Or – “An Interesting End To An Entertaining Era.”


She-Hulk is a character who’s been through a lot of changes in her career, from her earliest incarnation as a savage counterpart to her cousin running about in a slashed-up nightie to her fourth-wall breaking antics in the 90’s, to her current run as super-lawyer, but I’ve never been as sad to see a She-Hulk era end as I am right now.  Dan Slott took a character created to, essentially, protect Marvel’s intellectual property and took an entirely new twist on the character and backstory.  It’s been a little over 3 years (counting the V.3 run) and in my opinion, Shulkie has never been this compelling, even during the John Byrne cheesecake-and-self-referencing era.  (It should also be noted that for me to like something better than sarcasm and hot half-dressed women, we’re looking at a pretty impressive body of work.)

She1.jpgPreviously, on She-Hulk: Jennifer Walters has become a specialist in superhuman law for the firm of Goodman, Lieber, Kurtzburg & Holliway, and has finally found the balance she’s been searching for in her life.  Balancing her She-Hulk antics with courtroom drama, she has also found a new cast of friends and accidentally created an ad hominem family.  Unfortunately, she chose the (subjectively, from my perspective) wrong side in the Civil War, helped Tony Stark to clean up a series of messes that he and the Illuminati created by rocketing the Hulk into space, and was betrayed by Tony, having her super-powers removed just because he didn’t want to bother with talking to her.  Now, she is in the midst of a lawsuit against Stark, as well as dealing with the fallout of the end of her marriage to John Jameson, the return of August “Pug” Pugliese, (who has a huge unrequited thing for her) and the fact that her colleague Mallory Book has just successfully defended the Leader using the defense that gamma powers change your personality.  So, with Jenny depowered forever, how is it that She-Hulk has just punched out the Rhino?


She-Hulk gets taken into custody by the NYPD, and processed into custody, all the while thinking “What happened?  I’ll tell you what happened.  I screwed up.  Somewhere down the line, I zigged where I shoulda zagged.”  She is thrown into a holding pen with alternate versions of Jack of Hearts, the first White Tiger, Hammer & Anvil, and Egghead (all deceased) as well as the late, lamented 3-D Man, and duplicates of Armadillo, Ms. Marvel, Mac Gargan as the Scorpion, and Monica “Captain Marvel II/Photon/Pulsar” Rambeau.  I sense a tiny dig at nextwave, there.  How are these people here, and why aren’t they dead/transcended/venomized/hanging out on a mountain in Croatia?  The answer is simple…  Well, it’s simple if you read enough comic books.


Being your friendly neighborhood comics historian and basic know-it-all, I can tell ya that this particular alternate world has appeared before (starting in Fantastic Four #118) and diverged when Johnny and Susan Storm did NOT talk Reed Richards into tagging along on their fateful rocket trip.  In a moment that is both awesome and a terrible can of worms, it is revealed that Earth-A counterparts of our heroes have been crossing over ‘on vacation’ and having adventures in their counterparts super-powered bodies, including Jennifer Walters Version 1.A.  When Mallory Book finds out what’s going on, she quickly sends one of her staff (and not unintentionally gets to needle a persistent pain in her aerobicized @$$ in so doing.)  Jen proceeds to stare at “herself” for nearly an hour before She-Hulk A finally cracks from the pressure.


“*snort*  Yeah…”  Jennifer screams “I KNEW IT!” and the most persistent bugaboo of the Chuck Austen age of comics is finally and decisively put to rest.  Their meeting is interrupted by the Two-Gun Kid with bad news.  Another one of the tourists is one Dirk Garthwaite, known to his friends (as well as a bloody Beta Ray Bill and Sasquatch) as The Wrecker.  Not realizing that her powers have been killed, Two-Gun requests She-Hulk’s assistance, and Jennifer sends her alternate to take him out.  Once in the field, Two-Gun can’t believe that somebody would waste vacation time pretending to be a stone killer, and She-Hulk A remarks, “What?  Don’t you have Grand Theft Auto on Earth B?”  Heh.  Tommy Vercetti represent!  Jenny A asks Jenny Prime why she doesn’t help out, and our Jen tells herself that she’s given up the hero gig.  Jennifer A can’t believe it, and quickly takes down Garthwaite.  We see that the problem is much more pervasive than we thought…


