Saturday, August 18, 2012

The Sensational She-Hulk 4: Comic Book Characters Have Feelings Too!

This issue sees John Byrne getting even weirder with the metafictional approach to the comic, which makes this issue a lot of fun.  She-Hulk changes clothes between panels, uses Byrne to get her across town quickly, gets upset at Byrne when her love interest turns out to be married with children, and realizes that the plotlines of her comic seem to be based on Lee and Kirby's Fantastic Four.

Here are some random thoughts on this issue:

*Razorback shows up in a subplot.  Perhaps one of Marvel's silliest superheroes, he's basically a trucker who wears a dead boar on his head.  He was only topped in sublime ridiculousness by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon's Dogwelder, who welds dead dogs to evildoers.

*Some of the characters in She-Hulk realize they are comic book characters, and some do not, which makes for some amusing interchanges between characters.

*Despite the silliness, Byrne manages to eke out some pathos from all the postmodernism when he reintroduces The Blonde Phantom, a Golden Age Timely character, who explains to She-Hulk that she wanted to get into comics again so she'd stay the same age (a running joke in comics is that superheroes always remain about 29 years old no matter how many decades they've been around for).  The Phantom's husband died after they retired from comics since time proceeded normally then, so she wants a gig as a supporting character in She-Hulk to stay alive.

*The stupid villain this month is Stunt-Man, and Byrne gets a lot of mileage out of drawing panels only showing his legs.  A funny scene also ensues wherein She-Hulk gets punched in the head by a subway train (don't worry, she's invulnerable, not to mention a comic book character).

*A Lex Luthor standin shows up at the end.

*It is enjoyable to read a comic book that is just a comic book and works as a nice short story.  Too many of today's comics are written with the trade paperback republication in mind and seem to be chopped up into six-parts randomly.  The comic book form works best as a comic book, not just one part of a serialized story.

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