She-Hulk (Vol. 4) #21

 Posted: 2008


Several things have happened to the Jade Giantess since issue #16. Allow me to hit the high points.

17: She-Hulk and the rest of the Hulkbuster team continue to track down the Hulk's old enemies while he's M.I.A. What She-Hulk doesn't know is that they are working for Project: Achilles. Shulkie helps to defeat Hulk's electromagnetic enemy Zzaxx who tried to take over the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier. During the fight, Zzaxx sent a squad of Nick Fury LMDs to attack her. Each one repeated specific statements that Nick Fury has made recently. Once Zzaxx was defeated, one of the Fury LMD heads replays a conversation with Bruce Banner and calls him by name.

18: Shulkie learns what happened to her cousin and is livid. She returns to the SHIELD helicarrier and attacks Iron Man for his part in the Hulk's exile. Stark injects her with a nanotech virus that transforms her back to Jennifer Walters and removes her powers, courtesy of Project: Achilles.

19: The recently captured – and very much alive – Leader is brought to trial for his crimes against humanity. GLK&H's own Mallory Book has agreed to defend him in order to regain her damaged reputation after her affair with Awesome Andy. Mallory gets him acquitted by pioneering a "gamma insanity" defense. This ultimately prompted the firm to make her a partner.

20: Jen's marriage to John Jameson is annulled after they were shown that their feelings for each other were a result of Awesome Andy. He accidentally absorbed Starfox's euphoria powers and inadvertently used them on the couple. He also used it on Mallory Book, convincing her that she had feelings for the android. When the truth was revealed, Andy essentially rebooted himself, purging the memories of his time at the law firm and returned to his master, the Mad Thinker.

Story 'Another Me, Another U'

We begin the issue with Stu Cicero and his co-workers from GLK&H Chas and Lewis debating the current continuity problem with Marvel comics (love the meta-commentary). We then see She-Hulk fighting the Rhino. (Wait, what?) Anyway, She-Hulk quickly defeats the Rhino and ties him up with a lamppost. Stu sees her and asks how she became She-Hulk again, but she won't give a direct answer.

At that point Lieutenant Stone of Code: Blue asks her to name the President of the United States. When she answers "Al Gore", she is hit with a neurological gas that knocks her out. She is taken to a holding cell at Code: Blue headquarters with other so-called "Alphas".

At this point we are shown an infomercial-style sequence hosted by a man identifying himself as dimensional travel agent Albert DeVoor. He explains that people from an alternate Earth (Alpha) can vacation on an alternate world, designated Earth Beta. Every Alpha person has a Beta duplicate, some of which have super powers. By passing through his atomic resequencer, not only will they cross the dimensional void, their molecules will be realigned to be a perfect duplicate of their superpowered Beta counterpart. Mallory Book stops the video and chastises DeVoor Beta for participating in "secret identity theft". She knows they are in serious legal trouble and offers the services of GLK&H to represent them.

Back at Code: Blue HQ, Jennifer Walters stares down her Alpha double. She-Hulk eventually tells Jennifer to stop staring at her. She has disclosed DeVoor's dimensional vacation operation and wants her phone call. She reminds her that they're both lawyers. Jennifer reminds her that Earth Beta has superhuman law precedents, unlike Earth Alpha. She's the only legal counsel she can get. But before she accepts her as a client, she asks her one question: did she sleep with the Juggernaut? With a sheepish grin, she answers "yes". Jennifer is ecstatic as she has finally been exonerated from that particular incident (take that, Chuck Austen). Two Gun Kid appears and tells them that the Wrecker has appeared and they could use She-Hulk's help in capturing him. Jennifer posts She-Hulk's bail, insisting that she can tackle him alone, which she does.

Back at GLK&H, Pug finally resurfaces. He strolls through the halls eavesdropping on other Alpha cases involving Dazzler, Beast, Hulkling & Wiccan, and Vermin. Stu, Chas, and Lewis are beside themselves trying to figure out who's an Alpha, who's a Beta, and who's actually dead. The can only confirm that Captain America is still dead. He listens in as Mallory takes a call from Titania, asking her for representation.

Reed Richards works with his Alpha counterpart to make adjustments to the dimensional interface to send people back. Jennifer and She-Hulk appear, bringing in Doctor Strange Alpha. Jennifer lashes out at Reed for his part in exiling her cousin. At this point She-Hulk excuses herself and overhears Pug's conversation with Mallory warning her against gaining revenge on Titania through the legal system. He explains that when he was desperate to prove that Jen was under Starfox's influence, he received a witch's potion that would remove it, but she wouldn't take it. Instead, he drank the potion himself since he couldn't put his feelings for her aside. Now he can only think of Jen as a friend and is indentured to another unnamed witch.

Back in Reed's makeshift lab, she and Jennifer are still arguing. When She-Hulk returns, a frustrated Jennifer grabs her by the arm and leads her out of the building to talk. They go to a nearby Japanese bar for saki (several in fact) karaoke ("Tubthumping" of course). Jen has a long talk with herself and offers her Alpha counterpart a chance to stay on Earth Beta while she leaves for Earth Alpha since she can't transform into She-Hulk anymore. Mallory finds them and encourages Jeniffer to stay, referring to her as the best lawyer the firm has (odd considering the animosity Mal has for her). Despite Mal's compliment, Jennifer decides to leave.

Back at the law office, the other Alphas have all been transported to their home world. Jennifer says her goodbyes and steps into the transporter. Seconds after she leaves, Reed has a revelation. He makes some adjustments to the machine and returns her to Earth Beta, complete with her powers. Reed explains to a slightly confused She-Hulk Beta that he modified the machine to align her atoms with her Alpha counterpart, who is nanite free, and was able to restore her powers. She-Hulk Alpha suggests that she return to her world, one in which she is free to be with her Pug who still loves her.

She-Hulk Beta remains unaware of Pug's sacrifice. She wants to go to dinner with him, in a platonic capacity of course. As they walk to the restaurant, she comments that he's her best friend. He responds "that's how it's how it's supposed to be".

General Comments

So ends the tenure of Dan Slott as the series writer. He goes out on a very well constructed issue in which he resolves many long running sub-plots, provides hilarious meta-commentary, and he actually retcons the "She-Hulk slept with Juggernaut" incident in a way that doesn't involve a deal with the Devil. You know, that sometimes elusive concept known as "a plausible explanation".

This series and it's immediate predecessor has been one of the best written titles of the last several years. It's great for new readers and the old-timers that actually read the referenced comics when they originally came out. The multi-layered humor is great and gives the reader a look at what *could* be interpreted as Dan Slott's view of the current Marvel Universe. And if it's not, those things need to be said.

Overall Rating

4.5 webs. A definite high point in the series for a variety of reasons. An enjoyable read from cover to cover.

 Posted: 2008