Tuesday, September 27, 2016

She-Hulk Volume 7: Here Today Completes The Dangling Storylines Before The Next Big Event!

The Good: Good character elements, Most of the artwork
The Bad: Short, Does not stand on its own well, Mixed artwork in the one-shot
The Basics: She-Hulk Volume 7: Here Today would have been much more effective a work had it simply been folded into the prior volume.

Despite the popular terminology, there are actually very few, true, graphic novels. Most "graphic novels" are actually trade anthologies that are merely collections of previously-published comic books, without their advertisement pages. The difference is an important one and one of my pet peeves in recent years has been in watching how trade paperback anthologies are compiled from the comic books. In addition to major storylines that keep fidelity to the original releases, as opposed to the story - i.e. integral chapters that are in multiple titles are separated by title, as opposed to the overall storyline - there are often problematic compilations that are in no way organic to the story being told. She-Hulk Volume 7: Here Today is one such anthology.

She-Hulk Volume 7: Here Today is a compilation of only three comic books and a non-related one-shot (She-Hulk: Cosmic Collision) and it is not nearly enough to hold its own as its own book. The three chapter story picks up where Peter David's tenure on She-Hulk left off with Volume 6: Jaded (reviewed here!) and one has to wonder why (outside profit motive from Marvel Comics) the chapters were kept out of the previous volume. After all, Jaded left off with a pretty huge dangling story element what was unresolved. She-Hulk Volume 7: Here Today completes the incomplete plotline and fills in the important character gap from Peter David's start and the She-Hulk volumes that preceded his tenure.

Following the trail of Bran, Jennifer Walters is arrested in Cleveland, hours after her last incarceration. Flashing back, Walters and Jazinda learn that Bran Murphy is at a Cleveland Browns game and track him to the stadium. When cornered, Bran throws She-Hulk, much to her surprise. Bran is guarding Mr. Moore and claims to have never been to New York City when She-Hulk vows to take him back to stand for his crimes. Moore believes that She-Hulk has been sending him death threats for his part in getting her disbarred two months prior. While Walters tells her story to her cellmate, Bran gets Arthur Moore's story of the past few months and takes action of his own.

Walters's incarceration ends when she is visited by George Wanamaker, who cuts a deal with She-Hulk. Moore has been killed and the logical suspect is Bran, who is now super-sized and rampaging through Cleveland. Walters assists Hercules in stopping Bran, while Jazinda visits Murphy's wife and discovers the truth about Bran. Defeating the current incarnation of the Celtic demigod leads to answers and Walters hooking up with Hercules right before Jazinda senses the presence of the Talisman on Earth.

The book concludes with a one-shot, which has She-Hulk and Jazinda working with the Lady Liberators. Jennifer Walters and Jazinda are hunting a minor criminal, Captain Feral, when they are attacked by the vastly-powerful Unum. They are teleported away, Walters to the Lady Liberators (Thundra, Sue Richards, Valyrie, and Storm), while Jazinda finds herself among aliens like Gamora and Mantis. The two teams break through the barrier separating them from one another when they are attacked again by Unum, the embodiment of Enmity.

The flashback to explain Jennifer Walters's disbarment makes Mallory Book's appearance two chapters prior make a lot more sense and the lack of the story in the prior volume make no narrative sense. Walters was working at Goodman, Lieber, Kurtzbery & Book when Moore, also known as Dark Art, hired her to defend him in court (while promising to destroy She-Hulk later). The idea that the Marvel Civil War event kept powerful heroes from noticing important crimes being perpetrated against humans is a very clever one and it motivates Jennifer Walters to rage against Dark Art and break attorney/client privilege after kicking his ass. She-Hulk Volume 7: Here Today puts the character elements for She-Hulk and Jazinda together well, but they do not stand at all well on their own as a coherent story.

She-Hulk Volume 7: Here Today is also hampered by some ridiculous comic book dialogue. Even Peter David cannot sell likes like "Sod you and your facts" and ". . . no blessed idea what you're talking about."

While the three main chapters of She-Hulk Volume 7: Here Today have recognizable characters and impressive coloring, that is not consistent throughout. She-Hulk Volume 7: Here Today is plagued by erratic artwork from the main story to one-shot, which has many panels that are not as detailed.

Ultimately, She-Hulk Volume 7: Here Today is not bad, it is incomplete and so heavily dependent upon other works that it cannot effectively stand on its own.

For other She-Hulk books from this period in Jennifer Walter's life, please visit my reviews of:
Single Green Female
Superhuman Law
Time Trials
Laws Of Attraction
Planet Without A Hulk
Secret Invasion


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

© 2016 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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