Sunday, October 01, 2006

Book-A-Day #75 (9/30): She-Hulk, Vol. 2: Superhuman Law by Dan Slott and various artists

I spent a few hours yesterday reading the first hundred-or-so pages of a SF novel I was quite enjoying, but, one of the times I came up for air, I had to ask myself the dreaded question "But can I get SFBC members to buy it?" The honest answer was no, so it has to go on the shelf for later. So SFBC reading time moved on to something else, which I'll probably be able to specify in a few days (after I finish it).

But, to find something to finish yesterday, I reached over to the stack of comics and stuff (still very tall, but no longer threatening to fall over and kill me), and pulled out this collection of the second half of the 2004 She-Hulk comics series, and read it straight through. I read the first collection of this series back in April, and enjoyed it, though I liked the original artist (Juan Bobillo, who can do super-folks stuff but has his own light-hearted spin on it; I'm honestly thinking of looking up what else he's done and maybe buying it, which is just this side of unimaginable for a story guy like me) much better than the more generic folks who followed him. Bobillo is back for the first two issues (of six) in this book, and the pattern is the same: Bobillo is light and deft and humorous, the follow-up (Paul Pelletier) is completely professional but leadenly generic. The stories follow that pattern as well, so I suspect some higher-up at Marvel told the She-Hulk folks to get serious. I'm way out of the loop on mainstream comics, but it seems that the trend du jour is The New Seriousness, and that, this time -- unlike 1990 or so, the last time Grim 'n Gritty reared its ugly head -- all long-underwear comics are required to toe the line. This is a mistake, I think: She-Hulk is much better when she's not entirely serious. The last time I cared about her was John Byrne's series about a decade ago, which was similarly frivolous, and quite entertaining.

So I can't recommend this 100%: the beginning is fun, and in keeping with the tone of the first collection, but the second half veers badly, and shows signs of trying to paper over some stupid crossover or other. (I don't know if writers are allowed to do this anymore, but my advice on this subject is always: if you don't like what the crossover did to your character, just ignore the crossover entirely; no one will care in three months anyway and you'll save yourself lots of agida.) I still have Volume 3 on the to-be-read pile, so I hope it goes back to what it does well, and stops trying to be just another stupid slugfest.

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