Sunday, July 13, 2014

Editorial Critique: She-Hulk #5 by Charles Soule, Ron Wimberly

I'm cutting bait here.  Despite the build-up to the Blue File mystery that has slowly evolved over the past five issues, any interest I'd have in that file is extinguished by my total lack of interest in the characters.  This is a major disappointment, because I think the American zeitgeist is aligned for She-Hulk to really break out, and I had high hopes for Soule's run.

I'm not going to review scene-by-scene as in my other She-Hulk reviews.  The only comment I'll make on any specifics of the issue is Jennifer's encounter with Shocker.  I suspect Soule is trying to do something with Marvel villains and Jennifer's relationships with them.  Her first case involved the widow of a villain, her next client was Victor Von Doom's son, and now she's interacting with Shocker.  So when you think about it, there is great raw material in that!  How would a villain, or a family member of that villain, interact with their attorney?  And once that window is opened, how would Jennifer's thoughts about villains change?  Remember when she scolded the AIM bad guy for treating super heroes like trophies?  Does she already think that way about villains, or are her views evolving based on her interactions with her clients?

I'm not really sure Soule has any intention of exploring any of those questions.  If he does, it isn't apparent that he intends to answer any of those questions any time soon.  You can read my reviews, scene by scene, of issues 1-4 and see all the wasted opportunities I identified, and how not much has come of any of them.  If anything, we see inconsistency in Jennifer's character, or at best, unfounded or ambiguous evolution.

For example, consider at the end of issue 3 Jennifer vows to rescue Vernard.  Having made that vow, it's not clear why she immediately needed to consult fellow attorney Daredevil.  We're never privy to her internal struggles and the reasons she considers favoring inaction.  The setup seemed to be that Jennifer's internal struggle was whether to do something for her client or just leave him to his fate.  Somehow, Daredevil's consult inspired her to action.  But in the end, we get further inconsistency.  Apparently, Jennifer realized the way to achieve her client's true goal (get out from his father's yoke) was to open honest dialogue directly with his father.  But remember, Soule never clued us is in that Jennifer's struggle was with what to do, instead, we're only aware that she's struggling with whether to do anything.  There is a big difference between a character struggling with resignation versus a specific plan of action, and Soule fumbled it.  I.e., we don't know if Jennifer thought this was the best way to resolve the problem the instant Vernard told her why he's seeking asylum, and only rushed him to the courthouse due to time constraints.  Further, there's no connection between any of Daredevil's advice and Jennifer's strategy for resolving the situation.  So we really don't know if the end of issue 4 was dynamism in her character or not.  It's all a mess, and it's why at this point I don't care about Jennifer.

As for Wimberly's art in issue 5, frankly it does not bother me as much as other reviews I've read online.  Perhaps the style has a purpose that may take an issue or two for revelation.  Otherwise, I'd advise they get Pulido back.

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