Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Single Green Female

Sometimes things don't work out the way you plan them.

Take this blog for instance.  July was going to be the month I really started cranking things out again.  Despite the lack of fresh reading material at my disposal, I still sit on an amassed wealth of stories that would make most large comic retailers green with envy.  Still, my best laid plans have faltered as summer has taken over in full force and reminded me that I'll be trapped in my basement with winter soon enough.  So I'm not blogging as much as I had intended.

I'm also not blogging about what I had intended.

I have topics I'm dying to keep working on, like the review of the contenders for the Top Story Ever vote, or all the different CrossGen series that I've been working my way through (I recently finished rereading The First, and intended to make it my next blog topic for a couple of reasons we'll touch on next time.) In the end though, I'm going to blog about something completely off the map.  Or rather, somebody. Her name is Jennifer Walters, but you probably know her best as She-Hulk.

I recently hit my local town library, where I dug through the dozens of graphic novels that they stock (somebody should really tell them to consult me before ordering!) and picked out a few that I hadn't read before.  At first I thought the winner in the assortment was going to be the Marvel Zombies series (the first three graphic novels were available) but on a whim I also decided to give Dan Slott's She-Hulk: Single Green Female a read.  I'm very glad I did.

Don't get me wrong.  This isn't the brilliant epic story that Planet Hulk was, nor is it the gripping look at Super-Heroism that I can find in Kingdom Come. It isn't even an edgy, dangerously offensive slap in the face like Wanted.  It's just a good, fun time that's well written and entertaining.  If you're not familiar with the She-Hulk, don't worry.  Aside from having read some pretty awesome runs of the Hulk, I can't tell you very much about what being green means, and I didn't need to know any of it to appreciate what Slott did in this story.  But here's what I learned:

Jennifer Walters was a law student, and the cousin of Bruce Banner.  She was an introvert academic, who through the type of circumstances that only Marvel can dream up, was infused with the same gamma radiation as her cousin, turning her into the She-Hulk.  That's where the similarities end though.  Shulk keeps her intelect while in Hulk form, and when our story picks up, she is embracing the brash, powerful extrovert that being green makes her. What Slott does is introduce us to a period in her life where fate and opportunity conspire to force introvert Jennifer out of the background and back into the real world making her see her worth not in terms of the color of her skin, but in terms of who she is.

Simple right?

But it's how he does it that I find so entertaining.  Jennifer is a lawyer, and she is hired to come and work for one of the world's leading law firms, who have established a new division in Super-Human law.  It is an emerging, undefined area of law that presents all manner of interesting challenges, and a terrific backdrop for a character story about Shulk. From a law suit in which a ghost is called as a witness in its own death, to suing the Daily Bugle on behalf of Spider-Man this backdrop is an entertaining and engaging medium for the examination of Jennifer's lack of confidence in how the world sees her (not Shulk....her.)

I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book.

More proof that the only thing that separates A level characters from B level characters are the writers?

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