Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Sensational She-Hulk: Steve Gerber Arrives . . . Yawn!

After John Byrne left, issue 9 was apparently a quickie fill-in issue.  I've never read it.  I did pick up some of Steve Gerber's run on the title since I really enjoy his Howard The Duck series (Howard is Cleveland, Ohio USA's only official "superhero" since Superman, though created here, guards the fictional city of Metropolis--by the way, Superman's fictional as well).  Alas, Gerber's She-Hulk work wasn't among his best, and this issue is pretty bad.

Here are some random thoughts on this issue:

*British artist Bryan Hitch would go on to become much more successful, but this is one of his early American comics and his art isn't too appealing, especially coming after Byrne.

*Many of the pages have 3 or 4 panels on them; much more story could have been fit into this comic.  I only paid a quarter or fifty cents for it, but if I had paid $1.50 in 1989, then I would have dropped the title immediately.

*Aside from She-Hulk continuing to answer letters on the letters page, the metafictional approach that made the series so interesting has been dropped.  The result is a pedestrian Marvel comic.  Gerber was innovative in the 1970s, but, like Stan Lee, his writing never seemed to evolve with the industry or medium, so what was groundbreaking a decade earlier is pretty ho-hum and behind the times here.

*Gerber does mix in some social commentary (one of his greatest strengths as a writer), but it still wasn't enough to make the story interesting. 

*Gerber picks up on one of Byrne's subplots by using the Lex Luthor standin, but he's given a ponytail and essentially a new personality, so the parody is more or less pointless to continue.  Most of Byrne's other storypoints are dropped (for example, She-Hulk gets fired from the district attorney's office), but Gerber does keep Weezi (The Blonde Phantom) as a supporting character (though it's unclear how she can still spend so much time with She-Hulk when she still works at the district attorney's office herself). 

*I bought a bunch of the Gerber She-Hulks out of a quarter bin all at once.  I should have saved my money and just bought one.  They are underwhelming.  The good news is that Howard The Duck does indeed show up in a few issues.

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