If it seems like I’ve been on a comics kick recently, that’d be because I totally am. I can’t bring myself to really be sorry about it, because the fact that I’m able to keep writing posts about them means there is no shortage of awesome feminist comics on the market.
Basically: a day may come when my list of awesome lady-led comics is exhausted, but today is not that day.
On today’s docket we have the recently relaunched She-Hulk title, which follows the titular Jennifer Walters as she argues with attorneys and punches robots in equal measure.
Jennifer Walters is, as the first page of the first issue explains, a lawyer and Bruce Banner’s cousin. She received her powers when, in an emergency, she was given a blood transfusion from Bruce. The gamma radiation it contained allowed her to transform into a giant green brawler, but, unlike Bruce, she is able to maintain her full intelligence while in that form and change at will. She’s previously been a member of the Avengers and the Fantastic Four (she filled in for the original Four in last year’s FF) and she’s also currently in Mighty Avengers, mostly as the Mighty Avengers’ legal advisor.
The first issue begins with Jen angrily quitting her job at a big-name law firm after discovering that her bosses wanted her there more for her ability to refer her superhero friends to their services than any attorneying skills she had. She strikes out on her own and decides to open her own office, since her bills aren’t paying themselves. So far she’s taken jobs that vary from beating up Tony Stark’s legal department (they’re automated, so it wasn’t actually Tony’s fault) to helping Doctor Doom’s son get political asylum. In the meantime, she still gets her Hulk on with regularity, whether she’s busting up an AIM hideout with her friend Hellcat or defending her new client from his dad’s Doombots.
She-Hulk is written by Charles Soule, and he was the perfect choice for Jen for one specific reason: he is a lawyer himself. Because of this, he is already comfortable and familiar with what it’s like to deal with legal departments and wrangle agreements and deals out of people and all the lawyery stuff that I would have to do months of research (or get a law degree) to be able to present in a believable way—and he does a great job of presenting the lawyer-y-ness so that it’s not alienating to people without a juris doctor.
The interior art of the comic, done by Javier Pulido with colors by Muntsa Vicente, is bright and dynamic, but it does suffer from what I’ve just decided to call Return to Labyrinth syndrome: the covers are done by a different artist, Kevin Wada, who has a dramatically different and much softer, more watercolor-y style. This makes the actual comic, even if its art is perfectly good, look a little cartoonish in comparison. However, it’s fun, colorful, and never creepy or objectifying, and it’s definitely grown on me over the course of the story.
The one thing that I’m not sure how I feel about so far is the portrayal of Jen’s new office assistant, Angie Huang. As an older, overweight Asian woman with no apparent superpowers, Angie is unlike most if not all Asian characters in comics these days, but… she’s also really weird. Like, bringing her pet monkey to interviews weird. And I’m getting a strong vibe that she is probably a little bit evil, or at least has some sort of insidious ability to manipulate others. She also first appears reading a book in Japanese which, after a little kanji lookup, turns out is called “Handbook of Magic”. I’m not saying a lady with a Chinese last name can’t read in Japanese… I just hope that’s the case rather than “this looks like Asian text, let’s put it on the book”. There are only three issues out, however, so I’m going to wait and see how Angie develops a little more before I make any major judgments about her character.
If anything I’ve said here sounds interesting to you, I suggest you get yourself to a comic store ASAP and pick up this awesome series! The fourth issue comes out tomorrow, so you’re just in time for the next part in Jen’s story.