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AICN COMICS Reviews: SHE-HULK! ETERNAL WARRIOR! PRISON PIT! HARLEY QUINN! TALES FROM THE MEAT GRINDER! THE MACHINE STOPS! & More!

The Pull List
(Click title to go directly to the review)

Advance Review: HARLEY QUINN #3
SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #27
Indie Jones presents PRISON PIT: BOOK FIVE
ETERNAL WARRIOR #6
Indie Jones presents TALES FROM THE MEAT GRINDER VOL.1
THE MERCENARY SEA #1
Indie Jones presents THE MACHINE STOPS #1
SHE-HULK #1


Advance Review: In stores this week!

HARLEY QUINN #3

Writers: Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti
Artist: Chad Hardin
Publisher: DC Comics
Reviewer: Optimous Douche


How you feel about this book will be reflected by how you feel about any ancillary character taking center stage. It’s hard to jump from sidekick to protagonist – dare I say impossible -- without fundamentally transforming the nature of the character. Some will call this transformation evolution, others will decry a bastardization of what made the character so damn loveable in the first place.

To be a protagonist or a central antagonist a character must be multi-faceted, especially when you are dealing with a serial medium, where an ancillary character or supporting cast can merely portray the obstacle or help needed by the primary antagonist or protagonist. I’m of two minds, because I have seen both the Jeffersons and the Ropers in the comic medium. I call Harley a Jefferson. I think she can support her own book given some new nuances fleshed out for the New 52 in books like SUICIDE SQUAD, whereas a book like RED LANTERNS is a Roper, a set of characters so literally one-note in emotion they become 2D cutouts when not trading blows with the Green Lantern Corps.

Now in SUICIDE SQUAD, she still was able to simply be a big bucket of crazy because that’s truly Amanda Waller’s book. However, as Ms. Quinn has received more stage time sans The Joker, we have seen the whispers of true feelings and a lament for the life she left behind as a therapist. It was a perfect set-up to give her life legs beyond simply being a puddin’ pusher.

Issue #0 rubbed a lot of folks the wrong way, and I can’t say I blame them. Not only did it break the fourth wall, it was really an insider’s view into comics. As each artist took over the page, the writers used Harley to take her personal pot shots at each. I dug the book, and not to sound like an egomaniac, but I am far from your average comic fan. If I didn’t interview, meet, break bread with and have these people as Twitter followers I would have taken a pass as well.

Don’t be put off by first impressions. This mastubatory form of storytelling began and died with issue #0. Issues #1 & #2 helped solidify Harley’s new life in Coney Island as landlady, thanks to the mysterious benefactor who gave her a building. Thus far her adventures have been campy, but what does one expect from a woman who bleached her skin to look like the Joker and has a talking stuffed beaver?

While there have been many guffaws from Conner and Palmiotti over the past two issues, this issue takes a sidestep from the fun antics to send us all a very special Valentine’s message. As most men know, it sucks. Harley, lamenting this truism, decides to join in the festivities anyway until she eats a berry off a plant left behind by Poison Ivy’s visit last issue. What ensues is “Love Potion No. 9” Harley style. Only this gal could get a bunch of horny inmates literally on her tail. Yeah, I know V-day issues can be trite, but thanks to Harley’s insanity this issue veers into tropes and then turns them on their head.

I’m a fan of this book in concept and execution, especially the artwork. Sweet Cupid, does Hardin do some beautiful work not only with the scenes, but Harley’s adorable puddum as well. In a book laced with sarcasm, facial expressions are just as vital as the words.

I know there are some decrying DC setting up an emo-verse for teenage girls because of this book and Joker’s Daughter. STOP! Harley is a far cry from the sullen bore-fest that is Joker’s Daughter. Harley is legitimately crazy; JD is simply a spoiled brat seeking attention from mommy and daddy.

Optimous Douche has successfully blackmailed BottleImp to draw purty pictures for his graphic novel AVERAGE JOE coming out in 2013 from COM.X. When not on Ain’t It Cool, Optimous can be found talking comics and marketing on robpatey.com and just marketing on MaaS360.com.


SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #27

Writer: Dan Slott
Art: Giuseppe Camuncoli (pencils), John Dell (inks)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Reviewer: The Kid Marvel


SUPERIOR SPIDERMAN #27.NOW is set 31 days from where issue 26 left off, with SpOck mentally backtracking to where he could have dropped the ball in all his superior methods of superheroing, leaving parts of New York to suffer for the villain turned hero’s arrogance. In some ways, this book should be there to humble Otto, yet in other ways the book would be no fun and uninteresting if Otto lost that cocky superiority that has made this book enjoyable, so screw humbleness.

The book quickly settles into where the story of the “Goblin Nation” arc is currently at; right from the get-go, sh*& hit the fan. Parts of the city are burning with goblin minions running wild, while SpOck is at a loss as to how this could have happened with all his surveillance. With the Superior Spider-Man finally realizing he’s been chasing the wrong goblins the entire time. It wasn’t the Hobgoblins but the Green Goblin, who as of now is assumed to be Norman, who’s been running the show the entire time. Meanwhile in the Spider-Man Mindscape, with parts of the original Peter Parker mind still lingering, ghost Peter is trying to traverse his way through the mind of Otto without him taking notice. During his travels, Peter realizes he only has 31 original memories left that Otto hasn’t completely wiped from his memory, so he must delve into Otto’s own memories to possibly salvage his own. Switching back to the physical world, SpOck eventually locates the Goblin secret lair with a little help from Uatu Jackson. After fixing up his Spider tech, Otto sets out to confront Green Goblin (who once again we believe is Norman but we can’t be sure) in his secret lair. This is the point where the story gets really interesting, setting up what looks like a really exciting Goblin Nation vs. Spiderman and Minions war, to conclude SUPERIOR SPIDERMAN #27.

SUPERIOR SPIDERMAN #27 is pretty solid across the board from writing to artwork, with no serious complaints to be made about this book in particular, with the only negatives being related to other SUPERIOR SPIDERMAN gripes not the issue itself, but I digress. In 2#7.NOW, we’ve got some big story reveals, some solid plot devices being established for future issues and seeing how SpOck has become too comfortable in his believed superiority.

Another pretty solid aspect is I actually really enjoyed all of the subplots that Slott used throughout the book. In particular, when Spider-Man sits down with the Green Goblin, it presented two of the biggest villains in the Spider-Man rogue’s gallery, in different roles then they both are historically. Also the conversation in general was a pretty solid piece of the story. My personal favorite was Green Goblin’s low blow to SpOck about why secret lairs are secret, making some old habits as a villain not such a bad idea in retrospect. Plus I think we’re getting another batch of J. Jonah Jameson Spider Slayers, and that’s always fun, right?

In the art department, the combined efforts of Camuncoli, Dell and Fabela fit the needs of SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN and mesh well with the flow of the story. The darker shading and shadows used in the book, combined with the brighter colors usually associated with Spider-Man, do an excellent job of keeping the sinister aspects of Ock present, while keeping the lighter upbeat side of Spider-Man alive. The art does a great job of mixing those darker and lighter tones into the story.

If you’re still on boycott until SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN ends and AMAZING SPIDER-MAN returns, I would recommend at least returning now to see how the two will connect with Peter’s return. I’ll admit I am not a fan of Slott. I was not a fan of how SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN was marketed or even certain aspects of the story. However, I’m mature enough to say the book has grown on me and does have a lot of positives to it, so I was wrong. SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN has actually been a really good series, and I’ll actually miss certain unique qualities about SpOck’s personality as a hero, but most importantly I’ll miss the suit. Conclusion being, just check out the book because it’s pretty good.


Indie Jones Presents!

