Friday, February 21, 2014

She-Hulk #1

A third Marvel comic? Something's bound to break. I suppose it'll be my bank account and it'll happen when Ellis's Moon Knight and Soule's Inhuman comes out.

I suppose it's inevitable that a comic book fan eventually makes the switch between following loved characters to following the best writers. It's a sign of comic book readership maturity. When one is young and first finding their love of comic books, hating one of the Big Two while loving the other is merely a mode of survival. Perhaps you begin by picking up both a Spider-man and a Batman comic book. But eventually you realize these characters are part of a full world with its own history and cosmic events. While reading Spider-man, you may find you need to pick up a few issues of Avengers as he teams up with them. And then there might be a Secret War (or two. Or three. Or four) that you want (or need!) to experience in full. So you suddenly can't afford the Batman books you used to love and drop them in favor of more Marvel books. But something in a young person's mind doesn't allow for the sacrifice to be fully understood, so the child turns to hating DC and pointing out why it's not as good as Marvel. The economy of the situation does not make for good neighbors.

Yes, yes. I know. You were different! Blah blah blah. Whatever. I, too, never hated Marvel growing up. I just didn't read Marvel because I was pulled in by Crisis on Infinite Earths which caused an explosion of new titles in the DC Universe, plenty for me to pick and choose from and be satisfied with. Although it was Marvel that I remember reading first when my grandfather brought back a big box of Hulk and Nick Fury comic books from his jaunts to pick up newspapers for recycling. I had other comic books as well before Crisis: Disney, G.I. Joe, Masters of the Universe, Elfquest. But it wasn't until Crisis that I truly became a fan. So we're different, whatever. But we all know that the rift is there. We knew it even before the internet was a thing where you can't post about a DC character without some Marvel fan coming along and pointing out how the character is a shallow retooling of a Marvel character. Of course they never go deep enough to show how the older Marvel character was a clone of an older DC character who was a clone of an older Marvel character who was a clone of a...yeah, yeah. I could type that all day. Being that creators didn't own their characters, whenever one jumped ship from one of the Big Two to the Other, they'd just bring along the character they created but fancy it up a bit. And since the creators were jumping back and forth, why weren't the fans?

Well, some were. And when I say it's a bit of comic book readership maturity, I don't mean the reader has to mature over time. As I pointed out, none of you were ever jerks about the other company, right? Fucking deep soul searchers, you lot. Anyway, some maturity is reached whenever the reader realizes the characters are as fickle as the writer and artists behind them. There's no reason to keep reading Catwoman comic books as a fan of Catwoman when Ann Nocenti is writing her. Nocenti doesn't fucking get the character and she's not writing the character, so why follow that book just because it has Catwoman on the cover? That's the sign of a mature reader. Obviously you want Catwoman to be written well and want to love her even if she's hating on cats and refusing to steal jewelry anymore. But you move on and read something else while you wait for Ann Nocenti to be hit by a train. But the mature reader knows it's all about the writers. And so you follow writers. And, to the extent that you're more about the visuals than the writing (I know! Those fucking weirdos actually exist!), you follow artists. Hey, it's probably the only reason I picked up Steampunk even with its erratic schedule! Because I just fucking loved Bachalo's art.

I read comic books for a long time barely noticing who was writing or drawing them. It wasn't until some of my favorite characters were being written by the same people that I truly began to take notice. Seeing Giffen's name on Ambush Bug and Justice League. Alan Grant on Lobo and The Demon. Alan Moore on everything that was thought provoking. But during most of the nineties, I don't remember many writers going off from one of the Big Two to the Other. These were the Image years and the years of speculation and I just kept my head down and kept reading the DC titles that I really enjoyed. I began reading Cerebus somewhere in there. I think right around when the Phone Books began to be published. It wasn't until the late-nineties that a lot of my favorite writers were jumping ship to Marvel and I began picking up a lot of Marvel comic books.

Anyway, that was my long-winded and circuitous route to saying, "Right now, Charles Soule is a must read for me." I suppose I should pick up Thunderbolts as well. Fucking comic books. I may need a second job before long.

I don't think I've ever read a She-Hulk comic before so here goes my cherry.

She-Hulk, like her current writer, is an attorney in New York. And she's on her first adventure: end of the year review time!

It isn't going so well.

Being lawyers (lawyers that don't write comic books, that is!), She-Hulk's bosses are total jerks. They only hired her because she knows fat wallets like Tony Stark's wallet and Reed Richard's wallet and some guy named Danny Rand's wallet which might be Cropsey's wallet? I don't know! So She-Hulk Jen Walters quits because she wants her attorney abilities to be looked directly in the eye and not straight down the cleavage. Fuck them all!

That's one of my favorite phrases ever. "Fuck them all!" I wished I'd known it in Kindergarten so I could have screamed it as I flounced out of the room every time somebody used one of my crayons or ate my paste. Ate my paste is not a sexual euphemism, sicko perv fuck.

But before Jen quits and leaves for good, she destroys their $50,000 conference table by simply touching it with her index finger. I think this will probably result in a lawsuit!

Jen already finds a new job, lone gunman style!

The potential defendant of the potential lawsuit is Tony Stark.

By the way, what is all this Marvel Now! crap? Is Marvel numbering their comic books by the actual issue that's been out since the current volume of a title debuted and numbering by the story arc? If that's the case, I think that's a great idea so readers can easily identify jumping on points. Although I think the labeling of them with the gigantic #1 in the corner is a bit off putting and bordering on fraudulent! Now I'm a lawyer too! If it's not the case that that is what's going on with the numbering, then I don't have any other guesses. It's just weird.

She-Hulk has a brief meeting with a representative of Tony Stark, Legal.

She didn't say you were bad or good! You're just the worst! Legal is stupid.

The following battle scene between She-Hulk and her first foe, Legal, might be the most boring yet best battle scene ever! It also wasn't a battle and was a battle! It was neither bad nor good! Also nobody won or lost the battle because it was convened in a recess of summary judgment by the defendant's plaintive defense against the plaintiff's offense! In other words, it was a bunch of obfuscation by a bunch of lawyers doing that thing where the corporation they represent doesn't want to actually have a trial because fuck justice when you can just bankrupt the person you've already anally penetrated without their consent. That "without their consent" part is very important because anal penetration itself should not be viewed as a negative act. Not at all!

Jen does a little research and discovers some tape cassettes that contain the proof she needs to fuck Tony Stark in his ass without his consent! So she makes another trip to Stark Industries.

This fight tears up her clothes so we can see she wears purple underwear.

After beating up the robots with her fists, Jen beats up Tony Stark with her brain. I probably could have used "brawn" instead of "fists" in the first half of that sentence but too much symmetry and cliche in one's life makes one a dull boy. The part where she tells Tony what's going on in his life is really a nice moment which I'll leave to the people that actually purchased and/or torrented this book. The purple underwear must also be left to the imagination.

With her fee, Jen opens up her own little law firm. Yay!

Another winner by Charles Soule. This guy really knows how to write a well-paced comic book with snappy dialogue and interesting characters. Also any other positive review mumbo jumbo expressions that a reviewer would normally throw in. The art is cute and serviceable but neither good nor bad!

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