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Avengers #72

Posted: Monday, November 3, 2003
By: Jason Cornwell



Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Scott Kolins

Publisher: Marvel Comics

Plot:
As Jennifer Walters (aka She-Hulk) follows the trail of destruction that her cousin has left in his wake, we see her efforts to locate him are driven largely by her desire to restore her powers to normal operation, presumably with another does of his gamma irradiated blood. However, when the Avengers arrive in town to express their concern over her sudden departure, we see they make a rather unsettling discovery about Jennifer's new condition.

Comments:
I do have to wonder why this story arc was given the title "The Search for She-Hulk", as she's never really missing in this issue, and the Avengers manage to locate her rather easily. Now perhaps the title refers to the search for the fun-loving, easygoing personality that She-Hulk brought to the table, as this is certainly missing in this issue, and the final page makes it clear that we're about to be treated to an arc where we can expect her dialogue to consist of "She-Hulk Smash!" and the ever popular "Why won't puny humans leave She-Hulk alone?". Now speaking as a long time fan of the character I certainly hope this change is not a lasting one as the one thing that made She-Hulk such an enjoyable female counterpart to her gamma irradiated cousin is that she was effectively his exact opposite when it came to her personality. I mean she enjoyed being a seven foot tall and sporting green skin. Plus, the most important element of the character was that she was one of the rare characters in comics that truly enjoyed playing the role of hero, which made her a refreshing character in the angst-ridden wastelands that were the 1990s. Now it would appear that Geoff Johns has decided to toss this aside so he can offer up what looks like a big brawl, but as long as the character is reverted back to normal before the arc wraps up, I'm perfectly willing to accept whatever changes Geoff Johns feels he had to make to deliver an exciting read.

As for the art, Scott Kolins does a wonderful job of capturing the look and feel of small town America, as there's a wealth of little details that populate the background that help to lend a sense of credibility to this environment. I also enjoyed the idea that the wanted posters that are being used to convince the public that Banner is a dangerous criminal are a bit like Nick Nolte's mug shot, in that I don't think they could make Banner look any more dangerous without breaking out the black marker to add the horns and goatee. The art also does some nice work selling Jennifer's sense of anguish as she sits alone in that washroom, and the arrival scene with the Avengers was pretty impressive. The big transformation scene was also pretty solid, though I must confess I was more enamored with the idea that Jennifer took the time to match her underwear to her cousin's purple pants.

Final Word:
I like the effort that was made to establish a real relationship existed between She-Hulk and Bruce Banner before the accident, as this is ground that hasn't really been covered in the past. I mean yes they are cousins, but this marks the first time that I've seen a real effort made to establish Jennifer and Bruce had a past together. Now I can't say I'm overly fond of the way the Avengers are shown to handle this situation with their teammate though, as the Scarlet Witch comes across looking like a regular cement-head, as in order to keep Jennifer from escaping out the front door, she causes the roof to collapse. I mean to me this is a bit like poking a dog with a stick in an effort to keep it from biting you. The idea that Jennifer's change is triggered by fear rather than rage is a change that I'm not quite sold on though, as except for the often repeated line from the television series, I've always been under the impression that the Hulk's change was caused by an agitated state, be it fear and/or anger, and that as long as the adrenaline started pumping it didn't matter what emotional state he was in.



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