Comics : She-Hulk (Vol. 4) #8

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This review was first published on: 2007.

Background...

As part of a reality television show, The New Warriors are filmed battling Nitro, the super-villain that can self-detonate and reform. During their televised battle in Stamford, CT, Nitro used his power and deliberately killed four of the New Warriors as well as hundreds of innocent bystanders. This quickly resulted in the Federal government proposing the Superhuman Registration Act (SHRA), requiring all citizens with metahuman powers to register with the Federal government, disclose their identities, and receive proper training on the use of their powers. Those choosing to not register would be considered criminals and be subject to prosecution.

As you can imagine this is not warmly received in all areas of the superhero community. The superhero community is essentially split into two camps: those that side with Iron Man and those that side with Captain America. Iron Man represents the heroes that comply with the law in the hopes that they can prevent another disaster and hopefully keep all registrant information from entering the public domain. Captain America's camp sees this as a violation of basic civil liberties and go underground. This was the foundation of the Marvel Universe's Civil War.

In a recent televised interview, Jennifer Walters (She-Hulk) has admitted that - in the wake of the tragedy - she believes that all heroes should register.

In Detail...

"Civil Union"
She-Hulk (Vol. 4) #8
Jul 2006 : SM Cover
Summary: Spider-Man on Cover
Editor:  Tom Brevoort
Writer:  Dan Slott
Artist:  Paul Smith
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Jennifer reads the Daily Bugle's coverage of the backlash from the destruction in Stamford. There are pictures of people burning the New Warriors in effigy, destroying memorabilia, rallying, and other actions that express their outrage. She informs John that some of the remaining New Warriors have contacted her for legal advice. She'll be meeting with them later today.

She meets Leonard Samson, who in turn takes her to see Dr. Strange. Strange removes the spell placed on her by the Scarlet Witch in She-Hulk (Vol. 3) #2. This spell prevented anyone "who wished She-Hulk harm" from recognizing her when she was Jennifer Walters. It was also part of the reason for her recent transformation problems - she required a "gamma-changer" to transform her into She-Hulk.

At the air force base, John is encouraged by a high-ranking general to sever ties with the superhero community. The imminent passing of the SHRA might cause some complications for him.

Later that day, Justice and Rage (former Avengers, former New Warriors) arrive at Goodman, Lieber, Kurtzberg & Holliway to meet with Jennifer. Much to her surprise, they are not concerned about the SHRA; it's a hate site "DestroyAllWarriors.com" that's outing them one by one. Once a Warrior's identity has been disclosed, the site posts video footage of hate crimes committed against them. Jennifer is incensed that this is happening and takes their case. She wanted all heroes to register, but not to have thei identities publically disclosed.

Day one of the New Warriors court case does not start off well. During the trial, they learn that the financial backers for the website are Stamford survivors. The prosecution calls them to the stand where their testimony emphasizes their personal loss due to the irresponsibility of the now-deceased New Warriors. Despite the urging of Justice and Rage, Jennifer refuses to emphasize the Warrior's good deeds, citing that it will only backfire and remind the judge that 600 people are dead. She's trying to focus on the fact that they are now responsible for sponsoring a hate-group website. Living up to his codename, Rage has a violent outburst in court, destroying the defense's table. The judge is not amused and orders them out of his sight immediately.

Elsewhere John meets secretly with Captain America at his [Cap's] request. Cap realizes that the SHRA will pass and wants to know which side She-Hulk will support. John tells Cap that he can't betray the trust Jen has placed in him. Cap understands his situation and doesn't press the issue. He does suggest that if he feels as strongly for her as he thinks, he should act on it.

Day two of the trial. Iron Man is on the witness stand explaining his pro- registration stance. During Jennifer's cross examination, things become heated and the judge orders a recess until they can both calm down. Outside Iron Man explains to Jennifer that while he can appreciate her stance on this issue, the time is coming when good intentions are not enough. He gives her all the information that she needs to track down the webmaster of the hate site. He tells her that if they don't start policing "their own", someone else will.

Later that night, She-Hulk, Justice, Rage, and a few other Warriors confront the site's webmaster: Carlton LaFroyge aka Hindsight, a former New Warrior. He claims he wasn't trying to get anyone killed; he simply wanted all the New Warriors to quit, hoping people would forget about them. Justice angrily reminds him that he blackmailed his way onto the team and now he betrays them for reasons that don't make sense. LaFroyge falls to the ground muttering "I didn't think this was possible". His neighbors are not happy at the gathering of superheroes in their neighborhood and begin to surround them.

At this point, John Jameson appears in an experimental EVA-1 (Extreme Vertical Assault Craft), dispersing the crowd. He greets She-Hulk and - following Cap's suggestion - proposes.

In General...

An interesting story involving fallout from one the worst aspects of the SHRA. This is one of the reasons that Captain America leads the resistance. Despite the government's best intentions, information can accidentally or "accidentally" be placed into public domain, placing not only the registered heroes, but also their families in constant jeopardy (wow that sounds a lot like the public unmasking of Spider-Man doesn't it?)

I'm not familiar with the New Warriors but from what I have been able to gather, Hindsight (loser name, by the way), has no powers to speak of and actually did blackmail his way onto the team under threat of disclosing Speedball's identity. They then proceed to trust him with their identities as well? This guy can apparently sell bottled water to fish.

Ignoring that confusing little aspect of the story, it was still well constructed and explores a very likely outcome from mandatory registration.

Overall Rating...

3.5 webs. Dan Slott is one of the best writers Marvel has at the moment and this is proof. The fact that he integrated the Civil War crossover into his established storyline without losing any momentum is the mark of a great writer.

My only real complaint is that the proposal was a bit rushed. I realize he was running out of space, but this could have been pushed to the next issue.