Archive for She-Hulk

Another Cancellation for the She-Hulk


She-Hulk #12

Alas, another “She-Hulk” series cancelled before its time. Has there ever been another character so cool and fun who had so much trouble keeping a series going for the long haul?

The Big Bad has been revealed — the minor superhero Nightwatch was never actually a superhero at all. He cast a spell that sacrificed everyone in a small town to make everyone think he was a hero — and the only person who knew otherwise was George Saywitz, whose lawsuit became the Blue File. Nightwatch then cast other mind-control spells to make sure that anyone investigating the Blue File would come to a bad end — and he uses his mind-controlling abilities to make Jennifer attack Hellcat. Is She-Hulk going to kill her own friend? Will Nightwatch get away with everything?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Or is it down? This would’ve been a very acceptable end to a simple storyarc — the bad guy is revealed and defeated, other mysteries are solved, some others are not solved, everyone prepares for the next challenge. But for the end of a series? I think we needed more than this. Maybe not more punching — Shulkie did plenty of punching in this issue — but maybe a bit more lawyering, since that’s really one of the things that Jenn Walters does best.


Sensation Comics #7

Our first story is a sci-fi mini-epic in which Wonder Woman accompanies a space station exploring the planet Venus — only to learn that there are giant monsters out there willing to attack the station and steal away anyone they can. Our second story focuses on Lt. Angel Santiago, a soldier in Afghanistan assigned to engage with Afghani women to encourage them to influence the men in their villages to oppose the Taliban. Lt. Santiago and her fellow soldiers come under attack by insurgents — and she starts seeing Wonder Woman helping them all survive. Is she hallucinating?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Both stories are really good, but they are especially cool for some of the smaller details. In the first one, with the visit to Venus, Diana has two different costumes — when we first see her, she’s just gotten back from a crisis in Karachi, Pakistan, so she’s wearing an incredibly cool star-spangled hijab. After that, she changes to a metal spacesuit version of her classic costume. And after that, she and a supporting character discuss the trials and tribulations of the modern superheroine — all very funny stuff. And in the second story, I love the fact that we never actually know if we’re operating in the DC Universe or the normal world — the story works wonderfully either way. And there’s some great attention to detail, too — several of the Afghans are depicted with red hair, which is actually not uncommon there. And the art in both stories — by Neil Googe and Bernard Chang — is exceptionally well-done. An absolutely outstanding superhero comic here, people — go pick it up.


Lumberjanes #11

Molly and Mal are trapped in a lost world — with dinosaurs and everything! — with the shapeshifting bearwoman. And they’re going to be stuck there a really long time unless they can run a gamut of deadly threats so the bearwoman can get back… her reading glasses? And back in the real world, Ripley, April, and Jo are trying to earn some entirely mundane merit badges — and failing miserably at almost all of them? How can butt-kicking adventurers have so much trouble decorating cakes, making their beds, and dancing?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Not as pants-wettingly awesome as some previous issues have been, but we get tons of outstanding characterization and lots of funny stuff.


Ms. Marvel #12

Loki gets dropped off in Jersey City to look for the Inventor’s henchman and ends up inventing a scheme to get Kamala to fall for her pal Bruno — mostly against Bruno’s wishes — involving slipping Kamala a cheesy love poem and enticing her to come to the school dance. Things don’t go particularly well after that.

Verdict: Thumbs down. The story wants to be funny — it wants to be funny so very, very badly — and it just can’t do it.

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Back to the Grindstone

So the problem with taking over a week off for the holidays is that it’s hard to remember when it’s time to get back to work on your blog again. I finally remembered I needed to post some reviews and a Friday Night Fights pretty late yesterday, so here we are, scrambling to get something done.

It was a nice break, by the way. Got to go home and see the folks, got some excellent presents, had to drive home in snow and bad weather, had to deal with much less pleasant weather once I got home, and am still trying to get my brain wrapped around some other responsibilities I need to take care of. Not just the blog, but all kinds of stuff around the house I need to get put together. I got a ton of presents I need to get hammered on the walls and plugged into outlets, and so far, I haven’t done those yet. Luckily, I’ve still got plenty of time before I have to get back to the office, so maybe I can get some of that done this weekend.

But now, on to some quick reviews from the last couple of weeks’ worth of comics.


She-Hulk #11

It’s really disappointing that this series is on its next-to-the-last issue, but let’s enjoy it while it lasts. In this issue, Titania shows up and it’s a near non-stop slugfest all the way through, with some extra secrets that Angie and Hei Hei have been hiding.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Yeah, it’s a slugfest, but it’s a really great slugfest, starring the two strongest female characters in the Marvel Universe, with fantastic writing and art to go along with them. Worst thing about this issue: Just one more to go before it’s cancelled.


