She-Hulk #1: Bright, Upbeat Fun

She-Hulk #1 by Ryan Stegman

 

Charles Soule, the writer who has given new direction to Swamp Thing, as well as bringing Superman to task with Superman/Wonder Woman, returns with She-Hulk, the first series specifically dealing with the character in years. She-Hulk has always been an interesting peripheral character, one that thrives when given a decent writer. Marvel Now has given Soule the chance to step up to the She-Hulk plate, and he does it with his usual excellence.

She-Hulk #1 is an introduction issue, one that has almost zero to do with any of the green skinned lady’s more super-heroic adventures. It’s a smart play by Soule. For She-Hulk to work, readers need to connect not just with the hero, but also her alter ego Jennifer Walters. A slam-bam first issue might have caught more attention, but it would do nothing to solidify the character. Soule keeps Jennifer the focus, impressive when you consider he also keeps her green. What has allowed She-Hulk to stand out against her more recognizable and angrier cousin is that Jennifer Walters embraces that side of her.

It’s not east being green, especially when you’re a high-priced lawyer working for a soul-sucking corporation. The introduction to She-Hulk comes on the day of her review, which she plans to breeze through and then commence to spending the bonus money. Problem is, no bonus. Expectations for Jennifer Walters, attorney at law, were rather high. She was supposed to bring in superhero clients, and when she didn’t, they decided to pass her over for both promotion and bonus. It didn’t matter Walters had made them millions; she was still a “bad investment.” Jenifer quits, and ends up having to go toe-to-toe with Tony Stark and his legal team.  

This might not sound like much, but it is. Soule establishes not just who Jennifer is, he also gives us the upbeat, fun tone to the series and the way in which adventure will come into She-Hulk’s life. If the tone continues, this book could share a lot with Mark Waid’s Daredevil run. Soule’s She-Hulk is very bright, with snappy dialogue and a good deal of comedy. Thus far, Charles Soule has been writing epics, and this is his chance to do old school, street level Marvel work. If issue one is any indication, She-Hulk is going to be a blast.

Javier Pulido’s art is perfect for this series. His work is very stylized, bringing in elements from the Silver Age, but blending them with an animation vibe. While still cheery, and upbeat, Pulido manages to cram in action in all the panels. The simple act of She-Hulk ordering drinks at a bar is executed in a really exciting way. I also applaud his character faces, which are wonderfully expressive. Pulido never lets us forget that we are looking at a comic book.

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(4 Story, 4.5 Art)