Reviews of trade paperbacks of comic books (mostly Marvel), along with a few other semi-relevant comments / reviews.

06 June 2008

She-Hulk, v. 3: Time Trials

Collects: She-Hulk v. 2 #1-5 (2005-6)

Released: June 2006 (Marvel)

Format: 136 pages / color / $14.99 / ISBN: 0785117954

You can bet that any She-Hulk book with Dan Slott’s name on it will be gold.

Slott is the writer of She-Hulk, v. 3: Time Trials, the first TPB in the series’s new lease on life after cancellation. In Time Trials, She-Hulk deals with the changes caused by the big battle at the end of her previous series and repairing the damage Avengers writers Chuck Austen and Brian Michael Bendis inflicted upon the character.

She-Hulk, v. 3: Time Trials coverFor that reason alone, Time Trials should appeal to Marvel traditionalists. But also there’s not a hint of decompression here; each issue is packed with story, characterization, continuity, and gags.

The art for issues #1, 2, 5, and part of #3 is by Paul Pelletier. He’s an acquired taste, sparse on details and certainly short on glamour. But given the other artists on the “jam session” issue (#3) and Skott Collins’s work on #4, that’s not such a bad thing. Pelletier makes her look powerful and large without making her seem casually grotesque or a refugee from the ‘80s. (Or a very bizarre Amazonian pin-up girl, which is cover artist Greg Horn’s take.) Pelletier is adept at comedy, which is the most important aspect of an artist’s job when keeping up with Slott’s scripts.

In Time Trials, She-Hulk works a trial in which the jury pool has been pulled from the past. Among the veniremen is Hawkeye, whom She-Hulk knows was killed in Avengers: Disassembled. Her mucking with time gets her tried by the Time Variance Authority as an excuse for a big retrospective in an anniversary issue (again, #3). After that, she brings home an Avenger from time limbo and deals with her destruction of Bone, Idaho, while under the influence of one of the Scarlet Witch’s spells.

That doesn’t sound impressive, and Slott’s run on She-Hulk could be criticized as being too reactive to other storylines (the same can be said about Slott’s The Thing, v. 1: Idol of Millions). But there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with using past stories, no matter how bad, as springboards for future stories. In fact, it’s laudable in a shared universe, and given the nudge and wink Slott gives readers over the more absurd plots, it’s almost cathartic. Even besides the jokes, even Slott’s throwaway ideas are excellent: the Green Cross, for example, is an organization that cleans up the destruction caused by gamma-spawned creatures, founded by the man who dared Rick Jones onto the bomb range and cause the Hulk to be created in the first place.

As always, enjoyable.

Rating: Marvel logo Marvel logo Marvel logo Marvel logo Half of a Marvel logo(4.5 of 5)

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