Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Entertaining, But Not Enlightening: She-Hulk: Law And Disorder!

The Good: A fast read, Funny, Engaging characters
The Bad: Simplistic, Poor artwork for a big chunk of the book!
The Basics: She-Hulk: Law And Disorder is a fun comic book anthology, but it lacks the weight of genuine significance or complicated characters.

Both Marvel Comics and DC Comics have undergone reboots in the last few years, which has altered continuity of some of their major franchises. As a reader and reviewer, that has left me a bit wary of continuing with many of the beloved characters I've enjoyed from Marvel and DC. Still, with the latest Marvel Now! She-Hulk books suddenly coming my way, I figured it was worth it to check in on one of the Marvel characters I had devoted a year to. Ironically, with picking up and reading She-Hulk: Law And Disorder, I was treated to the Marvel Now! versions of two of my prior characters: She-Hulk and Daredevil!

Despite the reboots, She-Hulk: Law And Disorder depicts She-Hulk as remarkably unchanged by things like M-Day, changes to the Fantastic Four, and whatever other major events have recently befallen the Marvel Comic Book Universe continuity. She-Hulk tends to be a title that blends fun and humor with engaging stories, most of which blend super heroes and legal matters and She-Hulk: Law And Disorder maintains that trend.

Jennifer Walters has been working for the law firm of Paine & Luckberg for a year when she is called in for her annual evaluation. Expecting a big bonus based on her billable hours, she is shocked when she is hit with bad news of how the partners believe she is underperforming (based on her not bringing any business in from her super hero billionaire friends). Seeing her future at the firm limited, she quits, goes out to a lawyer bar and runs into a woman who has been hitting up every lawyer in the place, trying to get justice for her dead husband. Walters takes the case when she sees it is against Tony Stark and she thinks with a single conversation she can resolve the matter. Unfortunately for her, she is mired in a conflict with Stark's "Legal" (the representative of Stark's empire who is essentially a slimy lawyer who acts as a gatekeeper for Stark). When Jennifer gets evidence that Stark's people did steal her client's repulsor technology, she cuts a deal with Tony Stark and the resulting payment from her client allows her to open up shop in an undesireable part of Brooklyn that she can afford.

After hiring Angie, a strange woman with a monkey who seems to have the abilities of a Pusher, Jennifer goes out for a drink and runs into Patsy Walker (Hellcat), who is having a pretty bad go of things. Patsy gets drunk and she and Walters go out an knock over a little A.I.M. lab before Walters hires Patsy to be her private investigator for the firm. Soon, they have a case when Kristoff Vernard arrives and wants to defect from Latveria, where his father (Victor Von Doom) is forcing him to become the country's absolute ruler. Walters protects her client long enough to get him to a hearing, but then discovers that protecting him from Doctor Doom is a bigger task than just a legal matter. After that, Walters begins looking into the sole file she took with her from Paine & Luckberg; the blue file, which is a lawsuit in which she is named. When Walters, Angie, and Walker start looking into the content of the case, they uncover a bizarre mind-control trigger that leaves Walters questioning what has happened to her in the past and what has been removed from her memory!

Jennifer Walters remains a consistent character, regardless of the apparent reboot of other big events in the Marvel Comic Book Universe. She is a smart lawyer and her creativity with the law is shown a little bit in Law And Disorder. Beyond that, she is wry and delightfully sarcastic. Writer Charles Soule plays that well with Walters and makes her well-rounded between her professional and super-hero lives.

Soule also deserves a lot of credit for writing Angie so effectively. Without explicitly stating it in Law And Disorder, there is something seriously off about Angie. People do what she tells them to and the "pusher" aspect to her sets up an interesting potential for subsequent volumes. And the relationship between Angie and Hei Hei - her monkey - is just weird . . . in a good way.

The art in Law And Disorder is fine for a few of the chapters, but then degenerates quickly. The last two issues that are part of the anthology are absolute shit for lines and perspective. They look like one of my drawings and I once had a traveling art exhibition called "An Argument For A Novelist To Stick To Writing!" Even the quality of the coloring takes a dive in the latter part of the book, which is a severe disappointment, given how bold the colors are at the book's outset.

Ultimately, Law And Disorder is entertaining, but does not have an enduring quality to it. While Kristoff's section clearly makes a statement that even being forced to rule a country is inhibiting freedom, it is not the most powerful example of a human rights violation. The result is a volume that is entertaining at best.

For other She-Hulk books, please visit my reviews of:
The Sensational She-Hulk
Single Green Female
The Avengers: The Search For She-Hulk
Superhuman Law
Time Trials
Laws Of Attraction
She-Hulk: Planet Without A Hulk
Fall Of The Hulks: The Savage She-Hulks
Red She-Hulk, Volume 2: Route 616
Marvel Her-oes


For other book reviews, please check out my Book Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2015 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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