PRISON PIT: BOOK FIVE

Writer: Johnny Ryan
Art: Johnny Ryan
Publisher: Fantagraphics Books
Reviewer: Ambush Bug


I’ve reviewed PRISON PIT before. You can read my review of PRISON PIT BOOK ONE waaaaay back in 2010 here. Then again, I reviewed PRISON PIT BOOK TWO here. Looks like I missed reviewing BOOK THREE, but I did cover PRISON PIT BOOK FOUR here, and got to meet the man behind the monster when I interviewed the enigmatic Johnny Ryan here at SDCC a few years ago. 2014 brings another insane installment of the fight scene that never ends, and while some books are great for introspection, deep meanings, thick themes, and subtle nuances, the reason why I love PRISON PIT is because it lacks all of that and seems to be proud of it.

PRISON PIT documents the arduous journey of a man-monster named Cannibal Fuckface as he donkey-punches his way across the universe fucking and killing anything that crosses his path--sometimes not in that order. Of course, with a name like Cannibal Fuckface, you have to expect that the guy lacks social skills, and those deficiencies are played out with gory glee as writer/artist Johnny Ryan lets this Tasmanian Devil of a monster loose on all sorts of aliens, bizarre landscapes, twisted mindscapes, and surreal dimensions.

I admire and am downright jealous of the way Ryan can channel the most base desires and urges--the stuff most people are too scared, civilized, or sane to grasp a hold of and unleash in the sequential scratchings that make up this book. Even the way Ryan draws his lines shows a hand that is channeling something purely animal and unhinged. Though some might read PRISON PIT and think that Ryan needs some kind of intensive therapy, I think Ryan is probably the sanest person out of all of us in that he gets all of the dark inner demons out of him and on the page. The devil on your shoulder screaming at folks in traffic? That’s Cannibal Fuckface. The urge to laugh when someone gets hit in the nuts? It’s ol’ Fuckface again. That temptation to smash in the face of the person talking annoyingly loud on their cell phone on the train? You know who…

BOOK FIVE opens with an evil Overlord injecting cat sperm into his arm and inquiring whether or not Cannibal Fuckface has been eliminated. When he finds out he hasn’t, the Overlord slices one of his minions in two with a wicked karate chop and calls to let loose the Holocaust Brothers on him. The rest of the issue has Cannibal Fuckface fighting an elfish demon who cannot die, discovers an idol which tells Fuckface to insert it into his urethra so that it’s safe, turns into a half crystal demon with a giant crystal penis sword, and finally has a bloody but brief battle with the Holocaust Brothers. All in all, a typical installment of PRISON PIT.

Did that last paragraph offend you? Do you feel the need to wash your hands and my mouth out with soap? Do you think stuff like this shouldn’t be printed and published for the masses? Well, I think you know what Cannibal Fuckface would tell you to do about that, though he would probably surprise you with into which orifice he tells you to stuff those opinions.

Not for everyone by a long shot, but I am glad that PRISON PIT exists and continues to be published no matter how guttural or deprived it gets. If you’re not afraid of walking through the mind of the darkest, most violent id, I double dare you to check out any issue of PRISON PIT. You’ll come out the other side a changed soul.

Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, original @$$Hole/wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of AICN COMICS for over 13 years & AICN HORROR for 4. Mark’s written THE TINGLERS & WITCHFINDER GENERAL, DEATHSPORT GAMES, NANNY & HANK (soon to be an Uptown 6 Films feature film), Zenescope’s GRIMM FAIRY TALES Vol.13, UNLEASHED: WEREWOLVES, and the critically acclaimed THE JUNGLE BOOK and its follow up THE JUNGLE BOOK: LAST OF THE SPECIES. FAMOUS MONSTERS’ LUNA: ORDER OF THE WEREWOLF (co-written with Martin Fisher) will be available soon in trade. Mark wrote/provided art for a chapter in Black Mask Studios’ OCCUPY COMICS. Follow Ambush Bug on the Twitters @Mark_L_Miller.


ETERNAL WARRIOR #6

Writer: Greg Pak
Artist: Robert Gill
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Reviewer: Corey Michael Dalton


Last time I checked in with ETERNAL WARRIOR was with the series' debut issue. That issue started 6000 years in the past and ended in what I assumed was the present day. Issue #6 takes place entirely in a post-apocalyptic future (4001 A.D., to be exact). I don't know why this surprised me. The series' hero, Gilad Anni-Padda, is immortal, after all, which means Greg Pak and company can tell stories about him in whatever time period they choose. Nevertheless, it did surprise me—and surprise is a good thing when it comes to storytelling and holding my interest.

