5249e5f40994fby Michael Brown, staff writer

Ever since California girl and attorney Jennifer Walters took that blood transfusion from her cousin Bruce Banner, her exploits as the Sensational and sometimes Savage She-Hulk have been varied and numerous, good and bad. She had her first series in the early 1980s; a lifelong Avenger; an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., a brief stint in the Fantastic Four after Ben Grimm stayed behind on Battleworld after the Secret Wars. She was the star in a groundbreaking series written by John Byrne where she broke the fourth wall and she was able to talk to her readers, knowing she was a comic-book character. In a more recent, moderately successful solo series written by Dan Slott and Peter David, the comedy divided the action.

Now, the Jade Giantess has returned in the new, simply-titled She Hulk. In this first issue of the series written by Charles Soule,  Jennifer sets up her own practice after being told that she was only given her position at her previous firm because of who she knows. Her first solo case involves a mild-mannered woman’s lawsuit against Tony Stark regarding a stolen tech design. And Aggravated She-Hulk is just as much fun as Super-Villain Punching She-Hulk. There is a fantastic and hilarious scene where she’s tricked into seeing the head of Tony Stark’s legal department … a phrase I use loosely in this case. The droning legalese used by Legal in the scene made me do some research on Soule, where I discovered he was a lawyer in addition to being a comic-book writer. And using that legal knowhow in writing Jennifer as a lawyer hopefully means that we’ll get to see some accurate Jennifer Walters lawyering in Jennifer Walters style.

My only complaint is the art, which may grow on me in time. But I am the type of comic reader for whom the story can trump the art in some cases. But with comics being a visual medium, the art had better not be awful. Javier Pulido’s art is so strikingly similar to Mike Allred (Madman, X-Force, FF) it’s uncanny. I am just not a fan of Mike Allred, and I’m sure I’m in the minority on that one.  That was the only thing that held me back about reading this book. But being a She-Hulk fan, I took the plunge and I was able to enjoy it, in spite of the cartoony, almost surreal, artwork. I will confess my eyes adjusted and I was able to cope by the end of the book.

From what I have read about this series and talking to other comics fans, Soule intends to write the series like a TV series, in 12-issue story arcs with a “filler episode” and some “to be continued” episodes tossed in along the way. Speaking as a fan of a good serial, that’s just one more high point for the book. One plot in the “first season” concerns a potentially damaging file that Jen has stumbled onto before the series begins, which could be harmful to some high-profile people in the Marvel Universe. Between that and promised guest appearances from all across the Marvel Universe, She-Hulk looks like it could be a contender in a time where Marvel fans will see the launch of three new X-titles, the return of Moon Knight, the New Warriors, and the highly anticipated  return of one Peter Parker.  Marvel NOW seems to be working. Here’s hoping She-Hulk can be as good LATER as it is NOW.

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