Comics : She-Hulk (Vol. 3) #12

Staff Only
Edit Review
Edit Title

This review was first published on: 2005.

Background...

It's quite trendy to put "The End" into a comic title at the moment. This issue is boldly labelled "The End" of She-Hulk. More technically, #12 is the end of this quite successful mini-series written by Dan Slott (who is currently doing the Spider-Man/Torch limited series, too).

Spidey has a cameo. That's why we're reviewing this mag.

In Detail...

"Some Disassembly Required"
She-Hulk (Vol. 3) #12
Apr 2005 : SM Guest
Summary: Titania v. She-Hulk, Spider-Man appearance
Editor:  Tom Brevoort
Writer:  Dan Slott
Pencils:  Paul Pelletier
Inker:  Rick Magyar
Staff Only
Issue
Review
Articles: Titania

Titania is all maxed-out with the Power Gem that she got from "The Champion of the Universe", who gave it to Titania so that she could whup She-Hulk. For some reason of honor, or some solemn vow, old Champs couldn't do it himself --no probs, Titania is delighted to stand in.

Last issue, Titania trashed the law firm where Jen/Shulkie works, and then found She-Hulk and trashed her, too... forcing her to change back to Jen. Titania then goes weird, 'cos Jen has disappeared just as she was about to kill her! Confused? Well, it seems that a while back, Wanda put a spell on Jennifer so that "those who mean She-Hulk harm" cannot see her in her human form.

Jennifer nips off to try and formulate a plan, while a couple of dozen super-heroes turn up to help stop Titania. Spidey is among them. He gets a few panels here and there in the story. Four at least. More than a cameo perhaps, even a "small appearance"?

Jennifer and Stu (one of her fellow lawyers) head down to the local comic shop, and enlist some geek-help. But all the geeks just want to pick on continuity errors in She-Hulk's stories. Then Stu gets mad and pulls out his hard-won "No-Prize", earned for helping explain a continuity gaffe in the past. He shames the geeks into trying to help, rather than just being picky.

With the help of the geeks, Jen constructs a plan. She gets Ditto, a mutant, to pretend to be her (i.e. pretend to be She-Hulk). They turn up just as Titania is about to kill Spider-Man very dead. I mean, two more seconds and Spidey would have been skewered. Ouch! That's the end of Spidey's glory, he got one more panel here.

But back to Jen's plan. "Ditto", as She-Hulk, gets "killed" by Titania (though actually, his shapeshifting powers mean he isn't really dead). Now believing that She-Hulk is dead, Titania is confused. She no longer "needs" the power gem. Since the gems are bound to those who need them most (that's what the comic geeks figured out) then Jen (still invisible) can pluck the gem from Titania's forehead. Then there's a bit of a wrapup, which you can read for yourself, if you really want to know what happens.

In General...

Dan is a good writer. His "fourth wall" gags are every bit as good as John Byrne's stuff back when Byrne was actually writing good material in She-Hulk Vol. 2. His digs at modern comic geeks cut pretty close to the bone. But I guess I'm a little uncomfortable with a couple of things that make me a bit reluctant to give this issue too high a rating.

Firstly, for some reason, I don't like Spidey being so easily nearly killed. If you're gonna put Marvel's flagship character one second from painful death, it should be a bigger thing, not just a throwaway panel. It just feels wrong.

Secondly, there's a sub-plot here where "Awesome Andy", the giant guy with the block of tofu for a head gets nearly killed. Reed Richards is heading past to try and stop Titania, but She-Hulk's lawyer boss threatens to sue Reed if he doesn't stop and save Andy, instead. There's something very wrong about this, the idea that the threat of legal action should be treated as a more powerful force than a wise man like Reed trying to do what seems right to help society as a whole.

Why should Reed be sued into helping people? He was trying to save many lives, but some big-shot lawyer gets to force him to save one instead. It's like some big lawyer turns up at a hospital with his sick daughter, and threatens to sue the doctor if he doesn't leave all the other patients and deal with his daughter first. What's the moral here? "Knowledge of the law lets you manipulate it for your own selfish ends"? Or perhaps: "The better lawyer gets to make moral decisions for everybody else." Any way you read it, it's a sickening concept.

Frankly, the U.S. litigation system is out of control. We all read about the stupid cases. When people aren't suing McDonald's for giving them a hot cup of coffee, they're suing famous people... not for justice, but for the potential payout. Meanwhile, crims with enough money seem to be able to buy their way out of anything... creating court cases that run for years, appealing at every stage, until some technicality lets them get away with their deeds. Meanwhile, some poor, black, mentally retarded kid gets railroaded into the chair - or does ten years for his "third strike" after getting caught shoplifting.

No, I'm sorry, but "threaten to sue until you get your own way" is a pretty dubious concept, and I don't like reading it as the moral of this or any other comic book. In fact, I just don't think I like reading stories about lawyers, full stop.

Overall Rating...

Dan's a good writer, and this has been a fun series. Sadly, one misstep here has pretty dire consequences for the whole story. Not a good way to end the series. Sorry.