She-Hulk #2: Hellcat
Charles Soule is turning She-Hulk into the most appealing geek girlfriend ever. She’s hot, green, an Avenger, and in this latest incarnation, so much fun it should be criminal. Soule has reinvented She-Hulk much the same way Dan Slott has with Spider-Man, by focusing on the person behind the powers. So far, this is more about Jennifer Walters, and her life as a modern woman on the go, which works because so little has ever been made of that in the past.
She-Hulk has been, for the most part, a peripheral character. Her story is known, and she’s been featured in a few notable comic runs (like John Byrne and Slott himself), but nothing this personal or in depth. In just two issue, Soule has made She-Hulk more interesting than she has ever been. Nothing particularly “superhero” goes down in She-Hulk #2, though the sexiest green hero does manage to slap down on an AIM hideout.
Jennifer Walters had opened a law practice. Having been unceremoniously let go from her former high-powered position, Walters has taken money from her first case and gone out on her own. So there she is. Office. Stationery. Know-how. No clients. With only eight months of cash in the bank, the mightiest attorney on Earth is starting to get scared. One thing going for her is the building she’s renting in. It’s run by a woman who had a small bit of mutant powers stripped from her post-House of M. Now, she rents office space to the super crowd. Somehow, I think that will come into play further down the road.
Cue Angie Huang, a monkey-toting woman hired to help run the office. She’s efficient, strong-willed, smart, and makes She-Hulk nervous. A girl’s night out with Patsy Walker, aka Hellcat, to try and unwind turns into a full on attack on an AIM hideout. After defeating AIM bad guys and diffusing a spat with Hellcat, She-Hulk returns to work the next day to find Dr. Doom’s son in her office. Kristoff Vernard is seeking political asylum, and he needs Jenifer Walters to help secure it for him.
This version of She-Hulk is almost a scene from How I Met Your Mother, or Sex and the City, as seen through the eyes of superhero. Soule is dedicated to developing character, and giving She-Hulk some dimensions she never had before. He doesn’t sacrifice excitement or action, just balances it with effective storytelling and character development. I also dig the tone of She-Hulk. Bright. Smart. Funny. In the same vein as Mark Waid reinventing Daredevil.
Javier Pulido’s art is just wonderful. He completely understands the world Soule is creating and absolutely rises to the occasion. The pencils here are surreal – they’re clearly not real life, but it’s not exactly comic books. Sure, there are some Silver Age qualities, but Pulido mixes in something else, and intangible texture that makes She-Hulk stand alone against the other comic book artwork out there. Kudos also need to go to Muntsa Vicente, who raises the art with his vibrant color choices.
She-Hulk is another win for Charles Soule. Is there anything this guy can’t do?
(4.5 Story, 4.5 Art)