Thursday, April 17, 2014

She Hulks (Marvel)

As I've said before, She Hulk is my favourite Marvel comics character. Not that that's saying a whole lot, since the collective amount of Marvel I've read that isn't Nikki Doyle's Wild Thing (Avoid!) is nothing but She-Hulk, but still. She's a great character-entertaining, funny, and tough as all hell! (On a tangent, Thank God that SH movie starring Brigitte Nielsen never got off the ground! *phew* Dodged a bullet there!)

She Hulks is a 2010 miniseries about Jennifer Walters and Lyra, the two femme Hulks, who must track down and capture the remaining members of The Intelligencia, a group of supervillains who the Hulks all took down shortly before the events of this miniseries. Meanwhile, when not beating the tar outta bad guys, Lyra must contend with a new challenge for her-high school...

The issues of this series feel very short and don't tell/show a lot , but I don't mind here, as this is one large story, rather than a regular episodic series. Could it do with expanding and extra length? Absolutely, but it's definitely not bad.

The miniseries is pretty funny althroughout, and there are many humorous caption boxes, whether they be random, or helping keep the reader up to speed at the start of new issues.

Jennifer Walters fares ok in this series. She's funny here and there, and she's indeed badass, but she doesn't get any character here. She just kicks a lot of supervillain ass.

By the way, at the end of Issue #1. There's a biography on Jen Walters, and when it starts, on the right side of the comic, I thought, 'Oh, neat! They have a page of history and backstory on She-Hulk!'...And then I turned the page! In total, there's five pages completely COVERED in ultra small text! So much backstory shown!...And yes, this is a good thing.

One minor complaint with her character here is with the artwork in a certain respect. The series doesn't show Jen in her human form enough, so when it does, it throws you off for a second until you realize who you're looking at.

Lyra is an interesting character from what little we know of her going into this (if you're new to Marvel/She Hulk, that is). Her past in the post-apocalyptic alternate 23rd Century is intriguing, and makes for a character with a personality and temperament befitting of the moniker Savage She Hulk. And her interactions with other people are frequently hilarious, or at the very least, funny.

Both Bruce Banner and the Hulk have short appearances here and there, and they're fine when onscreen. Banner doesn't leave a big impression, but he's decent for a minor-ish character.

The villains are pretty barebones. They're fun to read, and The Wizard gets plenty to do*, but there's no real plot or character to them here. They're just bad guys who the She Hulks have to take down.

*Speaking of, the way he escapes from his cell at a certain point is very confusing and poorly explained.

The school bitch clique is pretty annoying, and thankfully they're mostly only present in Issue #1. Member Amelia fares a little bit better, but she doesn't appear a lot. If this was an ongoing series, I'd be interested to see how her story continues from the downer ending.

And therein lies my biggest problem with this miniseries-the ending itself. What the hell happened?! Did the writing team watch Beaches, and wrote the script for Issue #4's ending while they were still crying, because She Hulks ends in an oddly downbeat way, especially for such a lighthearted series. And it doesn't make a whole lot of sense why 'they' all suddenly feel 'like they do' towards the 'certain character'. If anything, they should be hating the 'certain villain' responsible for everything at the 'occasion'.

There's no denouement either. Issue #4, and with it the whole series just stops after the brief climax. I have no idea if this was always intended to be a miniseries, or if it just wasn't popular enough to break into being a regular series. Maybe it's the latter, and the reason there's no conclusion is that there was supposed to be an issue 5 and beyond.

Another issue is that it feels like this series starts off abruptly in media res. Unless you're a Marvel Comics addict who's read everything, you won't know who these characters are, have no idea who the Intelligencia are, or why we should care. Given the complete lack of backstory, it seems like She Hulks is more of a treat for regular diehard readers, rather than people who've just jumped into Marvel.

Also, some might dislike the copious amounts of cheesecake (mostly in the first issue). I don't mind it for the most part, because I am a Man, but there is some though that just make me shake my head and go "Dudes, this is too much". One such moment is when Jen is wearing a bra that her boobs are totally busting out of, which just makes things look silly, and another is on the cover of Issue #2. Thankfully it's never even close to being as bad as the examples of cheesecake that set things like The Hawkeye Initiative* into motion. No Scott Lobdell's Starfire or Jim Balent's Catwoman here.

*The Hawkeye Initiative: Fan-arts online of comic book covers with all the absurdly sexualised woman replaced by Hawkeye, right down to the poses, with visible buttcrack lines, ultra-revealing clothes, and spine-bending positions.

The art is all great here. No complaints.

She Hulks is a good read, and I do recommend it, although given that these all feel like one issue sliced up into four parts, I guess I'd recommend waiting for a special on Comixology before purchasing.

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