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She-Hulks #4

by  in Comic Reviews Comment
She-Hulks #4

I still can’t decide if “She-Hulks” was always a mini-series that wasn’t solicited that way until the final issue, or if Marvel stealth-cancelled the book by suddenly slapping an “(of 4)” onto the solicitation for this issue.

Either way, though, “She-Hulks” gives us a final issue that doesn’t hold up to the previous three parts, in a fast and compressed way. For the first three issues, we’ve had a nice balance between Lyra helping Jennifer track down and fight various super-powered villains, and trying to adjust to high school and hide her secret identity as one of the She-Hulks.

Here, though, the comic whips through both parts of the equation. The Wizard’s sudden attack feels accelerated and over too quickly; sure, it’s been signposted since the first issue that he was going to eventually escape, but this feels like multiple issues crammed into a few pages. Likewise, the destruction of Lyra’s secret identity is too fast, and is over in the blink of an eye. It’s almost like halfway through writing the fourth issue, writer Harrison Wilcox was told to cram the rest of a year’s worth of comics into the second half of “She-Hulks” #4 and call it a day. After greatly enjoying the first three issues, this conclusion is a disappointment and then some, plots thrown into the trash just like the ripped party dress at the end of the issue.

The art from Ryan Stegman and Michael Babinksi is fortunately much more consistent. It reminds me a lot of artists like Paul Pelletier, with smooth lines and well-rounded figures. I like that Stegman doesn’t depend on hair color to make the two She-Hulks look different; Lyra still looks like a teenage girl even in super-powered form, and Jennifer is in her powerful, well-established look. And even when Stegman is given an obvious chance to turn the book into a cheesecake factory (hello, bubble bath) he resists the urge to do so. For a book starring two strong female super-heroes, Stegman manages to make them look attractive without turning this into anything exploitative. (Something that shouldn’t have to even be mentioned, but in the world of super-hero comics, this really is the exception to the rule.)

“She-Hulks” had three and a half entertaining issues, and a lousy conclusion. Am I glad I read the first three issues? Yep. Do I wish the fourth had held up to that promise? Unfortunately, yes.