She-Hulk and company are on the case of the “blue file,” but will their search for the truth get cut short by… demons?
I have been a huge fan of Charles Soule’s run so far on She-Hulk; it took a character I had relatively little interest in previously and brought her to life in a way that was fun, no-nonsense, and even sexy at times. Over the course of the previous five issues, Jennifer Walters has been established as a strong, level-headed attorney with the mission of helping out the superhero community. By the end of this issue, I feel like she’s flipped into a woman that just doesn’t want any trouble (though she also might be hypnotized).
This current arc, Blue, enters its second issue with She-Hulk #6, continuing along the storyline with Jennifer and her crew working to dig up information on a mysterious event in North Dakota that links Jennifer, Tigra, Doctor Druid, Shocker, Monica Rambeau, Vibro, and Nightwatch.
Last issue we saw Tigra zone out and go crazy on Patsy, and this issue picks up with Jennifer meeting them in the hospital to talk out what happened. It’s fairly evident that some kind of mind control or hypnosis is afoot, and Jennifer wisely decides that it might be best to tread lightly for fear of sending another person into a murderous rampage. We see some humorous banter lighten the mood in the hospital – Patsy is “on the good stuff” in recovery – but we’re quickly reminded that all is not well as Angie ends up in a pretty tight spot. Next, we’re back to Jennifer’s office to meet with Nightwatch and fight some demons that show up! This is a great action scene with some of the best art in the issue with a two-page spread that portrays a scene that is frantic and dangerous.
Post-fight is where things break apart in the writing, and I’m not sure if it’s because the characters themselves are breaking apart, or if Soule is changing up what made the characters great until this point. Immediately we see a shift in Jennifer’s interests that have been been building up for the past two issues (literally a third of the series). From everything that had been indicated previously, she seemed like the kind of woman to see things through to the end. Is the change of direction a result of the hypnosis, or are we really going to move to a new storyline? Jennifer herself says, “Maybe better just to let sleeping dogs lie.” This just doesn’t sound like the She-Hulk I’ve just gotten to know.
A few more strange and out-of-character interactions take place between Patsy and Jennifer regarding her powers, and between Jennifer and other characters. Again, is this a result of the hypnosis or just inconsistent character writing? I hope this will be resolved in a future issue but for now it just doesn’t sit right. The issue then closes out by indicating what’s next up on the storyline docket, but what happened to the blue file? I hope we’re not just abandoning this now right when it was getting good.
Friends, let’s talk about this Ron Wimberly art, which was used both last issue and this issue. I’d say it’s safe to say this art is polarizing, and most people I’ve talked with hate it. It’s far from a traditional Marvel art style, and resembles something you’re much more likely to see in an indie comic from the 90’s. I personally find that it suits the book incredibly well and looks great. As noted earlier, it works particularly well across the fight scene spreads, complete with demon crazy eyes, BAMF!’s, and an epic “She-Hulk SMASH” portrayal (and yes, that is what I said in my head as Jennifer crashed down on those little buggers).
Wimberly’s art style features characters that are very angular, and at times there is very sparse detail, particularly in the shading and backgrounds. If you love a lot of bulging muscles and crosshatching in your superheroes, this art might not be for you. I believe it works particularly well to help Jennifer stand out as the pillar of strength that she’s been known to be, and it’s frenetic enough to successfully set the tone of confusion and uncertainty these characters experience as they try to discover the truth of the blue file.
I’m the first to admit that I might be proven wrong by the seemingly strange character interactions as the series continues, but for now I’m disappointed that a new storyline is opened while what we’ve been building to is left far from resolution. Luckily, this is still a very good issue with a little glimpse into Angie’s secrets and one heck of a fight scene (it may be worth it to buy the issue for that alone)!
The Verdict: 7.0/10