That does explain how Hulkling and Wiccan ended up on Tony’ Stark’s team (a question I’ve been wondering about, myself) and gets in a quick Star Trek joke to boot.  Bonus!  Pug walks through the office, and sees Mallory Book, now a partner in the firm, preparing to take on the defense for Titania (one of She-Hulk’s most unpleasant foes.)  “I wouldn’t cross that line, if I were you, Mal.”  Pug shares a cautionary tale, as well as explaining where he’s been since Civil War.


She’s really Morgan Le Fay, in case you weren’t tipped by the headbone choker, and she’s a real piece a’ work.  It also explains how Pug could resist the girl of his dreams last month, other than just being heartsick and bitter.  Back at GLK&B, civilian contractor Reed Richards has arrived to set up his transporter and send the tourists back to Earth A.  Jennifer arrives with her jade counterpart, dropping off a fake Doctor Strange, and refuses to speak to Reed.  He tries to explain, but she blows up in his face.  “I know what “explain” means to you, Richards!  It means to talk down!  To obfuscate!  To LIE!!”  Reed tries to tell her that all his decisions have been in her best interests, but she won’t take it, reminding him about his decision to exile her cousin, the nanites he helped develop, and stalks off, grabbing her alternate on the way out…


Drunken karaoke is one of the awesome joys of adulthood, in my opinion, and I highly recommend it to everyone.  Jen is stunned to find that she is being nay-sayed by none other than Mallory Book herself!  Her greatest ‘frenemy’ explains that now that she’s not competing with Jen, Mallory realizes that She-Hulk is a great asset, a superhuman lawyer.  Jennifer doesn’t want any part of it, and is ready to head off to Earth-B to live a life of normalcy, leaving her alternate to fill the She-Hulk void on our world.  The cops of Code Blue get the 411 from Reed on whether this can happen again, and he explains that we’ll almost certainly see more holes to Earth A in the future, and one of the cops remarks that “when something messed-up happens, we have to assume it’s because of some idiot who couldn’t be bothered to take five minutes to read their darned handbook?”  Heh.  It gets better when another officer replies, “That, and some A-Hole let ’em get through.”  HA!  I am totally man-crushing on Dan Slott right now…  That’s a moment of perfection, right there.  As Jennifer prepares to step through to Earth-A, she tells Reed she’s sorry, and tells him that “No two ways about it…  It’s for the best.”


They don’t call him Mister Fantastic because of his perfectly graying temples, ladies and germs!  Our Jenny is back to full strength, and Stu the intern remarks “Hey!  That’s the Dr. Pulaski transporter solution from Next Gen!”  His fellow research geeks point out that this makes two Star Trek references in one day, remarking that it’s as though they’re in a Peter David comic  “I wish!” replies another.  Heh.  Jennifer A heads home, and Stu the intern reveals that he’s also leaving, having secured a writing gig at Marvel, and Jen gets Mallory to give her job back.  Both Jennifers are safely home, and both Jennifers have the same idea: spend some time with their dear Pug…


…though for different reasons.  It’s touching to see the Pug subplot end this way, giving us both the happy ending and the “Pretty In Pink” ending where Ducky continues to be her best friend.  This issue was hyped as the one that will solve most of the continuity problems in Marvel Comics for all time, and with a simple “Mirror Universe” plot, it’s done that, but there’s more going on here.  Dan Slott is a master of taking an established piece of Marvel continuity (like She-Hulk being a lawyer, or the High Tribunal, or even old Howard the Duck magazine tales) and turn it into an integral part of a story.  These references to continuity don’t feel forced in, seamlessly melding into the events with an ease not seen since Mark Gruenwald passed on, and I’m really gonna miss Dan here, even as I look forward to next issue’s Peter David debut.

