13
Feb
2014
She-Hulk #1
Motion
Chris
She-Hulk #1
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Charles Soule
Penciler: Javier Pulido


The courtroom drama is a genre that has thrived on television and in the movies, so it only makes sense that comic publishers would try to put their own spin on it from time to time. While such books have met with varying critical success over the years, they never seem to last very long in the admittedly fickle comics market. However if the last year has taught us anything, it's that comics fans (superhero comics fans specifically) are looking to broaden their horizons and try something new. The time is right for the super hero comic legal drama to thrive, and Charles Soule and Javier Pullido are waiving in to make that happen.

When Jennifer Walters discovers that the law firm she's been working for the past year only hired her because of her personal connections to possible clients like Tony Stark and Reed Richards she quits and exits in a dramatic and hilarious fashion. However, Shulkie doesn't stay idle for long as her legal expertise is quickly retained by the widow of a super-villain who might have a legitimate case against Jen's friend and teammate Tony Stark.

As a title and a character She-Hulk has traditionally been associated with a comedic tone. There is an inherent and delightful absurdity to the idea of a 7 foot tall, green lawyer that lends itself perfectly to humor, but Soule plays Jennifer as the straight woman for most of this issue, an island of frustrated reason bombarded by waves of crazy. Soule's background as a lawyer gives authenticity to the legal conundrum Jen faces as well as the grounded methodology both sides bring to bear against each other. That isn't to say that the book is without action. Soule demonstrates that Jen's "Hulk Outs" are a precision laser to Bruce's fragmentation grenade, however his decision to keep most of these scenes off panel emphasizes that Jen's most formidable asset is her legal acumen, not her incredible strength.

Pulido's pencils are rich with detail and emotional nuances. It's the characters' facial cues and body language that sell the book's heart and humor. The reaction of the hologram receptionists to the word "lawsuit" is a particular bit of comedy gold. Additionally, Pulido shows an exceptional talent in bringing to life an impressive number of varying locales. Whether it is a lawyer bar, a courtroom, or an abandoned storage unit, Pulido litters the panel with objects and background characters that make each setting feel distinct and fully formed. Colorist Munsta Vicente has one of the most recognizable styles in comics, and adds his unique visual flair to She-Hulk #1 employing a vibrant, spectrum spanning palette to emphasize the book's playful and bright tone.

With a debut issue that emphasizes character and the inherent potential of this series, Soule and Pulido have carved out a welcome niche for themselves in the growing renaissance of Marvel's B and C list character revitalizations. She-Hulk #1 confidently takes its place alongside the likes of Hawkeye and The Superior Foes of Spider-Man as a book that mines the wonder, absurdity, and fun of the Marvel Universe by viewing it through a more grounded lens.

Grade: B+
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