So what's Gilad doing in the year 4001 A.D.? Wandering the bombed-out landscape looking for a safe haven for his granddaughter, Caroline, and himself (their previous village was destroyed when a nuclear-powered robot exploded, poisoning the townsfolk with radiation.) At the start of the issue they arrive at a city called Big Town, which appears to have an economy based on the slave trade. When Gilad is almost immediately unable to control himself and kills Big Town's leather-faced Boss, he is appointed the town's new leader, a mantle he does not want to assume. He's not above using his newfound respect to get a closer look at some robots just like the one that blew up his previous village, however, meeting the tinkerer who built the robots in the process. The tinkerer gives Gilad a tour of his facility—including the functioning (but unprotected) nuclear device at its center. Realizing that the townspeople have all been exposed to lethal doses of radiation, Gilad decides to leave. Then he notices the blood running from Caroline's nose, the telltale sign of radiation poisoning. Looking into her big brown eyes, he can't help but promise to save everyone in the town. Ahhhh …too bad Gilad’s promise is most likely an empty one.

The deadly warrior traveling with a child has a long history in comics—from LONE WOLF AND CUB all the way to Pak's own work on HERCULES with Amadeus Cho as Herc's sidekick—and the enjoyable Gilad/Caroline relationship continues that tradition. Even though Caroline is just a little kid, Gilad asks her for her advice before making major decisions (such as chopping people's heads off). Perhaps he feels his bloodlust needs tempering by her innocence, or perhaps it's his way of tutoring her on moral issues. Either way, it makes for an interesting dynamic. He clearly loves and admires Caroline, which makes the realization at the end of the issue that she has radiation poisoning all the more heartbreaking. The other characters in the story mainly come off as stock characters (the cruel slavedriver, the absent-minded tinkerer, etc.), but that's OK. This issue was all about Gilad and Caroline, and in that respect, it accomplished its goal admirably.

The first issue featured Trevor Hairsine art, which I loved. The current penciler, Robert Gill, does good work here, although there aren't any particularly memorable visuals in this issue. Drawing a post-apocalyptic landscape must be a thankless task, though—all those bits of rubble and drab peasants. Sometimes characters’ faces seemed rubbery or misshapen, and backgrounds were often lacking in details. The giant killer robots also had a rather rounded, unintimidating design that reminded me of Scud, the disposable assassin. I did like the design for The Boss, however; his mask of skin was quite creepy.

Overall, I've been impressed with Valiant's comic output, and this issue of ETERNAL WARRIOR reinforces that opinion. If a series can go from 6000 years in the past to 2000 years in the future in just six issues, I'm intrigued to see where it's going to go next. I'll be back for issue #7 to see if Gilad can pull Caroline's fat out of the nuclear fire!

Corey Michael Dalton has written and/or edited trade books, magazine articles, short stories, novels, comics, plays, review, websites, blogs, and more. You name it, he's probably written it. Except religious scriptures. He hasn't gotten around to those just yet.


Indie Jones Presents:

TALES FROM THE MEAT GRINDER #1

Writer & Artist: Dan Hodgepodge
Publisher: Dan Hodgepodge
Reviewer: Optimous Douche


I recently posted an article on LinkedIn entitled “Why Your Comic Book Kickstarter Sucks & 6 Ways to Fix It!’ About seven minutes later my inbox was flooded with requests for indie reviews.

I’ll be honest; I’m not going to review all of them. A good portion weren’t very good, and completely ignored either my Kickstarter advice or the thousands of other articles I’ve authored on the anatomy of a good comic. Since the chances are slim any of you will stumble across these vanity projects, we’ll let these people keep their dreams for yet another day. Now, even though TALES FROM THE MEAT GRINDER is one of the most misleading titles I received, it is getting reviewed because it is definitely the wheat and not the chaff.