Loki: Agent of Asgard #9

A magical event has occurred that’s caused some of Marvel’s heroes and villains to switch allegiences. So the Avengers and X-Men have turned evil, while a group of supervillains have united as the new Avengers to save the world. Loki and the Enchantress are among the new Avengers, while Thor has become a brutish warmonger, no longer worthy of wielding Mjolnir. After the two newly-minted heroes capture Sigurd and Lorelei and return them to Asgard — where they’re subjected to an uncommonly cruel punishment for their crimes on Earth — Loki hatches a plot to remove the incredibly mighty Thor from the battle. Basically, he intends to go to the moon, where Thor left his hammer, and see if he himself is worthy enough to carry it. But can a God of Evil hold that weapon? And what will Thor do to him when he finds out about the plan?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a pretty fun story with tons of drama, and it sets up some pretty major ramifications for future issues of the comic, too.

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Anime Action


Batgirl #36

Barbara is meeting more of her supporting cast, but runs into unexpected trouble — someone has stolen a couple of experimental motorcycles from the university, so it’s not long before Batgirl has to take on a two girls dressed in weird anime-style costumes who are terrorizing the campus on the bikes. They get away, but Babs realizes they were made up to look like the villains on an old anime she watched when she was a kid. Can Batgirl stop the villains? And why do they think Batgirl herself hired them?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Really fun art, full of cool fashions and kinetic action, plus the occasional awesome slow moment — in this issue, Barbara’s memory of watching cartoons with her father is a real standout.


She-Hulk #10

Steve Rogers finally takes the stand in his own defense in the wrongful death suit against him, explaining some information that the jury wasn’t aware of before — namely, that the gang they ran into on that night back in the late 1930s wasn’t any run-of-the-mill mob — it was run by a gas-masked Nazi. But is that going to make any difference to the jury?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a great issue with lots of great speeches, both in and out of the courtroom, and relatively little face-punching. Fantastic art, fantastic writing, multiple fun guest stars. And I’m still deeply disappointed that this one is getting cancelled in just two more issues.


Silver Surfer #7

The Surfer and Dawn explore an utterly starless area of space. They’re lured in by a mysterious beacon, and then Dawn is unexpectedly kidnapped by a hidden monster. The Surfer and his board (Toomie, remember? Best possible name for a cosmic surfboard) are unable to find her. This leads to several flashbacks to their previous unrecorded adventures, including an attack by space hillbillies in which the Surfer foils them by turning their Hostess fruit pies into golden rings. Can the Surfer find Dawn again, or will he have to make a sacrifice he swore he’d never attempt?

Verdict: Thumbs up. I’d love this one just for the bit with the space hillbillies and the fruit pies. But the art and storytelling throughout are fantastic, which makes it even better.

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Celebrity Justice


Multiversity: The Just #1

Grant Morrison’s multi-dimensional series continues with a visit to Earth-16, where most of the older superheroes are dead or retired. The old Superman robots have wiped out all crime on Earth, leaving the teenaged and young adult superheroes lots of time to party. Damian “Batman” Wayne is dating Alexis Luthor behind Chris “Superman” Kent’s back. Kon-El is trying to make it in the art world, despite the fact that he’s turning into a Bizarro. Connor “Green Arrow” Hawke is worried that his daughter, Cissie “Arrowette” King-Hawke, wants to be a superhero without any training. Megamorpho has just committed suicide, and no one knows why — but it might have something to do with the cursed comic book that she was reading before she died.

Verdict: Thumbs up. I don’t know if Morrison considers this to be his indictment of ’90s comics or just DC’s characters from the ’90s — several of which I’ve always considered really pretty good. But it is a great look at the superhero as pure celebrity and at the shallow cynicism and nihilism of modern celebrity culture.


She-Hulk #9

Someone has sued Steve Rogers — Captain America himself! — for wrongful death! Jennifer Walters has taken the case to defend the now-elderly Cap — and she’s surprised to learn that Matt “Daredevil” Murdock is the opposing counsel! In court, Matt reveals that the case is based on a statement from a dying man, which is considered a dying declaration, and admissable in court. The accuser, Harold Fogler, told that before Steve Rogers got the super-soldier serum and became Captain America, Steve foolishly got Harold’s brother killed when the two of them were cornered by some criminal lowlifes and Steve just refused to shut up, despite a threat from the gang leader that he’d kill the other kid if Steve wouldn’t zip it. It looks really bad for Cap, and he’s refusing to let Shulkie defend him as well as she could. And a late night visit from Daredevil leads to the revelation that Cap told him to take the case. What is Steve’s game? What’s this case really about?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a good story, a bit confusing in parts — but that’s also because we don’t know the full story behind the case yet. The art is, as always, just plain wonderful. It’s hugely disappointing that we only have another three issues of this wonderful series before it gets cancelled.

