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Here’s a Little Ditty, About Jack and Jen, He’s Got A Heart On His Face, And She’s 6 Foot Ten.

By Michael Keskeys Hello friends, and fellow She-Hulk fans, we are back once again to discuss the latest issue of “She-Hulk” by Rainbow Rowell, Rico Renzi, and Roge Antonio. I’m so glad to have recently heard from the writer herself on Facebook that the series is ongoing, and not just a limited series as some of the solicits have suggested, which is fantastic news, as this is a character that deserves to have an ongoing series as much as any other Marvel character, especially as we have our Shulkie back again after a recent stint of being just a green (and briefly red, rage monster) This issue picks up where we left off last time, Jen’s off to work, where she runs into a former co-worker from the Dan Slott run, which I legit cheered when I saw their return, and we get some brief work-related humor as Jen goes through her rolodex of super friends to find some work and we get some great interaction with Jen and her Fantastic Four teammate Ben Grimm. We also get some more on Jack of Heart

Review: She-Hulk And The Art Of Reinventing Yourself

She-Hulk And The Art Of Reinventing Yourself

A Review of She-Hulk Issue 1 by writer Rainbow Rowell, Artist Roge Antonio, Color Artist Rico Renzi, and Letterer VC’s Joe Caramagna 

by Michael Keskeys

As a kid in the ’80s and 90’s, I used to buy comic books every week. Each Saturday, we would get taken down to our local comic shop and pick up a handful of books. I usually gravitated towards the X-Men books and my brother the Spider-Man series, and we would trade off after we had finished reading our own, and that’s how we got to read twice as many comics as we would have been able to any other way.

As time went on, comic books got less popular with the kids in America, and comic book shop owners had to reinvent themselves to stay afloat. Many did this by going in other directions, collectible card games, tournaments, and Manga/Anime were in style, and comic book shop owners had to reinvent what they were to stay afloat.

It’s a lot like life; people are rarely just one thing anymore. I suppose they never were, but it feels like so many times in life, where you start and end up are often two very different places. Life happens, things don’t work out, and you have to find yourself at square one, with just a briefcase in your hands, and you have to ask yourself, “What’s next?”

This is where we find Jennifer Walters, our Sensational She-Hulk, at the start of this issue. She’s had a rough go of it the last few years (or however long it’s been in Marvel Time), but you don’t need to know any of what her drama was before this to get into this newly relaunched series by writer Rainbow Rowell (“Runaways,” “Fangirl”) All you need to know is she’s Jennifer Walters, lawyer by day, superhero…also by day, and she’s just trying to get her life back on track. She says, “I hate starting over. I was supposed to be farther along by now. I was supposed to have something to show for myself.” And in just that introduction alone, I can relate to her more than I’ve been able to most other fictional characters in a long time.

It’s not just Jen that’s trying to figure out where to go from here, as she finds out when she runs into her long time nemesis, Mary “Titania” Macpherran, who isn’t so much a supervillain anymore these days (as seen most recently in “Immortal Hulk”) who wants to pick a fight with her just because it’s the little game they play with each other.

I loved this opening scene as Rainbow Rowell stages this epic fight, which looks fantastic thanks to the artist Roge Antonio and the color artist Rico Renzi) but it’s also just about these two women, who have fought each other for years and are as basically as close as anyone could be, checking in on each other in their own twisted way. It shows that both are at turning points in their lives, neither just wanting to be what they were before, but just going for whatever is next, day by day.

The rest of the issue introduces us to our other supporting cast members, Jen’s new boss and former legal nemesis/co-worker Mallory Book, her long-time friend/fellow Avenger Janet Van Dyne, aka The Wasp, and a very unexpected cameo from a character that I haven’t seen in quite some time, leading to a conclusion that has me wishing I could read the next chapter right now.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a comic book get me excited enough to go out to an actual comic book shop again and pick it up in its first week, but I was sold as soon as Rainbow Rowell announced on her Facebook page last week. She’s been one of my favorite authors since I stumbled across her novel “Attachments” at the library once years ago. Her transition into a comic book writer I followed along with great excitement, as she also had me reading her last ongoing series, “Runaways” with great interest, and I’d never even followed the characters before then. This time though, with her writing a character I’ve always been a fan of since the John Byrne “Fantastic Four” run I read sporadically as a kid, I’m all in.

The art in the book as well, by Roge Antonio with the coloring by Rico Renzi, makes the book pop and come alive; even something as simple as Jen checking out her new apartment is exciting to look at.

Though most of all what made me fall in love with this comic is its themes of self-reinvention. It’s something that we’ve all had to do, from now in this current landscape we live in significantly, and there is an art to it, picking up the pieces and moving forward, trying to figure out what comes next. For a character who was in the past shown as being one step ahead of everyone and breaking the fourth wall years before Deadpool made it cool to do so, not knowing what comes next makes her just so relatable.

Rowell also makes Jen Walters, herself, without the green side, an interesting character in and of herself. Other writers have made her just the boring side personality that goes away when it’s time for the much more fun She-Hulk to come out and play, but here it’s Jen herself at the front and center of the story, and that makes things feel fresh in a way that I found very refreshing.

I’m all in on this new series, and it’s one that even if your sole experience with She-Hulk is seeing the trailer for the upcoming Disney Plus series starring Tatiana Masanley (“Orphan Black”) in the role, you can come on board with this new series and you’ll feel right at home, I’ll be back again next month, and I hope to see some of you there as well.


You can follow Michael on Twitter here: @reel_geek 


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