Poor She-Hulk; every time you turn around these days, she seems to have a new series coming or going. Sometimes there’s even a second (or third) She-Hulk being added into the mix. It makes sense, then, that with this latest attempt for a series starring She-Hulk to add in the second She-Hulk (Lyra, a character from an alternate future) and let them co-star.
Despite the fact that “She-Hulks” bears the sales stigma of being yet another She-Hulk comic, it’s not that bad. Harrison Wilcox is taking advantage of the fact that Lyra is still a teenager to give us a mixture of two different types of comics. We’re simultaneously getting the She-Hulks teaming up to take down escaped bad guys, and also a high school drama. It’s an odd combination, but so far the balance actually seems to work.
I’ve barely read anything with Lyra, but she seems like an likable enough character under Wilcox’s writing. She’s being set up as the fish-out-of-water archetype, not entirely understanding some of the machinations of high school but still adjusting and surviving in her own particular way. Some parts felt a little too cliche (the group of “queen bee” girls plotting against her, for example) but her early friendship with fellow student Jake shows potential, and I’ll admit I got a good chuckle out of how she deals with the sports jocks.
Jennifer Walters, the original She-Hulk, has less to do in “She-Hulks” #1 but the idea of her being a mentor to Lyra is a nice position to place her in. She gets to be the voice of reason but still beat things up, and it’s a place I can see her in. The fight scenes themselves are good if nothing out of the ordinary; they show up at the villain’s hiding place and take him down with a combination of snappy lines and well-placed punches. Still, the two are shown to work well together (especially with the whole good cop/bad cop routine) and it makes me think that “She-Hulks” has a chance of succeeding. (Speaking of the fight scenes, though, it does make you wonder how with the time differences it’s still a sunny afternoon in Monte Carlo after Lyra’s already finished up a day’s worth of high school in New York.)
Ryan Stegman and Michael Babinski are the art team here, and their take on the characters remind me of past “Hulk” and “She-Hulk” artists like Ed McGuinness and Paul Pelletier. Both of the She-Hulks are given solid, strong, bodies that are drawn with clean lines and expressive faces. Some scenes are better than others, but it’s entertaining the whole way through. I think Stegman actually shines the most in the non-fight scenes; the grinning Bruce Banner panels are winners, and there’s a lot of physical humor as well as expressive faces when Lyra’s in high school.
“She-Hulks” #1 is a nice start to the series, although it feels like a lot of set-up. Hopefully with future issues we’ll dig a little deeper now that the ground work is complete, but for now it’s a strong enough beginning that I think readers should be happy with what they’re getting.