Jennifer Walters is the She-Hulk! A stalwart member of the Avengers and FF, she's also a killer attorney with a pile of degrees and professional respect. But juggling cases and kicking bad guy butt is a little more complicated than she anticipated. With a new practice, a new paralegal and a mounting number of super villains she's racking up as personal enemies, She Hulk might have bitten off more than she can chew! When Kristoff Vernard, the son of Victor Von Doom, seeks extradition, it's an international jailbreak, She-Hulk-style! Then, She-Hulk and Hellcat must uncover the secrets of the Blue File — a conspiracy that touches the entire Marvel Universe! And when someone important to She-Hulk is killed, and won't let it stand — but who can she trust? She-Hulk takes on her most terrifying role yet: defendant! Collecting SHE-HULK (2014) #1-6.
She-Hulk is one of my favorite superheroes, even though she unfortunately has a history of series that end up getting canceled.1 This is her newest one, and it’s…okay. The thing about She-Hulk is that she’s a lawyer and a party girl AND she has self-confidence issues,2 all of which make for compelling stories. Super adventures and space lawyers and character development are all the things I like to see in a story, and almost none of those things are in this series.
Now, admittedly, a series usually doesn’t get good until the second volume (or issue 6). The first book is setting up the series; the artist and writer are still getting used to each other, they’re getting to know the characters and the plot and whatnot. Things are a bit wonky, but by issue 7 they’ve usually settled down.
So I expected the first volume of the new She-Hulk series to be bumpy. It was! But bumps can still be fun, sometimes, if you’ve got a good artist/writer/story combo. Unfortunately, the bumps in this volume bumped me right out the series.
The story: Jennifer/She-Hulk starts her own law firm, makes new friends, uncovers a creepy plot to, idk, destroy her/her superhero buddies. That last thing doesn’t show up until a few issues in, though, and before that we have to slog through mini-stories about people Jen defends, like Doctor Doom’s son who wants to claim asylum in the US. Cute stories, and I’m definitely into superhero conspiracies. Also, apparently the author is a lawyer himself! Pretty cool.
I enjoyed Shuklie’s friendship with Patricia Hellstrom, aka Hellcat. Patty’s a private investigator (I think?) and drags She-Hulk into dangerous-but-fun situations. Fun friendship adventures, yay! Also good is Shulkie’s weird new assistant, who is possibly psychic and can maybe see the future. And/or ghosts. She has an adorable pet monkey, too.
On the whole, the story takes a while to get off the ground. The first few issues set up She-Hulk’s current situation as independent lawyer-type-person, and then she spends a few issues doing one-off cases. It’s not until nearly the end that we get more of the conspiracy plot, which I’m thinking is the over-arching story for the series. To be honest, it’s also the BEST story in the series, especially since there isn’t a terrible about of personal/character development to balance out the superhero/lawyering stuff like in some other She-Hulk series. Mass conspiracies can sustain a series, whereas one-shot plots get old quickly.
My biggest problem, though, is with the art style. I HATED it. The art for the majority of the book3 has rather fugly character design choices. I specifically couldn’t get over She-Hulk’s face, which is round and squished like a pancake. I don’t like it, ESPECIALLY when you compare it to the AMAZING cover art by Kevin Wada!!
See what I mean? Apparently the artist’s style is retro, which makes sense because I don’t much like looking at ye olde comic book faces, either.
The last two issues of the volume has a different artist4, who at least lets the characters have noses but who also really likes unusual perspectives. It makes everything look psychedelic– or like the comic equivalent of a movie shot entirely using Dutch angles.
The colors for both artists are extremely vibrant, which can fun. Purple buildings! Magenta night sky which later turns lime green! But not necessarily a good idea when combined with either style. It’s just so distracting? Super bright colors + quirky character designs = something that everyone but me likes, apparently. (Seriously, every other review out there mentions particularly how much they like the art.)
I’d be willing to continue this series for the story, but I don’t know if I can handle any more of (either style of) the art. That said, I’ve looked at some panels from later issues and it looks like they got rid of Shulkie’s pancake face. Yay!
Read: May 12, 2015
I disliked this book so much I actually went back and reread my favorite She-Hulk series, the one written in 2004 by Dan Slott. Review of that will be going up soon!