Spotlight on "Ms. Marvel" & "She-Hulk" #1s
- by Kazekun, 21 February 2014
Ever since I had gotten into comics around 10 years ago, I had made sure to get as many single issues (that I was interested in) a month as I could afford. I was mainly picking up from the Big 2 and it was getting ridiculous. I stopped purchasing DC after their launch of the New 52, and Marvel just wasn’t putting out anything fun at the time. So I cut my losses around a year ago and swore off single issues altogether, opting instead to get trades and buy past collections. Now, however, with the launch of All-New Marvel Now (that name is still awful), the company had decided to do something daring, adventurous, and dare I say… fun. They had decided to start putting out FUN comics, and it drew me back in. I’m only buying three ongoings though, two of which I talk about today – “Ms. Marvel” and “She-Hulk".
First, let’s talk about “She-Hulk” #1, written by Charles Soule and with art by Javier Pulido.
I’ve always found it almost an injustice when superheroes have chosen professions before they become super-powered and then they abandon those efforts for the high flying life of capes and crusading (and often times Avenging, or JLAing). Like, would most people do that? I feel like most people would actually figure out how their powers can best benefit their chosen profession.
Granted She-Hulk’s strength and green demeanor don’t add too much to the role of a lawyer except maybe giving off an imposing look to her opponent, but it’s been incredibly nice seeing her go from a woman who hates what she has become to accepting it. And it happened so naturally that her She-Hulk form is now more or less her default form, and she’s willing to use it in the court of law.
It also helps that pretty much everyone knows her as the “good Hulk” by this point. Regardless, I’m just a fan of writers deciding to show the other side of heroes, show their professions rather than just all the punching and kicking that goes along with one side of their lives.
Charles Soule seems to get the character, and he has a great handle on her. I was a tad skeptical upon hearing a lawyer was writing a superhero comic about lawyering (plus he was just a writer I hadn’t heard of), but I was definitely intrigued. It’s nice seeing She-Hulk being allowed to do what she loves and looking as if she loves doing it, even if she does get many wrenches thrown at her during the course of the issue. In this issue she takes on a case for the wife of a now deceased super-villain, a concept I love and very rarely even think about when it comes to villains. Also, that scenario just so happens to put Tony Stark on the villain side in all of this.
Soule has a blast getting into the kinks of what it’s like to be a lawyer, and the many different hoops one in this profession generally has to go through. “Ninety-percent of being a lawyer is conversations,” She-Hulk says and that sums up this issue in spades. See, it’s not really a drawback but there is nearly 0% action in this issue. I mentioned earlier that She-Hulk battles some robots in this, and while that’s true, the fight mainly happens off-screen, but that doesn’t feel like a cop-out.
Two sides of She-Hulk. Click on each page to enlarge.
Soule opts to take matters into a very vocal route and there are times when we get very awkward and unnecessary fluff dialogue about political jargon we really didn’t need to know, and it just seems to be taking up space. For instance, we get literally the entire history of Stark Industries in a few dialogue boxes in a single panel, and at one point I had to pause while reading it as I simply had no interest in that kind of information. Especially since most of it flew over my head.
The art in this is very cartoony, incredibly indie-looking, but extremely fitting for the really fun moments that happen in this issue, like when She-Hulk has her clothes ripped apart from her battle with the robots and Tony just looks at her and is immediately turned on. I think Pulido is a very nice fit for this kind of book, one that doesn’t look to be trying to take itself too seriously.
The best thing about this strong outing is that so much happens in so little time that this almost feels like a one-shot that you could read, and then never read another She-Hulk comic again. You get everything she is right here, right on the first two pages even. It’d be a shame if you didn’t read any more She-Hulk, but after this issue, it’s an option.
Finale Score: 4.5 Security Robots out of 5 (because She-Hulk ripped one in half)
Now for “Ms. Marvel” #1, written by G. Willow Wilson, with art by Adrian Alphona.
This too was a very strong first outing. Not nearly as much happened in this than in She-Hulk #1, but this still had a brisk pacing to it that never felt like it was slowing down. We are first introduced to Kamala Khan, a teenage girl who just happens to be Muslim. She’s living it up in New Jersey, and by “living it up” I mean dealing with all the teenage crap that comes with being a crappy teenager, such as friends who are growing up faster than you, and the popular students who tread the ground as lightly as possible to make sure they’re insulting you, without outright insulting your religion.
Kamala just wants to be liked, but don’t we all? This is something I truly believe every kid goes through at some point; they will blind themselves to how others really are in order to make themselves feel liked and not alone, when the reality is there are those few who truly do like you, and many others who just won’t.
Kamala is simply an innocent. She’s a sheltered girl living, under a father who dislikes the notion of fun (it seems that way, and I can relate to that) who doesn’t know much about the real world. She’s an Avengers fanatic, a worshipper of Carol Danvers, and she writes pretty god-awful but hilarious fan-fiction about her favorite heroes. She doesn’t understand how things are, until she finally takes life in her own hands and is met with a rude awakening, thanks to her peers.
It’s around this time, though, that said bomb from earlier goes off and sprays New Jersey. Kamala loses consciousness and then resurfaces in a very interesting manner that I won’t spoil, as I’m still trying to figure out how she becomes the Ms. Marvel we’ve been led to believe she shall be. Wilson does a good job handling the character of Kamala and showing how she simply wants to fit in. He also handles the aspects of Muslim life in America rather delicately as well, to the point where I read them as simply just another American family. Which I love, as that means nothing about the religious themes of the comic, was preachy or felt overused - that’s quite refreshing.
Click on each page to enlarge.
The art is also pretty. It’s much more realistic than the art seen in “She-Hulk”, but Alphona does a wonderful job making this story seem very kinetic, even when there is no action, I also liked that he gave Kamala a face that looks very Middle Eastern.
If there’s any real drawback to this particular issue, it’s the handling of certain characters in the book, as if they’re very stereotypical. So far Kamala’s cast isn’t much more than caricatures, it seems. From the dumb blonde who speaks like she’s constantly doing cheer routines, to the overbearing father that has no values beyond telling his daughter ‘no’ to a request and then not listening to anything she has to say. I do have faith a few of these characters will eventually get fleshed out, but only time will really tell.
Final Score: 4 Dumb Blonde Chicks out of 5
What do you think of these two first issues? Share your thoughts below!