“She-Hulk” #2 by Charles Soule and Javier Pulido follows Jennifer Walters’ first day in her newly established solo law practice in Brooklyn, followed by a night out on the town with Hellcat.
Brooklyn as a setting feels weirdly right for She-Hulk. It’s quieter, more small-time and not quite as center stage as Manhattan. The city that the superhero lives in and protects is often an extension of superhero’s personality, and like “Hawkeye,” She-Hulk is important enough to know all the big players (and have her own title), but small-time enough that her life outside of crime-fighting needs to be compelling enough to hold its own.
It’s astute of Soule to take this smart, upbeat direction for She-Hulk. Within only two issues, he and Pulido have already sketched out a vivid and likable take on the character. Unlike the debut issue, which seemed to be weighted towards re-establishing She-Hulk’s attorney credentials, “She-Hulk” #2 is split pretty evenly between lawyering and super-heroing. Instead of drawing a contrast between her skirt suit and her spandex suit, Soule pursues a more integrating approach. Both the law and superheroism are equally a part of She-Hulk’s identity. In other words, unlike Batman, Spiderman, etc., her day job is neither a mask nor secondary to her superhuman activities. She doesn’t work undercover and her civilian identity is no secret. The first two issues show how She-Hulk and her idealism, intelligence and strength are the same by day as by night.
The supporting cast is small but also strong. Jennifer’s landlord Sharon King, her slightly creepy new paralegal Angie Huang and her young friend Hellcat all add color to the story. They are also all wildly different from each other and thus bring out different sides of She-Hulk.
Jennifer Walters is of the Good Girl variety of superhero, a good-natured do-gooder, but she’s never boring. Here, there’s a lot more to her than being female, strong and green. Soule and Pulido make her brains, optimism and big heart come first. She’s like a grown-up, more dramatic lawyer version of Lisa Simpson.
Although Pulido’s faces feel stiff, and his work has a flatness to it which may not be to every reader’s taste, that lack of fluidity somehow doesn’t hinder the expressivity of his line. Jennifer’s emotions from cheer to frustration to menace all come through clearly and poignantly. Muntsa Vicente’s color work is beautiful and contributes strongly to the setting and mood of the story.
Soule and Pulido’s “She-Hulk” is one of the sunniest and most promising new titles on the stands. It’s good to see a lead female who doesn’t run on angst or operate in a moral gray zone. More importantly, the story shines due to Soule and Pulido’s light humor and casual, deft pacing.