She-Hulk Volume Four #10 & #11

“I Married a Man-Wolf”
“Six Shots to the Heart”

With She-Hulk issues 10 and 11, we’re on the road to recovery – both from Civil War, and from Jen’s ill-advised love affair with and marriage to John Jameson. So far the “I Married a Man-Wolf” saga has been satisfying, if not quite as sparkling and fun as earlier story arcs.

One confusion point with the story’s continuity is the question of where Two-Gun Kid’s summer one-shot fits into all this. It detailed, amid flashbacks, Jen and Matt’s tracking of JJJ, and ended with the Kid putting a silver bullet or so into our lupine former astronaut. It was also published three months before Jen and John even got married in the regular monthly title, which was additionally confusing. I guess that makes it so much the better that Slott wrote the She-Hulk issues so that nothing seemed to be missing if you didn’t read the one-shot.

Greg Horn’s covers for this arc are his best to date. They’re still not the action-shots that used to be the Marvel style. (whereas the ‘concept’ shot was DC’s – stuff like Superman, sitting in a barber’s chair, getting his head shaved and thinking, “I knew I shouldn’t have bet on the Super-Bowl against Luthor…” Okay, that never happened, but you get the idea.) The fifties-horror poster for number 10 – complete with folds! — and the American Gothic takeoff for number 11, certainly add a whimsical touch to an otherwise dark and dreary chapter in Marvel history.

Burchett’s penciling style is working nicely for this book. I liked Bobillo’s cartoony work, but, for this story especially, more of a John Byrne fusion of cartoon and realism is called for. I have to say I prefer Nelson’s inks to Rathburn’s over his pencils. They both look good, but Nelson’s heavier lines give the book a more defined, finished look.

Issue 10 begins with a guest appearance by Hellcat. Huzzah! She’s been missed, and bringing out the “whatever happened to” set had been this book’s stock in trade. Then it gets spoiled by having Jen sign Patsy up for the Super-Hero Registration Act, and Patsy blithely agreeing. Sorry, but Steve Englehart’s Patsy would’ve blown a gasket. This just reminds me that Civil War is mostly just a piece of characterization rape, and dulls the shine of an otherwise pleasant cameo.
We get Awesome Andy teaching morals to Mallory in this issue, which is a nice touch. We see Pug doing some decent investigative work, following up the Eros case, and continuing his quest to prove that Jen doesn’t really love JJ.
A really fun touch is provided by Stu and the boys in the comic archives in this issue. In a recent review I complained that the editors’ footnotes referred to this current She-Hulk series as volume two, and I accused Marvel of trying to forget the twentieth century. I don’t flatter myself that Dan Slott or his editors noticed my complaint, but Stu answers it in this issue, explaining that the first two She-Hulk series were “The Savage She-Hulk” and “The Sensational She-Hulk,” and thus weren’t volumes of the same series. It’s silly and geeky and goes on for far longer than anyone but an aging comics fan could pay attention, but the argument works brilliantly into the plot of the story, leading to a big reveal (and a big damn death ™) at the end of the issue. Although I don’t buy it, one can only salute the author.

And then one can only yell, “You b______, you killed ___!”

Issue 11 is a lot of a “Big, Blazing, Battle Ish!” with Jen trying to restrain her husband, and Matt trying to kill him and prevent Pug, who got bit, turning into a werewolf. (Jury’s still out on whether Pug will become a werewolf, as the killingdoesn’t take, but doesn’t take for other-worldly reasons.)

We do get the reveal here that Jen has been under the influence and does not love JJ. Whose influence she’s been under is the question, and the answer is delightfully not an obvious one. It does leave a favorite supporting character extremely sad, however. Who says this isn’t the Marvel Age of Stan-Lee-inspired angst?

It’s nice to see Dr. Jane Foster again. I don’t think nurses become doctors in real life as often as they seem to in fiction, but still…

Next issue looks to wrap the story arc, the first year of She-Hulk volume 2/4 (take that, Stu!), and Jen and JJ’s marriage. I hope it doesn’t also wrap the series again. But time will tell.

She-Hulk, Volume Four, Issue Six

Rating: 4.0
Writer: Dan Slott
Pencils: Rick Burchett
Inks: Nelson, Cliff Rathburn
Colors: Avalon Studios’ Dave Kemp
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Asst Editors: Lazer & Stitterson
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Editor-in-Chief: Joe Quesada
Publisher: Dan Buckley
OCT/NOV 2006
Rated T+
Covers by Greg Horn

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