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The Secret Names


The Names #1

Here’s a new Vertigo series written by Peter Milligan and illustrated by Leandro Fernandez. Our star is Katya Walker, the African-American trophy wife of a Wall Street exec who’s just committed suicide by throwing himself out his office window. But Katya doesn’t believe he killed himself and soon she receives a message from him, recorded months before he died, telling her that he was murdered by a conspiracy — and warning her about one specific family friend, Marco, who he didn’t trust. And when Marco comes calling, will Katya discover what the conspiracy is about, or will she just end up taking a dive out a skyscraper window herself?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Nicely over-the-top conspiracy story, and Katya makes an interesting protagonist. The art style is a bit odd, but I think I can definitely live with that.


She-Hulk #8

Jennifer Walters has a new client — a 90-year-old man named Steve Rogers. The Super-Soldier serum has quit working, and Captain America has reverted to his true age — and he’s been accused of a very old murder. Jen isn’t licensed to practice law in California, where the trial is going to be held, so she needs to get a California practice to serve as the firm of record so she can argue with them as an outside attorney. Her first thought is to use Matt “Daredevil” Murdock, but he turns her down. So instead she uses one of Jamie Madrox’s few independent duplicates, who is a very smarmy Hollywood lawyer. So what twists and turns is the case going to throw at her?

Verdict: Thumbs up. Well, the big twist in this one is telegraphed very early, but the rest of it is a very pleasant ride. The Madrox duplicate — who calls himself Matt Rocks — is a funny character, and the story is pleasantly lawyer-y in ways you only get when a lawyer is the actual writer of the series. And as I’ve said before, Javier Pulido’s artwork is a big, big draw.

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Magic Words and Tiny Science


Tiny Titans: Return to the Treehouse #3

The Tiny Titans enlist the help of Billy Batson, Mary Marvel, and the wizard Shazam as they try to locate a new treehouse. After enjoying some magic snowcones, Billy demonstrates how he can use his magic word to turn into Captain Marvel, and Robin tries to see if he can pull the same trick. Of course he can’t, which frustrates him even more when he learns that the wizard gave the awesome powers to Hoppy the Marvel Bunny. Later, Hoppy pays a visit to the League of Just Us Cows, and Robin gets his revenge on Freddie when he decides to gloat about his powers.

Verdict: Thumbs up. As always, a cute, funny story with keen art and tons of cleverness. Kids’ll love it, grownups’ll love it. Everyone should go read it.


She-Hulk #7

Jennifer Walters and Patsy Walker meet up with some inventors who’ve invented a way to shrink objects and people without using Pym particles. Unfortunately, there are a couple of problems. First, one of the inventors has shrunk himself and gotten lost in his backyard. Second, their shrinking process is unstable when used on living creatures — he could explode with enough force to level several blocks of the city if he’s not found and returned to his normal size. Hank Pym shrinks She-Hulk and Hellcat to help find the scientist, but he’s unexpectedly stolen away by a sparrow, forcing the two heroines to try to locate the lost man alone. Can Patsy master Hank’s ant-controlling helmet? Can She-Hulk survive a battle against feral cats? Can anyone keep the scientist from exploding?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s a deeply goofy story about shrinking, and if we’ve learned anything from “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids,” it’s that deeply goofy stories about shrinking are often lots and lots of fun. On top of that, we’ve got the return of Javier Pulido on art. And the front and back pages of this issue make an enjoyable contrast. The whole thing is just a nice, fun comic.

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The Long Arm of the Law


Ms. Marvel #6

The villain known as the Inventor wants Ms. Marvel dead, but Kamala Khan has more pressing concerns — her parents want her to talk to Sheikh Abdullah, the family minister and one of Kamala’s nemeses. And as seems to be typical with Kamala, he’s nowhere near the monster she’s let herself be convinced he is — conservative, yes, but more compassionate and understanding than she’d expected from listening to his youth lectures at the mosque. She confesses that she sneaks out at night because she’s helping people, and he advises her to find a teacher to help her help people better.

