Thursday, September 20, 2012

She-Hulk 2: Dan Slott Revives She-Hulk!

Writer Dan Slott revived She-Hulk in a solo series in 2004, and it's definitely her best outing.  Though Stan Lee created her and John Byrne developed her further with his metafictional approach, Slott builds on the previous work on the character to deliver the best version yet.  He keeps the humor aspect from Byrne, but eliminates the metafiction, which allows the stories to become emotionally deeper and fulfilling for the reader (one problem with a postmodern approach is that it usually falls apart eventually when the freshness of the storytelling is worn off, leaving readers with characters who no longer inhabit an internally-believable imaginary world).  Here are some random thoughts on this issue:

*We start with issue 2 because I don't have issue 1.  I looked for it in the back issue bins, but decided that spending $10 on it was a bit foolish when I could just spend $10 for a month in Marvel's Digital Comics Unlimited and read it and a bunch of other comics as well.  So, I've read it; it's great, but I won't be discussing it here.  Boy, between trade paperbacks and digital comics, it's no wonder comic stores don't carry many back issues any more.  Oddly enough though, as digital reading (that's digital as electronic and not digital as in we use fingers to turn the pages) becomes more common, I suspect that a lot of comic book stores will close.  Ironically, the ones that survive will probably be the ones with lots of back issues since collectors of print comics will keep them in business.

*The motif behind Slott's run is basically ripping off Supernatural Law and making it superhuman law.  This is a great concept and one which John Byrne used a couple of times in his run on the character.  So She-Hulk's legal work involves cases with superheroes and supervillains.  In this issue, she represents Danger-Man, who is attempting to sue his employers for turning him into a superhuman.

*The title of the story "Class Action Comics" riffs on the law and Action Comics, the comic that launched Superman and the entire superhero genre.

*Slott is ably assisted by artists Juan Bobilla and Marcella Sosa, whose slightly cartoony style fits the story well.

*The law firm She-Hulk works at is Goodman, Lieber, Kurtzberg & Holliway.  Holliway's a character in the story, but the other names are better known as comic book industry, and specifically Marvel, legends Martin Goodman, Stan Lee, and Jack Kirby.  The law firm is located in Timely Plaza, a reference to Timely Comics, which is what Marvel was known as during the Golden Age, and She-Hulk resides in the Excelsior apartment building, excelsior being the word Stan Lee loved to sign off his Bullpen Bulletins with.

*It's a delight to read a good single issue, especially from this era when comics were often written with the trade paperback in mind.  After Byrne's three or four panel pages at the end of his run, it's also nice to see six-panel pages again.  The result is a satisfying read.

*I didn't read many Marvels during the 1990s, so I lost track of She-Hulk during the time, but it doesn't appear much was done with her during the time between the end of The Sensational She-Hulk and the beginning of the new series.  I bought some of the Slott issues as they came out, but others I picked up in the dollar bin (66% off, just like She-Hulk's usual amount of clothing!).  Obviously, these issues come after when I started rereading my collection in 2002, but it took me a while to reach the Ss, so I threw them in the pile as I picked them up.  I was still looking for a couple recently, which is why She-Hulk is the next to last series to be reread.

*I could go on and on about how much I like Slott's She-Hulk here, but since we have thirty or so issues ahead, I'll sign off here.  Excelsior!

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