Even though we’ve seen She-Hulk in some good books over the last couple years, in Fraction/Allread’s FF and the underrated She-Hulks Mini-series, it’s nice to see her back at her day job. More in the vein of Marvel’s Hawkeye book, “She-Hulk,” from Charles Soule and Javier Pulido, brings Jennifer Walters back to her previous profession as a lawyer.
Quitting her job after her mistreatment from employers, Jen Walters takes the case of a widow who claims that her late husband, a former super villain, created the Repulsor Tech that is used by Tony Stark. Thinking that Walters can just talk it out with Stark, she’s cut off at the pass and has to go through his high powered lawyers.
In the same vein as “Hawkeye” and “The Superior Foes of Spider-Man,” “She-Hulk” is less about super heroics and more about the individuals in the costume. “No one is only one thing” is the tagline of the book that sets the tone. Much like “Hawkeye,” outside of the first page you never see Walters in her costume or ever refer to her super-hero name.
It’s refreshing. Too many superhero comics are poses and punching. It’s cool to see books like this that give a bit more depth to the lives of these characters.
Charles Soule is continuing to be one of the best writers in the game. Everything I said in my review of Thunderbolts can be said here. Great characters, with fantastic dialogue, set a great tone for the first issue. While also writing six other titles, Soule also practices law in New York City, which adds strength to his arguments about how convoluted law can be. But his personal experiences influence the narrative in a style that doesn’t weigh the story down with jargon.
Artist Javier Pulido also brings spectacular work with issue one. His previous work on titles like Daredevil and Spider-Man were good, but Pulido is at home with character art that lets facial movements tell the story. There’s a panel I really love of Walters drinking at a bar, while in the background her soon to be client is walking back and forth looking for someone to take her case. Muntsa Vicente also brings bright, vivid colors that really perk up the tone of the book.
Being a big fan of “She-Hulk” and Charles Soule, I wasn’t disappointed. It’s fun, has great art and feels like no other book out right now. If you want capes, this isn’t the book for you. But “She-Hulk” has a little bit of something for everybody.
“The New 52,” for me, has been a mixed bag. For every great title like “IVampire,” “Wonder Woman,” and “Animal Man,” there are several terrible books that flood the market. I mean, I love DC comics because when they’ve got a great book, it’ll be a book I hold close to my heart (Secret Six). But when they’re bad, they’re historically bad (The Rise and Fall of Arsenal).
Before “The New 52,” Scott Snyder was DC‘s best kept secret, doing phenomenal work on “Detective Comics” and “American Vampire”. With the relaunch, Snyder started his tenure on “Batman” along with artist Greg Capullo. The duo has turned the title into a blend of classic Batman crime noir, with elements of horror, to make a unique book that I think will enjoy a historic run.
For several months, Snyder and Capullo have been in the middle of the story arc, “Zero Year;” a retelling of Bruce Wayne’s first year as Batman. But this month’s issue is sort of a stop gap. Next month will be the release of a Batman event called “Batman Eternal,” set to come out once a week for the entire month. This month’s issue previews the event.
Set in the not too distant future, this Gotham is very different then the one we last saw. In a sort of lock-down mode, there is a city wide curfew with armed guards, watching the streets, who will attack anyone they see.
The story focuses on Harper Row, a street urchin who’s been popping up here and there giving readers bits of who she is. Living with only her brother, she sees the worst parts of Gotham and stands for the good that the city can be. In her passing meetings with Batman, he’s saved her and she’s saved him and I’ve been chomping at the bit for her to become a bigger part of the story.
It looks like that time may be now.
She intercepts her way into The Egyptian; the only nightclub left in New Gotham. With Batman in tow, she unveils herself as Bluebird, Batman’s newest sidekick. After a raucous fight, Selena Kyle, Catwoman, shows up as the owner of The Egyptian. She talks about how everything has changed. The reveal of a past character sets in motion the story of “Batman Eternal”.
I don’t read a lot of other Batman titles, but I like to think that I have a good understanding of the greater Batman narrative. That said, this issue really confused me. Things that haven’t been mentioned in previous books happen. More things are referenced. I think that this may be all happening after DC’s brand wide event “Forever Evil” since that ends in about a month but the timing is still off. Regardless of this taking place in a post-“Forever Evil” world, the main Batman title is still months away from being set back in modern day. I mean, I’m excited but I’m just wondering, after “Eternal,” when is this all going to start affecting the main Batman titles?
The writing is still solid from Snyder, but it’s nice to see Dustin Nguyen back drawing Batman. I’ve liked his art on “Lil Gotham” and “Detective Comics” — seriously go check out “Heart of Hush;” great Batman story — and it features some great action scenes. I also really love Bluebird’s costume. A problem I had with the “New 52” was that a lot of the teen characters were wearing costumes that came from the 90’s in the worst way. But Bluebird’s costume feels modern while also not dating itself.
Next month, Batman is going back to “Zero Year.” But, I’ll be excited for “Batman Eternal” and what’s next for Bluebird.