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She-Hulk #29

Posted: Tuesday, June 3, 2008
By: Shawn Hill

Peter David
Val Semeiks, Victor Olazaba (i)
Marvel Comics
Plot: Sitting in a jail cell, hearing another sob story, has given Jennifer some time to think. This issue, we finally learn how she went from being a high profile lawyer to the lower status and more dangerous lifestyle of a bounty hunter.

Comments: Basically, she threw it all away. On purpose.

Well, itís a little bit of a retcon to have Jenniferís downfall come at the hands of a minor villain whose only goal (it turns out was as a hired hand) to engineer that downfall. So we still donít know who is actually pulling the strings, but at least we learn what happened this issue, and itís a character-based reveal rooted in very solid storytelling featuring all the psychological acumen at Peter Davidís command.

What Jennifer learned in the earlier incarnation of this title was that She-Hulk wasnít just a big green escape from the life of drab human legal drone Jennifer Walters, but that Jennifer had her place in the world, too. Perhaps at the only legal firm that could make the Jekyll and Hyde nature of the gamma curse a positive, one that represents other meta-humans on all sides of the law. She had something to offer in both of her personas, and thatís exactly why the predatory legal eagle Mallory Book asks her to help out on a case involving Arthur Moore, aka Dark Art, a really really minor Marvel universe sorcerer.

The case gets morally complicated in a very Law & Order: SVU kind of way, very quickly and when Jennifer realizes children have suffered unspeakable abuse at Dark Artís hands, she Hulks out, and loses all professionalism in an unwarranted brawl.

Only the kicker is, she wasnít just angry about the kids. She was angry about a lot of things: her life, the Civil War between super-heroes, the Initiative, the psychological strain of the changed climate in Marvel Manhattan these days. The haunting specter of what happened to Steve Rogers. Book is sanguine enough to figure out that someone may have manipulated Jennifer to this state, because they were threatened by her one-two punch of superhero/lawyer, but her insight falls on deaf ears as Jennifer flees the firm.

And this is before itís realized that Dark Art was lying, and the kids were still alive and unhurt.

Deep stuff about loss, disappointment, rebellion and self-flagellation here, all in a little comic about a sexually permissive green giant, whose every cover emphasizes her figure whether itís by Deodato, Mayhew, Granov or Horn. Pretty solid stuff from Peter David, and the unanswered questions mean the plot is still far from unfolding.



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