Marvel’s trying to make more lady-helmed series, and they’re not all successes; Fearless Defenders met an untimely demise, and after only three issues, the formula of Black Widow is becoming tired. Kelly Sue DeConnick’s Captain Marvel flourished though, and after last week’s wonderful Ms. Marvel they’ve produced another winner with She-Hulk. This series is set up to focus on She-Hulk’s (aka Jennifer Walters’) professional life as a lawyer rather than her superheroics (although they aren’t entirely inseparable if this issue is any indication).
The current run of Hawkeye is a clear influence, with the character-driven structure focused on her less action-packed moments, and series artist Javier Pulido even drew a few guest issues for Hawkeye. His flat style is perfect for this series, especially with bright, bold colours by Muntsa Vincente. The opening splash page is pitch perfect and it sets the tone for the rest of the comic. Pulido is creative with page layouts, and his quieter character moments are lively and sweet. His anatomy is stylised (and sometimes kind of wonky) but vivid, and it’s hard not to fall in love with Jen under his pen. Pulido’s interiors are supported by a gorgeous cover by Kevin Wada, who illustrates high-fashion versions of fictional characters.
Charles Soule is a new writer, but I’m excited about his work here. He portrays Jen as a woman who is committed to her profession and knows her own worth. She quits a job when she feels undervalued to open a solo practice, which will set her up for case-of-the-week style stories. Jen isn’t the type of woman to compromise in any avenue, so when she’s asked to take a case against Tony Stark, she is the only lawyer who is willing to do so. I’m looking forward to seeing a wide variety of cases from diverse people, and hopefully we’ll see the development of a regular support cast (like the other tenants of Carol’s building in Captain Marvel). With Tony’s cameo in this issue (and how Marvel operates in general), I’m sure we can also expect some more familiar faces as the series goes on.
The character focus for this series is obvious in this issue, with a lot of the action happening off-panel. We know that Jen can kick robot butt, but the on-page time is used for quieter moments. Although we do get a gorgeous page where she destroys her employers’ conference table, and her body language while she’s considering it is just perfect. (Incidentally, I also love Jen’s suits). Jen’s also tasked with solving a case in order to defend her client’s husband, so the issue takes on some of the format of a mystery.
Jen has had a few solo series before, but I hope this one ends before it is cancelled (long in the future). She’s one of Marvel’s most successful leading ladies, and if this series keeps up like its premiere issue, it will do her justice. To quote my favourite line from Matt Fraction’s FF series, “the Jen is like a radiant flame to which we are all but moths,” and if you read this series, you’ll see why.