[15 February 2006]
She-Hulk#3 is actually She-Hulk#100. Really. If you add together the 25 issues of The Savage She-Hulk, the 60 issues of The Sensational She-Hulk, the 12 issues of the first, adjective-less She-Hulk series and the 3 issues of the current She-Hulk series, you have 100 issues featuring She-Hulk as a main character.
She-Hulk is a character rumored to have been created as a means of protecting a copyright. She was created so that no other company could leech off the popularity of Marvel’s Hulk by creating a She-Hulk of their own. Taking this into consideration, it’s amazing the character would still be seen in comic books at all, let alone making its 100th appearance in a comic bearing its name.
In most cases, anniversary issues are special occasions. They’re bigger than normal, feature either special guest stars or a culmination of an important storyline, and usually provide a recap of the history of the character contained within. She-Hulk#3 is an anniversary issue in this classic tradition.
She-Hulk#3 wraps up a recent storyline of the title. She-Hulk was hired as a lawyer in a case involving time travel. A jury was pooled from across time and one of the jurors pulled from the past was her recently killed teammate, Hawkeye. She-Hulk attempted to pass on a message to Hawkeye so that he may avoid his untimely demise. This was a crime in the eyes of the “Time Variance Authority”, which polices the time stream. They arrested She-Hulk and put her on trial. She-Hulk is not only defending her life, but also her very existence, for the punishment for her crime would be her being erased from all history.
This story lends itself to the usual trappings of an anniversary issue. People from throughout She-Hulk’s life are brought to the future to speak in her defense. This leads to guest stars aplenty, everyone from the Hulk and the Fantastic Four to the members of the supporting cast of her previous series. Recapping She-Hulk’s life through witness testimony is a unique way of chronicling the character’s history that makes it interesting for the reader.
Each piece of testimony is drawn by a different artist, which is why the artist credit features so many names. The guest artists add a special touch to the issue, especially artists with a history on the character such as Mike Vosburg, who drew part of the original Savage She-Hulk series, and Mike Mayhew, who was the cover artist on the last She-Hulk series.
Dan Slott writes an excellent issue. Writing a story about time travel is always a risky prospect, but Slott crafts an easy-to-understand story that doesn’t leave the reader confused. And the fact that he tailors his writing to each individual artist doesn’t go unnoticed. Each segment fits the style of the artist that draws it, which adds to the enjoyment of the issue.
As an added bonus, the first issues of The Savage She-Hulk and The Sensational She-Hulk are reprinted in their entirety. This gives readers new to the character a vital insight as to where the character came from and how she got to where she is today.
She-Hulk #3 is a sterling example of a great anniversary issue. It gives readers a lot for their money. It respects the 25 year history of the character while telling a satisfying story that stands on its own. It’s an issue which makes fans of She-Hulk look forward to the next 100 issues.
Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/she-hulk-3/