As Marvel’s Year of the Women counts down its final days, She-Hulk fans again have a reason to visit their local comic book shop. She-Hulks #1 kicks off a four-issue mini-series dealing with the after-effects of the recent World War Hulks saga. The story stands up well on its own without the need to read other Hulk comics, or the internet, to fully understand and enjoy it.
Tasked with capturing fugitive members of the Intelligencia, Jen and Lyra literally hit the slots as they take down the Trapster in Las Vegas. In between missions, Jen enrols Lyra in a New York City high school before taking a well-deserved bubble bath in their new apartment on the Upper East Side.
With a gentle nod to Grace Randolph’s recent Her-Oes saga, Lyra (in her human form) becomes acquainted with the pink-haired Amelia and her posse of mean girls. After a hilarious scene where she shuns the advances of two hockey players, Lyra makes friends with local heartthrob Jake Constantine, much to the annoyance of Amelia. After school, Jen and Lyra are off to see The Wizard on his yacht off Monte Carlo.
Psst ... Guess where their costumes are
In what would have been the best episode of the Love Boat ever, the gamma-charged Gilmore Girls capture the Wizard after a struggle surrounded by champagne wishes and bikini-clad supermodels. The issue ends with the Wizard vowing revenge from his Gamma Base detention cell as Jen and Lyra’s quest continues.
Writer Harrison Wilcox’s sharp and witty dialogue succeeds in keeping the story engaging and the characters interesting, particularly Lyra. Once feared to be Jen’s replacement, Lyra has instead established herself as the latest in a long line of sidekicks to banter back and forth with her. Another enjoyable element is Jen working alongside Cousin Bruce, which (aside from Greg Pak’s current Incredible Hulks run) has only happened sporadically in her 30-year history.
The art presented by penciler Ryan Stegman, inker Michael Babinski, and colourist Guru e-FX is a visual treat that gives the story a colourful, animated energy to it. Stegman’s pencils convey the action well, and the facial expressions are on a par with Ed McGuinness and Amanda Conner. One hopes that Stegman will provide a transformation sequence of either Jen or Lyra before this mini-series concludes. As an added bonus, the back of the issue contains two biographical files of Jen and Lyra, with their histories updated to before World War Hulks.
Wilcox and Stegman have made a worthy contribution to She-Hulk’s mythos with the right blend of characterisation, action, humour, and beauty. She-Hulks #1 is one of the most enjoyable She-Hulk comics since Dan Slott’s early run, and hopefully this miniseries will be successful enough to garner further adventures of Jen and Lyra from this creative team.
Eugene Liptak is a librarian and author who knows that two She-Hulks are better than one. And knowing is half the battle.