Or – “Names Are Important…  Names Have Emotional Value.”


Here’s something that bugs me in comics: the moment where we reveal a new character using an existing name. “Here’s the new Hawkeye!”  “Here’s the new Goliath!” “Here’s the new Kid Colt!”  Well, what the hell happened to the other one?  I’ve referenced Ronin who was Echo being Hawkeye who was Goliath who was Giant-Man who was Yellowjacket who is the Wasp, but is not a woman, even though the second Yellowjacket WAS.  The use of an existing name, or worse, two characters FIGHTING over a name always have the potential to put off readers who are familiar with the old version, (and every character is SOMEBODY’S favorite like Jennifer Walters has been one of mine.)  In this situation, we have a new character who shares an old one’s name, co-opts another character’s costume, and borrows a pretty sizable chunk of Cable’s origin.  Can these particular parts be outweighed by the sum of her being?

SH2.jpgPreviously, on All-New Savage She-Hulk:  Thundra came to Marvel Earth many, many years ago, to defeat the strongest man in her world’s history (Aunt Petunia’s bashful nephew Benjy) and prove once and for all that women were the superior gender.  Having travelled in space and time back to the world of today Thundra (or at least some futuristic alternate version thereof) captures genetic material from the most powerful warrior ever (unfortunately NOT Aunt Petunia’s bashful nephew Benjy) and cloned a child with her own DNA, leading to the genesis of Lyra, a green-skinned daughter with elements of both her parents.  Sadly, though, the future ain’t what it used to be, and Lyra is forced to take action, leaping into the timestream and emerging (as all time-travellers do) in the 616 universe of ‘right now.’  She’s huge, she’s green, she’s deadly, and she’s all about female superiority.  But, the important question to ask yourself is:  What could a person like this be seeking, and who will she beat senseless to get it?

For the second time in recent weeks, we open in the headquarters of ARMOR (Alternate Reality Monitoring And Operational Response) as they find an incoming bogey from another world, Earth-8009.  They’ve dealt with this world before, so they mobilize, armed for bear, but still get surprised by the arrival of their bogey.  “Death to Phallo-Fascists!” cries a metallic voice from the attackers wristband, “Your futile attempts at resistance will only further prove the superiority of the female gender.”  The green warrior smashes through the ARMOR line (“Boudicca…  Shut off taunting mode.”  Heh…) easily taking them out with a little strategy, stealing a beam weapon and aiming down into the street.  “You know what I like best about the twenty first century?  Gas mains.”  She blows up the entire street with one shot, then takes off running, concerned that she only has a few hours to save the world.  FLASH!!! AHH-AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

A flash-back (Flash-forward?  Flash-Sidewise?) reveals the truth of her mission, as we see the truth about Femizonia: the genetic stock has been damaged, and no more “sisters” can be born, and revealing a telling “Oscorp” logo on the cloning technology.  Lyra leads her women across the ruins of a future New York, revealing the deaths of the “overmen” and encountering a group of male savages, apparently emulating the long-dead Wolverine, still overexposed in the far-flung future.  Back (Forward?) in the future but also her past, Lyra finds that things on this Earth are slightly different, with Avengers Mansion destroyed and the recent Secret Civil Invasion Reign War thingy.  She steals an ARMOR agent and flees, only to get knocked right the hell out by an unseen assailant.  Her AI wristband, Boudicca, cries that she’s running out of time, and her opponent agrees.  “That’s just what *I* was about to say,” replies Jennifer Walters, the Sensational She-Hulk, pressing her attack as we fade to black…

I’m still on the fence about this issue, for a lot of reasons.  I don’t like the use of the She-Hulk name, especially with the original actually in the book, and I’m not entirely sold on Lyra as a character.  Her visual, however striking it may be, is just a mashup of She-Hulk and Thundra, and the issue doesn’t give us a whole lot to love about her in terms of character, what with the mass destruction, and the yelling and the GLAVIN!  Still, it’s well written (by Fred Van Lente, one of my new fave-raves) it fits snugly into continuity at some point during the Dark Avengers fiasco, and there’s a Norman Osborn appearance with both Venom AND Dark Wolverine that threatens to take my “TOPICAL CAMEO” meter into the red, with the possibility of bursting into flames.  There’s potential here, and the art is very striking throughout, so it’s not as though the issue was a failure, but it’s still got a lot of rough eges that I’d like to see sanded down before I can whole-heartedly recommend it..  All-New Savage She-Hulk #1 ranks 2 out of 5 stars, and at least enough goodwill that I expect to be onboard for all four issues…


The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

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.

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  1. Salieri
    April 19, 2009 at 6:38 am — Reply

    I move that we do the same as we have with Loeb’s Hulk takeover: call it silly names, then ignore it. Suggestions include:

    Red Hulk = Rulk + She = She-Rulk

    Thundra + Hulk = Thulk

    She-Hulk + Savage = Sav-Hulk? She-Savage?

    Anyway, she’s too rubbish to last for much longer because her backstory relies entirely on this convoluted alternate future and her first story is a tie-in to a multi-story event. Jen Walters’ origin is a simple, one-sentence deal: “The Hulk gave his cousin a blood transfusion, now she is an intelligent She-Hulk”.

    Compare that to “A warrior woman from a civilisation of sexually confused savages in a future that may or may not happen stole the DNA of the Hulk by punching him and cloned off a daughter who looks just like her except green and who then had to save her people by beating up other people back when Norman Osborn was in charge for some reason.”

    Not exactly…timeless, is it?

  2. ~wyntermute~
    April 19, 2009 at 10:44 pm — Reply

    “The Redheaded Hulkchild.” As in “I will beat you like a redheaded step..er, hulkchild.” :D

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