When Kamala chases after a report of alligators in the sewers, what she finds is a bunch of cyber-alligators, created and controlled by the Inventor. He appears to her in a hologram, revealing himself as a cybernetically-enhanced mutant parakeet who claims to be the clone of Thomas Edison. And there’s someone else tracking the Inventor — and Kamala is delighted to learn she’s going to get to team up with Wolverine! But this isn’t the unstoppable mutant badass Wolverine she was hoping to meet and be trained by — this is the guy who’s recently lost his healing factor, and fighting monster alligators in an absurdly spacious sewer means he’s quickly a badly injured mutant who Kamala has to somehow keep alive…

Verdict: Thumbs up. Jacob Wyatt takes over the art on this story, which can sometimes be a serious speedbump on a comic, especially one as young as this one, but nope, everything keeps firing on all cylinders. The story is great, the dialogue is fantastic, the art is fun. It’s a grand comic with wonderful action, drama, humor, and wisdom — and really great characters, too. Y’all better be reading this series, or we’re gonna have trouble.


Rat Queens #7

Dee’s husband, a worshiper of N’rygoth, has come to Palisade — just in time for Gerrig to enact his mad plan to punish the city for his life’s unhappiness. He intends to call N’rygoth itself to the city, but without any bindings to hold it back. Dee is a former N’rygoth worshiper, but she’s an atheist now — how will she handle concrete evidence of the monster-god’s existence? Plus there’s a really fantastic fight scene between Lola — who I really can’t say I remember at all — and a whole team of mercenaries.

Verdict: Thumbs up. The main story has all the humor and snark and drama we’ve come to expect from this series — but Lola’s battle against the seven mercenaries is really something else. Punishing, brutal, painful, and shockingly brilliant action — there’s more ass-whuppery in this five-page fight scene than you’ll find in a dozen other comics.


She-Hulk #6

Shulkie learns that discussing the mysterious Blue File case has a tendency to make people lose their minds, attack people talking about the case, and attempt suicide. She meets with Dr. Kevin Trench, a former superhero named Nightwatch (who I’m pretty sure is supposed to be dead in current continuity) who was one of the people named in the deadly lawsuit. They’re attacked out of nowhere by a bunch of demons. When Angie Huang finally gets back to New York after her near-death experience, Jennifer has apparently had her mind altered so she doesn’t care about the case anymore.

Verdict: Thumbs down. This is a case where a new artist on a comic can do some serious damage. Sorry, but Ron Wimberly’s artwork on this is just bad. Distractingly bad. It killed off any enjoyment I would’ve gotten out of this issue. And it’s likely to kill off any enthusiasm I have for this comic until he’s given the heave-ho.

Today’s Cool Links:

  • Marvel may be beating DC right now when it comes to diversity, but they’ve still got a ways to go.
  • Among its other influences, Dungeons & Dragons has helped to teach many people how to become better writers.
  • Universal Studios is considering relaunching their classic movie monsters and making them consistent with each other — similar to Marvel’s Avengers-related films.

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Luke Cage’s Baadasssss Song


Mighty Avengers #11

So this is a crossover with the “Original Sin” thing, which is all kinds of irritating. Worst thing about it is how long it takes to describe what the whole thing is about. Basically, someone killed the Watcher and stole his eyeballs. A low-level villain called the Orb got hold of one of the eyes, and then it blew up like a bomb and somehow made a lot of people learn about secrets they’d never heard of before. Spider-Man finds out someone else got bit by his radioactive spider, Thor finds out he has a sister, and Luke Cage finds out his father ran some sort of street-level superteam back in the ’70s, which he is, for some reason, all freaked out about.

Anyway, most of this focuses on Luke’s dad, James Lucas, telling the story of his big team-up, which featured him, as a homicide detective, a reporter named Constance Molina, Blade the vampire slayer, Dr. Adam “Blue Marvel” Brashear, and Kaluu, Master of Black Magic, as they tried to track down a bunch of shapeshifting monsters.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Other than Greg Land’s incredibly irritating tracing, I really do enjoy the blaxploitation vibe of this story. It’s actually really cool to see Blade in his old retro costume from the old “Tomb of Dracula” days.


Shutter #3

Kate Kristopher narrowly escapes serious injury in a rocket attack on her apartment, though her longtime friend Alain is hospitalized with extensive burns. She needs to go find some place where she won’t have to worry about assassins trying to kill her — so she goes to her father’s old homestead, meets up with the bony butler Harrington, and learns that there will be other guests at the mansion as well.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Wonderfully weird stuff all the way through, but I was completely sold four pages, when a bunch of underworld lowlifes drawn to look like characters from a Richard Scarry book plot an assassination.


