Home Top News Review: She-Hulk Ends with a Smash, Not a Whimper

Review: She-Hulk Ends with a Smash, Not a Whimper

8
She-Hulk #12
Writer: Charles Soule
 
Artist: Javier Pulido
 
Colorist: Muntsa Vicente
 
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
 
Cover Artist: Kevin Wada
 
Letterer: Jeanine Schaefer
 
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Last year All-New Marvel NOW! delivered a number of new series that tested the conventions of Big Two superhero comics. Ms. Marvel is the flagship example of that because of the attention it received from the media and its more-than-solid sales. She-Hulk, while not exactly under the radar, hasn’t received as much attention or attracted as big of a readership as Ms. Marvel, but is another prime example of the air of creativity Marvel has been encouraging since the success of Fraction and Aja’s Hawkeye. Over twelve issues Charles Soule, Javier Pulido, Muntsa Vicente and friends created an upbeat comic book series with honest emotions and real consequences that mined underused concepts and obscure continuity to terrific results.

The art from Javier and Pulido was a big highlight of the series, always brimming with energy. Pulido knows how to break the “rules” just right. His use of negative space is masterful, and the way he and letter Clayton Cowles break panel boundaries is experimental but not distracting. The artwork is perfectly complemented by bright, pop-y colors from Muntsa Vicente. The most similar art on the stands is in Daredevil from Chris Samnee and Matt Wilson, but its pages can’t match the pure sense of joy you find in She-Hulk.

I can’t read one of Soule’s books without considering his insane level of productivity. He’s a full-time lawyer and still has time for 6+ comics with his name on them to hit the shelves every month. With all that going on, I don’t understand how he found the time to do the amount of research his run on She-Hulk clearly required. Even as a lawyer himself, he clearly had to go to great lengths to get his facts straight. The mining of continuity was probably a still-bigger strain. Even the big bad, Nightwatch, is a character who only appeared in a handful of comics.

At first I found the message of She-Hulk #12 and, by extension, the message of the series as a whole, sort of trite. “Don’t cut in front of the line” didn’t feel like a powerful enough statement to end such a great series. However, folks over at Retcon-Punch published a post (which Soule himself linked to) that points out that the easy-way-out Nightwatch made a nice contrast to the hard-working Jennifer Walters. That caused me to change my tune on some level, but it didn’t completely erase my initial misgivings.

I was surprised that these twelve issues were what Charles Soule pitched, because the end felt a bit truncated. The very chatty fight went on a little too long, and the wrap-up scene needed more than two-and-a-half pages. Leaving the mystery of Angie the paralegal hanging didn’t help the feeling of abruptness. I’ll probably be reading Soule’s follow-up to that mystery wherever it appears, but since She-Hulk was billed as a self-contained book I expected to receive an answer to the question he raised within the pages of the She-Hulk itself. Sometimes leaving things lingering can be a good thing, but I didn’t feel like it was here.

That being said, I do love when writers build their own little universes within their books. I’m excited that She-Hulk will most likely pop up in one of Charles Soule’s Inhuman books based on the final pages of She-Hulk. If the rumors are true about Soule taking over Daredevil (and hopefully they are, and hopefully Pulido and Vicente are joining him) I fully expect Jennifer to make an appearance in that series as well.

She-Hulk was clearly a passion project for Charles Soule, and it showed in the end result. It’s nice to see a superhero book that embraces positivity for a change, even (especially?) when it’s not strictly about superheroics. I encourage you to look at the twelve articles Soule wrote on his blog, one for each issue of She-Hulk, to see how much he cares. Issue 12 was also the last Marvel book edited by Jeanine Schafer, who from my vantage point has done an admirable job helping to usher in a new era for corporate-owned comics. It’s nice that her position at Marvel ended on a high note.

8 COMMENTS

  1. Great series, decent issue and a hell of a ride. Nice writeup on it and I also recommend Soule’s blog. You can tell he loved writing this series.

  2. Sorry, read the first trade, as a big fan of Slott’s run, this version was a big disappointment. I won’t bother with the rest.

  3. I like Charles Soule’s writing on Superman/Wonder Woman. I kept meaning to pickup his She-Hulk series. Guess I’ll check out the TPBs. I like Slott’s She-Hulk at first and then I got tired of his nasty portrayasl of comic book fans(probably a result of the backlash he received on his early Spider-Man stories) so I dropped it.

  4. I’ve heard a lot of buzz about this, the last issue of the series. I wish I was on the bandwagon a lot sooner. I’ll have to read it on Marvel Unlimited. That said, it is pretty great how Marvel is doing so many wonderful great things with their books. With Marvel Unlimited, I keep reading old stuff (just finished Kirby’s The Eternals) and then reading newer books (like Hickman’s Avengers stuff) and the changes in style, art, pacing, etc are so striking. There’s greatness in both eras, of course, but I’m so happy comics aren’t predictably using previous formulas to make books anymore (for the most part).

  5. I kept seeing all the love for this book and decided to check out this final issue for shits and giggles and besides the outstanding artwork, it was yet another tepid, soft, Marvel book. It fits nicely into their current repertoire of books, but it seems obvious to me why this was cancelled.

  6. Other than a misguided two-issue fill-in, I thought the art was gorgeous. Best colors in a Marvel book, I thought. I wish it had found an audience.

Comments are closed.

Exit mobile version