Welcome to Fexus, a city best described as New York meets Middle Earth. In the MEAT GRINDER reality, civilization never lost its magical mojo. In fact, humans, dark elves and dwarves all comingle in relative harmony. Magic fills the air in Fexus and is wielded with equal aplomb by good guys and bad guys alike.

Mary Mourning is one of those good gal anti-hero types. Imbued with magic and slutty goth style sensibilities, Mary is a contractor who helps local constables like the Dark Elves solve the cases that no normal potion peddler can handle.

Hodgepodge has created something truly special here, with caste systems and a living history to back up the here and now of the story. Beyond the world, he has a panache for mystery and dialog to boot. I’ll admit there’s a pervasive snarkiness of voice that would be best left solely to Mary, but it wasn’t so egregious it became distracting. I would simply encourage Dan to remember this chief complaint against the likes of Bendis and adjust accordingly.

Purists are going to get assed up about the art since it is a completely CG affair, but as an avid gamer it didn’t bother me once. I honestly thought it looked really really good. My only suggestion, again, is to spend some more time on the eyes. Mary is too lively a character to possess that famed digital deadeye. Again, it didn’t bother me since that’s the expression most women get when I’m talking, but for others it might be noticeable.

Magic books seem to be a dying breed as everyone runs from creating possible Harry Potter pastiches or aping branded comics that cross over from RPGs; thankfully Hodepodge is not amongst the afraid.


THE MERCENARY SEA #1

Writer: Kel Symons
Artist: Matthew Reynolds
Publisher: Image Comics
Reviewer: MajinFu


Here is a book that wears its influences with pride. A pulpy, Doc Savage-esque team of misfit adventurers? Check. Spear-wielding indigenous peoples looming ominously in the shadows? Check. Hell, there’s a panel displaying the protagonist Jack’s reading material for the voyage that might as well be creative resources for this book’s author! Are you a fan of 1930’s cinema? Kel Symons is, and he will take every opportunity to let you know with a nod of admiration to everything from “Duck Soup” to Busby Berkeley musicals. So if you like King Kong, Jules Verne, or just good old-fashioned ‘venture yarns, definitely consider picking this one up and taking a gander.

The art is reminiscent of those Flash cartoons that were so popular a decade ago, albeit much better looking than a majority of its predecessors. You can almost imagine the paper doll-like animation that awaited these characters had the story been turned into a television pilot. The compositions and layouts of the pages could be looser to lend more of a sense of flow to the story, but this is otherwise a very good-looking book, with great use of color to produce one evocative scene after the next. Reynolds sets the tone and establishes the mood of each scene perfectly, utilizing minimal details for maximum storytelling. The use of silhouettes became so frequent it was almost satirical, but if I didn’t know any better that would seem purposeful. Let your eyes pore over these pages and then close your eyes. You can practically hear the soundtrack to the old “Johnny Quest” cartoon, which is a definite positive in my book.

Oh and the story? You’ve seen it before. Square-jawed Jack leads his band of marginalized outsiders in pursuit of the unknown while the second Sino-Japanese War wages in the background. The cast is an eclectic group including the doctor with a dirty past, the tomboy who can read an engine like an open book, and the French dairy-fetishist. Okay, maybe that last one is new but the bottom line is although these are well-trodden archetypes, they are well-established and entertaining to read about. As for that Nick Fury rip-off, the less said about him the better but he has the backstory for every one of Jack’s crew so clearly holds some veiled motivation to return later and force the group into some other unenviable situation. This story is treading a beaten path, but it still has enough good stuff here to get me looking forward to the next issue.

So while THE MERCENARY SEA is not entirely original, there’s something to be said for an old story that is retold well. Symons is clearly laying the groundwork for multiple plot threads including hints of (presumably) a giant monster island, or “Koji Ra” which is generally enough to pique the interest of any old salty dog, while Reynolds’ style is perfectly suited to the pulpy roots from which this comic draws clear inspiration. Appreciating a bygone era is fine and dandy, but recreating the magic of said olden days for a new generation is even better.


Indie Jones presents!

