review contains spoilers because otherwise I can't discuss some of the bits that annoyed me.

Join She-Hulk as she deals with the bizarre legal problems of the Marvel Universe Strange twists, exciting adventures and lots of guest-stars. And She-Hulk isn't the only one returning. Get ready, True Believer Hawkeye's back. We kid you not. So why is Clint Barton giving Jen Walters such a hard time? And how is his fate tied in to She-Hulk's latest case? Featuring guest appearances by the New Avengers and Cassie Lang (Stature from Young Avengers).
She-Hulk's firm is dealing with their first superhuman sexual assault case. Their client? Eros of Titan, the space-faring Avenger called Starfox. And when emotions get over-heated at the office — expect a love triangle or two to finally come to a head. What will this mean for Pug, She-Hulk and John Jameson? And who (or what) is Awesome Andy falling for? Plus: Civil War threatens the rights of every American super hero. So whose side will Marvel's top superhuman lawyer fight for? And how can she possibly choose, when she feels one way as She-Hulk, and another as Jen Walters?

One of the problems with these two volumes is the existence of comic events. Civil War happens in the middle of Vol 4 and completely throws out the most interesting arc in this run. In fact, the epilogue of said arc, which I'll talk more about shortly, gets pushed into #14 and Vol 5. As well as the Civil War — which does at least fit in with the concept of She-Hulk being a lawyer fairly well — there seem to be Hulk/She-Hulk on a rampage stories which are told in other books, I think? I don't exactly mind missing out on these, but it's a bit weird when no apparent time has passed in the story line and yet She-Hulk has found time to go on a rampage or something. I know it's kind of the nature of comics, but it really disrupted the flow for me.

Especially the Star Fox arc, which was potentially the most interesting. I say potentially because it didn't quite live up to it's potential, although it wasn't as dire in the end as I feared. The background is Star Fox's powers include the ability to make people fall in love temporarily. Or, as someone put it, he's a walking roofie. He's brought up on sexual assault charges and Jen is forced to represent him because her firm's been getting into some questionable stuff. (Side note: I would kind of like to know how that back story pans out, but not enough to keep reading, unfortunately.) Just as the trial gets interesting... the Civil War starts and it gets ignored for several issues. I actually didn't think we were going to come back to it at all which was kind of infuriating because it left Jen to run off and marry her boyfriend that she was about to break up with before Star Fox zapped her! And then when she finds out what was happening it's kind of completely glossed over. Like one minute she's realising she doesn't love him and the next... it just was not handled well. The one good thing is that Star Fox did eventually get justice... but there was this weird bit with Thanos (supervillain) which had me excited for a few pages before they doubled back. To summarise, the idea of Star Fox being put on trial was good, but the execution was lacking (I will admit, it could have been worse, though).

Then there was all the objectification of She-Hulk. Mainly this was in the artwork — the covers above are by a different artist, but that should give you an idea. Gratuitous side boob and almost-nudity are just icky and unnecessary. And there was one point where a troll ran under She-Hulk's skirt and commented on her "going commando", in a context where she didn't even get to dress herself, no less! Ugh.

I've mainly talked about Vol 4 above. Vol 3 was kind of less memorable. There was a storyline with Hawkeye set after he had died in whatever book that was (and Avengers iteration, I assume), which was kind of entertaining, but I do feel ambivalent about Hawkeye as a character. On and some other old Wild West superhero called Two-Gun something (it's not in the blurb and I really don't care enough to look him up) hung around for a while for no apparent benefit. I didn't like or care about him, so that was an epic meh. We do get to see grown-up South Paw, though, which was an up side.

It took me a lot longer to get through these two volumes than it did the first run. The spark that made the first run memorable got old and I just lost interest. Most of the internal art was OK, but there were not-sufficiently-occasional objectifying shots of She-Hulk which were very off-putting. As was some of the plot. I wouldn't say don't read it, but don't get your hopes up if you loved the first run.

3.5 / 5 stars

First published: 2006, Marvel
Series: She-Hulk Vol 3 and 4 of Dan Slott's run (issues #1-13 of Slott's second run)
Format read: Digital
Source: Marvel Unlimited

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