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She-Hulk #10

Posted: Monday, December 20, 2004
By: Shawn Hill



ďSkeeterĒ

Writer: Dan Slott
Art: Paul Pelletier and Rick Magyar

Publisher: Marvel

Plot:
We learn what makes a certain kind of super-villain. It ainít pretty, and itís played mostly straight, a nice change for this title.

Whatís interesting:
I donít know if itís a new trend, but I like what Iím reading lately in comics. Like Busiek is doing with the JLA, Slott here focuses an issue not on the titular heroine, but on her evil doppelganger. It works just as well, because Titaniaís story serves as a powerful counterpoint to Jenniferís. In fact, Slott is starting to give Kurt a run for his money on the comic trivia front.

The women truly are doppelgangers, and not just in strength. At least as Slott has written the character, Jenn too (like ďSkeeterĒ) was once a mousy young girl, one who felt inadequate and drab compared to her peers. Mary Macpheeranís story is an object lesson in how not to make the most of your life. But, then, her background has one crucial difference from Jennís.

Unlike Jenn, who always had college and education and family achievement goals in her future, Mary was dirt poor with few prospects. So when amazing things come along to her life, like Spider-Woman II settling in her hometown and the Secret War, she latches on at the first opportunity, consequences be damned.

This is somewhat similar to how Rucka has set up Veronica Hale as Wonder Womanís jealous antagonist, though Titania has even less reason (or perhaps a more simple one) to resent She-Hulk. She canít beat her, and sheís tried time and time again.

Less interesting:
I dropped this book after the first few issues, because I didnít think Slott really captured what was best about Jennifer, and I didnít like the cartoonish art. No one has equaled Byrne when it comes to drawing a beautiful She-Hulk, and even at its most whimsical his series had some fun pulling up lost characters from Marvelís dregs and capturing her particular joie de vivre. Slott didnít seem to have the hang of that at first, but it seems he excels at the former and may finally be getting around to the latter, too.

Most interesting:
Thereís a great scene in this tale (which already involves Watchers and Dr. Doom and the Beyonder and a bevy of third-string cameos, all drawn with crisp clarity by Pelletier) where we see the origin of all of Maryís problems and aspirations. As a bored cashier, she latches onto comic books to pass the time. She identifies with the heroes in the books, dreaming of gaining extraordinary powers herself. In order to think herself fully into the stories, though, she has to re-imagine some of the heroes. As heroines. So her fantasy life includes dreams of a Giant-Woman, a Mrs. Human Torch, and herself as She-Hulk.

All girls have to do today is read this book to get the same thrill.



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