THE MACHINE STOPS #1

Writer: Michael Lent (based on a short story by E.M. Forster)
Art: Marc Rene
Publisher: Alterna Comics
Reviewer: Ambush Bug


This adaptation of a sci fi story by E.M. Forster (best known for his period dramas such as A ROOM WITH A VIEW, A PASSAGE TO INDIA, and HOWARD’S END) tells the tale of a future civilization where humans have retreated to live underground in their own secluded life pods, interacting with others only through a system called The Machine. The somewhat prolific tale (written in 1904) focuses on a rebel wanting more from life and trying to break free from this solitary existence. As described in the forward, writer Michael Lent recognized how this premise seems to be coming true in this modern age of computer addiction and identity, where it is increasingly less necessary for people to leave their own homes and interact with the real world, when the appeal of the online world is so much more handy and less work. Lent calls this book a passion project, as it is a story he has been pondering for quite a while.

The result is truly breathtaking. Michael Lent has latched onto a story and boiled out the basic elements to make it so reflective of where we may be headed with our propensity to use machinery and quick fixes to all of our problems. Lent’s world is filled with people who would rather hide away in a controlled environment than experience the world and all of its wonders. By following a woman named Vashti and her son Kuno, we experience just how shut off society is from one another. Kuno comes to Vashti with a request for her to visit him, but Vashti hesitates as she hasn’t seen him in person since birth. The story then flits to the past, where Kuno is taken from her moments after birth and we are guided along the process of how people come to grow up in a pod of their own, interacting via holograms which can be adjusted to look thinner, with different backgrounds and such. With the use of Skype and FaceTime we aren’t that far away from this technology, and the similarities between this futuristic world and the world we live in grew exponentially the longer I stayed in the world of THE MACHINE STOPS.

The art by Marc Rene is absolutely fantastic. Reminiscent of Jae Lee and Andrea Sorentino, Rene makes these black and white pages rich with tones and textures. The fluid shapes of the machinery are reminiscent of THE MATRIX’s designs, but distinct enough to be wholly his. Rene does a fantastic job of balancing lights and darks on every page, using unconventional panels and sometimes forgetting panels altogether and letting the scenes just blend into one another. Despite the lack of color and the surreal quality of the art, I never once lost my footing in this sumptuous world Rene has created around this mechanically addled culture.

Ingeniously written and fantastically realized, THE MACHINE STOPS #1 does a great job of introducing us to a world not that unlike our own. It is a fantastically cautionary tale that might make you think twice the next time you decide to veg out in front of your television instead of going out into the real world. This indie book needs to be read by as many people as possible, and here’s hoping for good things for THE MACHINE STOPS and the talented team behind this project.


SHE-HULK #1

Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Javier Pulido
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Reviewed by Humphrey Lee


I listen to far too many podcasts featuring far too many comedians to not have it imbedded into my skull by now that comedy is hard. Hell, I can barely come up with two bits a week in this here space that are chuckle-worthy and aren’t a dick joke or something self-deprecating (and usually a combo meal of the two). So telling me comedy is hard is like telling me taking a whiz on an electric fence ends in mild discomfort. Now, all of that is not to say I think of a SHE-HULK book as a purely comedic comic like is expected of a DEADPOOL run or whatnot, but given my previous experiences reading them (i.e. the Dan Slott days and a fistful of the classic Byrne run) the precedent set is that, whether it be by the absurdity of the events occurring with or around the Sensational Ms. Walters or the colorful cast of characters she’s usually surrounded by, a moderate amount of chuckles is expected therein. Transition this into human quasar Charles Soule, who as long as I’ve been following him I’ve never really thought of as a comedy writer, but as a creator with a pretty solid knack of coming up with the absurd and unique, making this a team up of creator and character that piqued my interest as soon as I saw it announced.