This issue had excellent character work, some nice bits of business regarding the alterna-Jenny, an answer to the Juggernaut question, Reed’s return from asshattery, drunken karaoke, and several nice digs at the writers and editors at Marvel.  Pretty much the total package, and it’s an excellent cap to Slott’s run on She-Hulk, earning a well-deserved 4.5 out of 5 stars, one of which is given solely for the “some A-Hole” line.  PAD is the kind of writer who I don’t question in terms of quality, but even though I expect awesomeness of the David She-Hulk, I’m still going to miss Slott’s awesome Jenny…



About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.


  1. One question: Did the ending suggest that the “Pugs” switched places, one living the dream.Or did I totally read that wrong.

    I didn’t read it that way, thought it’s not impossible. It did, however, give us Jen and Pug happy together without handing a new author a relationship that he may or may not want… :) I’m good with it, though your interpretation works for me as well.

  2. My favorite line was seeing Wiccan being shocked he joined the initiative. What’s Tony Stark’s excuse, right? Amen to your review and to Slott’s run on this title. Slott’s attention to detail and plotting gives me hope for his upcoming Spider-Man run no matter how much Marvel tries to screw up Peter Parker…

  3. So a bunch of plot holes and character inconsistantcies are answered in a single comic that a lot of people aren’t going to read. Make mine Marvel!

  4. Sounds like a fun issue, if you know what the heck is going on.

    And not bashing or trying to start anything, but Marvel Editors have had a time making fun of the the “Superboy Punch,” and then they publishes this!? ROFLMAO

  5. Ah, tis good to see Vermin and classic Dazzler again…

    Also, that one ‘Bah’ panel just kills me. It really does.

    I should mention that Slott has noted he only included Monica Rambeau because she had dead parents and childhood powers in Nextwave, that she does not have now.

  6. Man, how sweet would it have been to have all the past few years of BS screech to a halt and get wrapped up in the pages of lil’ ol’ She-Hulk. Everything, from Civil War to WWH, to One More Day, to the Death of Cap, just….SCREEEEECH. “It was all Tourists from Dimension A!”

    Oh well. Tom Welling PUNCH!!!

  7. Marvel is in a certain place creatively that I believe will only change if there is a shift in the EIC. Joey Q is great at orchestrating the big events; he sucks at the follow up. The next Grand Puba in Chief will have to do a lot of Damage/Continuity Control…that is if he or she isn’t trying too hard to top Quesada. I grew up as a child of Marvel, but DC earns a lot of my cash these days because it seems like they focus on good stories and grand events. There is currently a cohesion to their universe that Marvel has lost. Probably because the big Marvel writers conceive their own mini-verses as opposed to working in the larger context of the Marvel U. (Wow…am I still talking about She-Hulk #21?)

  8. The X-Men titles are the worst when it comes to creating that “writing bubble” that makes them seem like they exist in their own universe.

    The Initiative was suppose to resolve that, but I think World War Hulk pretty much brough every hero back to Manhatten, which seems to big enough for all of Marvel’s greats to work independently without interacting with each other (the exception to the rule being Wolverine, who is every where at once. Seriously, just admit already that his secondary mutant power is omnipresence.) until the Summer long big event, and by Summer I mean year-long because they love to stretch them up for good year long sales.

  9. Doesn’t this leave a potential “out” so that Marvel can make Stark a good guy again without actually have to do any real work?

    Maybe I’m just overthinking this…

  10. Doesn’t this leave a potential “out” so that Marvel can make Stark a good guy again without actually have to do any real work?

    Maybe I’m just overthinking this…

    It certainly seems to, though She-Hulk’s title never affects the mainstream books that much. If it ain’t written by Bendis, JMS, or Brubaker, it’s pretty much in it’s own little world (and, really, I like it better than way.)

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