Comics : She-Hulk (Vol. 4) #13

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This review was first published on: 2006.

Background...

Jennifer Walters (aka She-Hulk) practices Superhuman Law at the prestigious firm of Goodman, Lieber, Kurtzberg, and Holloway. Recently, She-Hulk has also added the title of "space lawyer" as a member of the Magistrati. RT-Z9, a robot working for the Living Tribunal, has whisked Jen to Titan to observe Starfox's trial. Jen is none too pleased at Starfox for an earlier incident involving his love powers. Thanos appears and testifies against his brother further complicating matters...

Meanwhile, back on Earth, She-Hulk and her recently betrothed, John Jameson, have run into some "hairy" problems. Jameson was transformed into the Man-Wolf. Two-Gun Kid's silver bullet amplified his powers and now Man Wolf is no more. In his place is Star-God. Sounds complicated? Luckily, Dan Slott is writing this book.

In Detail...

"Mind Field"
She-Hulk (Vol. 4) #13
Dec 2006 : SM Guest
Summary: Spider-Man appears
Editor:  Tom Brevoort
Writer:  Dan Slott
Pencils:  Rick Burchett
Inker:  Cliff Rathburn
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Review

Our issue begins with Starfox being found guilty of improper use of his love powers. Thanos's testimony holds Starfox responsible for his crimes. Sensing an ulterior motive from Thanos, She-Hulk wishes to re-examine the evidence against Starfox. She-Hulk, with the help of Moondragon, enters the mind of Thanos.

Upon entering Thanos's mind, She-Hulk determines that he has placed mental barriers on his memories. She-Hulk smashes through one of the barriers. She finds Thanos discussing one of synthetic duplicates with Seductra. Back on Titan, Thanos's body sweats as he makes She-Hulk view a different memory.

She-Hulk then views Thanos's recollection of the time he possessed the Cosmic Cube. His consciousness is aware that She-Hulk is intruding upon his memories. Thanos transforms She-Hulk into her appearance during that time, law school student Jennifer Walters. Moondragon replies that she can not help Jennifer. Suddenly, Starfox appears in the memory to protect Jennifer. He is not well received by Jen. Fortunately, the memory of Thanos's own defeat at the hands of Captain Marvel saves the pair from certain destruction.

Back on Earth, Star-God startles Pug and Mal at the hospital. Pug is angry that as Man-Wolf, Star-God attacked him. Star-God brushes his accusations aside by claiming "I wasn't myself." He uses Pug's jacket to pick up Jen's scent. He explains that he is now able to use his cosmic powers to teleport to Titan in search of his wife.

Jen's appearance continues to change back in Thanos's mind. Starfox and Jen surmise that it must be because they are moving through time. They look upon the time that Thanos constructed a giant soul gem in order to destroy the universe. Thanos is engaged in battle with Thor and Iron Man. Jen doesn't trust Starfox and shuns him. Before Starfox can reveal the truth about his improper love advances on Jennifer, his mouth is sealed shut. Jennifer finds that she is now the She-Hulk once again. She realizes they have now been transported to the tie where Thanos possessed the Infinity Gauntlet (This is where Spider-Man appears).

Back on Titan, the court sees Thanos is still hiding something due to the probing by She-Hulk. RT- Z9 confronts Star-God as he demands to know where his wife went. Star-God is enraged at the presence of Thanos and prepares to release Jennifer by striking him down with a sword. Unexpectedly, Thanos catches the sword with both of his hands. In Thanos's mind, She-Hulk and Starfox see that he is distracted. She- Hulk punches Thanos in the face. A battle begins where Thanos fights She-Hulk in his mind and Star-God back on Titan.

Eventually Star-God scores a winning blow and Star-Fox's mouth returns. He declares that he used no love powers to seduce Jen all those years ago. She-Hulk believes him and they set off to Thanos's hidden memory. It turns out that the duplicate hinted at earlier was actually a clone of Starfox. Thanos wanted Starfox to suffer all of his own sins.

Thanos's lie is now exposed. He tries to escape. However, She-Hulk appears back on the scene and declares that the Thanos standing before them is a synthetic duplicate. The real Thanos would have never endangered his own mind for such a petty plot. The duplicate remarks that his scheme was still funny. Jen is none too pleased and beats up on Thanos's duplicate. Star-God cries out in alarm.

The scene then returns back to Pug and Mal. Pug informs Mal that he'll be fine and just needs to be alone. A mysterious woman then appears and offers Pug a potion that can cure and inflame a heart's passion. Pug eagerly takes it and wishes that his love for Jen would disappear.

Our issue ends with Starfox deciding that his powers should be removed permanently. Jen and Star-God enter into an awkward conversation about their future as husband and wife. The pair doesn't know what to do, as their love for each other seems to have been falsely imposed upon them.

In General...

Dan Slott undertakes a difficult job each month writing She-Hulk. Each issue must balance convoluted plot lines with action while still remaining fun and readable. Slott does a solid job once again with this formula. She-Hulk's supporting cast over these last few issues have been entirely unconventional, but Slott makes it work. Pug, Mal, and Star-God are all given individual moments to shine.

The journey through Thanos's mind is a nice refresher course on some of Marvel's biggest cosmic events. However, Slott's resolution to Starfox's character is a bit disappointing. Cloning is a really easy way out of any story line and has been used so much that it lacks any real imagination on the part of the writer.

Another brushed over plot point was Pug's unrequited love for Jennifer. I understand that a Man-Wolf assaulting you would lead one to change their opinions quickly. But Slott has invested so much time in the Pug/Jen relationship that I simply don't buy it. I'd like to believe Pug's love of Jennifer is still there. I certainly don't think the tension between the two is done.

One last quibble I had was with the art. The cartoonish pencils of She-Hulk are wildly inconsistent from issue to issue. In this issue, the style doesn't complement the rather serious tone of the story. Good art can cover many flaws but bad art can ruin an issue. While it's certainly not horrible, the art does distract the reader from the plot.

Overall Rating...

She-Hulk is a fine read for knowledgeable Marvel fans. At first glance, the plot seems to be a discombobulated mess. However, Slott's appeal as a writer is that he makes all of the disparate elements in the story fit together. There are some minor quibbles I had, but it does not make this a bad story by any means. She-Hulk remains a whimsical take on the superhero genre, despite dealing with some touchy issues.