Oh, yeah, and the motherfucker is a lawyer as well. Bad enough the man has the uncanny ability to knock out a script in the time I take my morning twosie (in my defense, I lift a lot of weights and thereby eat a large chunk of protein) but he also practices a profession that basically brags “neiner neiner, I’m smarter than you” as soon as it’s announced (knowledge of which it would have been nice have had previously, as it relates to my bachelor party). Obviously, this is relevant because it brings some real world experience and flavor to Shulkie’s reality as, based on what I saw with this debut, this is a very HAWKEYE take on a secondary tier superhero character shaking their life up a bit and putting a renewed emphasis on their time outside of the tights and fights. Shenanigans still ensue and will continue to, of course, but being able to play up the absurdity that happens inside the courtroom as well as what happens to Shulkie in her fighter’s gear puts a double whammy in play on ridiculous situations for the green girl to get into. There’s a lot of that old jazz of reality being stranger than fiction in play here, and they both meld together very nicely.

This brand new number one really plays itself out well and hits all those notes I’ve built up so far just right. We start off with ol’ Green Jeans basking in the glow of being a practicing attorney at a big firm and then moving right into drinking fingers of scotch in a lawyer bar trying to figure out what to do next after her one year reviewing with some haughty dipshits of a Gregg Easterbrook level goes completely sour. At the bar she happens upon Holly Harrow, the widow of your typical megalomaniacal inventor villain who actually looks to have a patent case against Stark Industries as he had designs that led into repulsor technology and there were some acquisitions and subsidiaries and lawyer lawyer lawyer, shenanigans indeed ensue. While there is some brief moments of (mostly off-screen) robot-smashing fisticuffs within the book, most of Shulkie’s sparring comes against some creepy little bastard on the Stark legal payroll that promises to gum up with works with every little trick and staunch adherence to legal process he can muster. Basically, everything you would expect from every stereotypical corporate lawyer you figure to have screwed someone out of a cut on a broken contract or weaseled out of a blatant liability and so on, which is - almost sadly because of how close to home it hits - where most of the surreal and exasperated humor comes from.

Like I said before, it all plays out extremely well. It’s more a transition point in the life of Jennifer Walters than it is of She-Hulk, as it’s her non-superhero life that she is reflecting on and building back up from the ground skyward. And it’s a good sign of things to come, as it shows that Soule is apt to use Shulkie’s legal prowess to interact with her alter-ego’s lifestyle in interesting ways but with a certain grounding, hence my reference to the current HAWKEYE run which is setting the standard in that regard. And that’s a great thing. The best superhero-related books out there are the ones that revel in the high fantasy the genre brings but make sure they draw in the audience with relatable circumstances, and there’s nothing more relatable than needing that fresh start.

On the other half of the creative tandem, Javier Pulido was a great grab here. Given all that I just said about the angle of this book being relatability with smackings of the absurd, an expressive hand in a cartoonish style to render it all is a perfect match and exactly what Pulido brings to the table. Much like he was doing with Kate Bishop in his HAWKEYE contributions, he brings a sassiness to the character in her body motions and facial expressions and a bit of exaggeration to the “what the hell” moments to fully sell them. It just all comes together delightfully. Soule puts out a fun and breezy and confident script, and Pulido brings it to life with his trademark look. I know in the birthing process it probably didn’t come together anywhere near as simply as it looks, and I have a feeling that means we’re in for some really special stuff to come, as this book seems like the perfect vehicle for what these gents each bring to the table (or in this case, bench) with their talents and experiences. It’s witty and grounded and packs a few literal and figurative punches. Out of the recent coronation of Soule as the busiest man in the business, I believe SHE-HULK is going to be the real crown jewel. Cheers…

Humphrey Lee has been an avid comic book reader going on fifteen years now and a contributor to Ain't It Cool comics for quite a few as well. In fact, reading comics is about all he does in his free time and where all the money from his day job wages goes to - funding his comic book habit so he can talk about them to you, our loyal readers (lucky you). He's a bit of a social networking whore, so you can find him all over the Interwebs on sites like Twitter, Facebookand a blog where he also mostly talks about comics with his free time because he hasn't the slightest semblance of a life. Sad but true, and he gladly encourages you to add, read, and comment as you will.


Editing, compiling, imaging, coding, logos & cat-wrangling by Ambush Bug
Proofs, co-edits & common sense provided by Sleazy G

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