One of the fun things about Charles Soule and Javier Pulido’s take on “She-Hulk” to date has been the mixture of lawyer to superhero. The book hasn’t lost sight of either aspect of Jennifer Walters’ character, and having crazy cases (versus the slightly more down to earth nature of the cases in “Daredevil”) with a larger-than-life quality has made “She-Hulk” feel energetic and lively.
With “She-Hulk” #4, Soule’s story loses a little bit of that balance, with all of the courtroom drama expended last month as She-Hulk tried to save Kristoff Vernard from the clutches of his adoptive father, Doctor Doom. With Kristoff captured seconds after the trial ended, “She-Hulk” #4 has our hero head off to Latveria in an attempt to rescue him. It’s not a bad idea at all, and it makes perfect sense; it’s exactly what almost any superhero would do in such a situation. But at the same time… it feels a little too normal.
Part of what makes “She-Hulk” work is that it isn’t taking the most likely path, and this issue is an exception to that rule. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still fun — and Soule is able to work in a fun little subplot as She-Hulk consults one of her peers — but with the legal angle more or less gone this month, some of the spark is gone. Soule does make up for it to a lesser degree with Jennifer’s personality, which is still exuberant and enjoying life. It’s an aspect that’s worked well over the years and it’s no exception here. Even when things are getting tough you get the feeling that she’s having a blast, which is exactly how you should write She-Hulk. The setting and supporting cast that Soule is creating in “She-Hulk” is also fun; they’re in a minimal role this issue but they work quite well (the comments about currency conversion were cracking me up big time).
Just as consistent as the previous three issues is Pulido’s art, which is clean and beautifully composed. Pulido’s one of those artists who can fit a ton of panels onto a page and never make them feel cluttered or compacted. He’s also able to bring a wonderful sense of energy and joy to the pages; just look at the three-quarter-page spread for, “You want to go out?” The two heroes up in the air are beautifully composed, their partial silhouettes making them look iconic while still giving just enough detail to identify them. What’s great is how well that image is them framed; the two of them hovering over the gentle inverted arch of thugs below them, almost as if the heroes are pushing the sea of them down by their mere presence. At the same time, the barrage of neon signs and logos in the background not only offers up more than a simple background, it also brings together the idea that this is happening over a multitude of locations. It’s a dynamite final image, and it’s what Pulido brings to “She-Hulk” each month.
“She-Hulk” #4 might not have been quite as great as the previous issues, but that merely means it’s just very good. Four issues in, this series is still a winner, and I’m already dying to see what happens next. Soule and Pulido’s work on “She-Hulk” is something you owe it to yourself to read.