She-Hulk #5

She-Hulk has decided to investigate her mysterious blue file — a record of a lawsuit filed against her and a number of superheroes and villains. Unfortunately, she has no memory of the case at all. In the process of speaking to the other defendants, Shulkie talks to the Shocker, who doesn’t remember anything significant about the case. Hellcat talks to Tigra, who promptly freaks out and goes into robot attack mode as soon as Patsy mentions the case. Jennifer’s paralegal, Angie Huang, travels to North Dakota to research the case, finds some information, and unknowingly sends a clerk into freakout mode. And Shulkie, unaware that the case is making some people completely freak out, calls up Wyatt Wingfoot to quiz him about it — while he’s climbing a mountain…

Verdict: Thumbs up for the writing and story, which is deepening the mystery about this case wonderfully — but thumbs down for the fill-in art, which is often really, really unattractive.

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Your Own Personal Jesus


Revival #20

Dana Cypress is terrified that the FBI will discover that her sister killed the rotten Check Brothers, but it turns out they just want her expertise with Revivers — it looks like one has gotten past the quarantine zone and made it into New York City. The sheriff discovers that the mayor’s wife is a secret — and insane — Reviver. Lester Majak consults with an old friend from a nearby Indian reservation about the ghosts haunting the woods. And Em meets up with a daredevil Reviver named Rhodey Rasch who likes dressing up as Jesus just to freak out the squares — he thinks he can help cure Em’s slowly decaying body by jumping off bridges with her.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Lots of bleak, glorious, freaky, gory fun. If y’all haven’t been reading this, could I suggest y’all go get the trade paperbacks as soon as you can? It’ll help you get caught up quick, and they’re absolutely grand to read.


She-Hulk #4

Jennifer Walters is frustrated by the fact that she was able to get Kristoff Vernard, the son of Dr. Doom, granted legal asylum, only for his father to kidnap him back to Latveria. After a chat with fellow superhero lawyer Matt Murdock, Jennifer undertakes a covert mission into Latveria to confront Dr. Doom — but does even the She-Hulk stand a chance against Dr. Doom — especially when he breaks out the giant robot to fight her?

Verdict: Thumbs up. The art is just phenomenal. There’s this one glorious silhouette midway through with Shulkie and Daredevil fighting crime in San Francisco that’s absolutely amazing. And the story ain’t at all bad either — I like the fact that Jennifer figured out a third way out of the confrontation with Doom.


Veil #3

The wizard Cormac is hiding out inside a deserted church making plans against the politicians who tried to use him, and he also manages to take control of Veil and bring her to him.

Verdict: Thumbs down. This series is so absolutely inconsistent. In the first issue, Veil was a quirky innocent who spoke in rhyme. In the second, she’s almost completely normal. In this issue, she does absolutely nothing aside from getting mind-controlled. It’s infuriatingly erratic.

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Green Doom


She-Hulk #3

Jennifer Walters has her first client — Kristoff Vernard, the son of Victor von Doom. And he wants to defect to the United States. The problem is that he doesn’t want to be Doom’s puppet, either now or someday when he inherits his father’s throne, and he’d rather be his own person in America. And the problem for She-Hulk is that he’s been in the U.S. exactly a year — and that’s the cut-off point for filing a legal claim for asylum. And the other problem is that there are a heck of a lot of Doombots between them and the courthouse. And even if they can get hold of a judge, there’s one more problem — where Kristoff goes, Dr. Doom is probably close behind.

Verdict: Thumbs up. Grand art, fun storytelling and dialogue, and wonderful action, both on the physical and legal levels. It’s a fantastically fun comic, and one more example of how Marvel is doing almost everything right. I mean, can you imagine DC making a comic like this?


Veil #2

Veil somehow made a bunch of thugs kill themselves — but she did it at Dante’s apartment, so they’re both on the run from the cops. But the problem with running from the cops is that they catch up with you eventually. Meanwhile, there’s something unpleasantly supernatural going on — a ritual spellcaster called Cormac performing sacrifices on behalf of a crooked politician. He has some sort of connection to Veil, but what is it? And what is Veil anyway?

Verdict: Thumbs up. It’s not as good as the first issue, to be honest — Veil suddenly stops talking in her weird sing-song rhyme and starts speaking perfectly normally, which takes half the fun out of the whole thing. But it’s still a good story, with cool, stylized art and lots and lots of mystery. I ain’t giving up on it yet.

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