“Many Happy Returns”
Writer: Dan Slott
Artists: Juan Bobillo (p), Marcelo Sosa (i)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Plot: She’s back, baby, and better than ever.
Comments: I don’t get how this re-launch thing works. Especially when it’s done with the same creative team as the previous version. Is everyone just that anxious to get in on the ground floor? It worked wonders for Runaways mark 2, and I hope the same goes for this new iteration of She-Hulk, a long-time Marvel favorite and veteran of several series of assorted tones and tenures. Of course, the explanation could be simpler than mine. Slott gives us one right in the book, through his mouthpiece character Stu Cicero, archivist of “the longboxes” for Jenn’s law firm. This month he’s a very disgruntled archivist, as his shelves are bare, because ordering problems have left him “waiting for the trades.” Say it with us now, aren’t we all just a little bit stuck “waiting for the trades?” Slott’s feelings on the concept aren’t even subtext in this comic; that fourth wall is a nylon riven with runs, but to this continuity geek, such fanboy laments are pure mother’s milk. Stu’s eventual fate when the trades finally arrive is simple brilliance.
Encouraging signs: Like Vaughan in Runaways, Slott has retained his characters but altered the status quo. In this issue, the Avengers come calling for Jennifer, but it’s she who sends them away. She’s still coping with emotional fallout from the Johns and Bendis eras of her old haunt. It’s left up to Slott to recuperate if he still wants to use her as the focal point of a light-hearted legal procedural. I mean, somebody has to, right? Because those writers created havoc with no recognizable human emotional responses in sight.
Slott makes good use of Doc Samson to set that right, and along the way manages to heal many of the wrongs and oversights that are endemic to Bendis-mad Marvel. In this little corner of the world, Jen feels bad for going on insane rampages (but not suicidally bad), and the Vision mark 2 politely thanks her for bringing him into existence, inadvertently, under one of Wanda’s many magic spells. It’s all presented so charmingly, so wittily and so humanely, I can’t even get mad that Slott does it all without actually contradicting the work of those other, lesser authors.
Grumbles: Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate Bobillo, but he’s about as suited to super-heroics as Tan Eng Huat over at DC. He’s got the comic timing Slott requires, but I really only fully enjoyed the first series when Pelletier came on board, and I wish he was around for this model, too. Still, the writing’s the real stuff on this title, and I’m as sucked into yet another attempt to plug an Avengers continuity hole by issue’s end as Jennifer herself is. This is gonna be good.
Gaack! I can even forgive the unfortunate choice of Greg Horn as cover artist. THIS month. Can we have Mayhew back please?
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