(Marvel. Charles Soule, Javier Pulido, Munsta Vicente)
If you need an example of the current state of Marvel Comics, you need look no further than She-Hulk #1. It follows the current trend of showing the audience an intimate look at the life of their favourite superheroes when they’re busy not being superheroes. I say following a trend in the loosest possible sense, because every one of the books that could be on that list (Hawkeye most successfully, and Black Widow more recently) are so unique as to almost defy classification.
Enough about what this means for the wider world though, let’s do what the book itself does and look closer at Jen Walters. This inaugural issue picks up her life as she goes through what starts off as a normal day, but quickly changes into one much more significant for Shulky; from a heated “you can’t fire me I quit” moment (don’t worry, there’s nowhere near as cliche a line as that in here) through an at times frustrating case (for Jen anyway) involving the estate of a deceased D-list villain (something for the history buffs there), a courtroom runaround, a killer robot and – hardest of all – Tony Starks legal department. Here’s where the real joy for me lay. The scene on the eighteenth floor made me chuckle, where Tony’s legal aid – or should I say Charles Soule – attempts to recant the entire murky history of Stark Enterprises/Industries/Resilient/WHATever. It’s genius, for no more reason than I simply didn’t think it could be done. But it says something that it took someone with a real life law degree to wrestle that particular continuity beast, and the end result was a delight. Evan that battlefield is more approachable than the stoic Legal however (“I am neither bad nor good. I am simply legal”).
The story wraps up nicely and sets Jen up on a new path, while simultaneously enticing us back for more. It would be easy to compare this to the recent changes happening in Daredevil, and indeed that series as a whole, but while the spirit is the same, the brilliant uniqueness of Soule’s Walters clearly sets it apart.
What Charles Soule does is not only breathe new life into She-Hulk but instantly makes her relatable, interesting and real. And Javier Pulido’s work has never been more engaging. The expressions are a particular joy, with Jen’s look of smug satisfaction as she leaves Iron Man’s office being a real highlight. It would be a disservice to omit the talent of Munsta Vicente also who brings each page alive with a wonderfully bright palette (and Jen’s underpants being that familiar shade of purple was a great idea too, if only seen in the briefest of flashes).
It’s the first time I’m eager to read what’s next for Bruce Banner’s cousin; as the end of the issue begins a brand new chapter for the title character, I’m eager to follow her and see what’ll happen on the next average day in the life of She-Hulk.
A must-read. The future of Marvel is in safe hands with books like this; a genuinely unique and likeable lead, ably crafted by an excellent team, means I can’t wait for issue 2.