Axel-In-Charge: "Secret Wars" Jam Session Talking "A-Force," "Ultimate End" and More
Man, I love She-Hulk.
The idea of She-Hulks (plural) took me some time to get used to, but now I can see the need for each and all the fun stories that we get to read thanks to two Jade Giantesses. Part of this realization is thanks to Harrison Wilcox and Ryan Stegman, the duo that brought us the gone-too-soon She-Hulks mini-series. It was fun seeing Jennifer Walters be her big, beautiful self (even if she wasn’t so big all the time). I want to see more of Lyra as a young woman raised on a far-flung Femizon future, but what can you do with four issues, right? We had a great time with a fun and very youthful art style, the ladies were ladies as well as fighters and everyone learned a little something in the end. Facial expressions were absolutely brilliant and I feel like I know a little more about Lyra, just by watching her eyes well up with tears when she’s sad or how her mouth drops open when she’s in shock.
I miss the big and vivacious She-Hulk hiding her mousy human self behind her, but the new Jen is a lot more mature and in control; while she’s still comforting herself in bubble baths and the arms of Wyatt Wingfoot, she’s more centered and kind of heading out on a new path in her life, just with a mentee in tow. Jen and Lyra had a great rapport with not just each other, but Bruce Banner and the villains they faced. In fact, I would really like to see more of “Bruce’s Angels,” the sort of sexier, funnier version of X-Force for the Hulk set.
With the series being limited to just four issues, I think the readers missed out on a lot. The last issue had to deliver on so much it didn’t match the previous issues, making me 98% certain this wasn’t supposed to be a mini-series at all, but an ongoing (wasn’t it first solicited as an ongoing?). Even the end message is that sometimes you protect people that fear and hate you. I know what he’s getting at, but Mr. Wilcox sounds like he’s swiping from the X-Men’s tagline. Yeah, people fear and hate mutations for what that makes them in the evolutionary food chain, because there’s a science out there that can’t be easily explained or ‘cured’, that there’s some envy when the guy next door can fly and you got your dad’s pimply face gene, etc. Personally, I think people ‘fear and hate’ the Hulk (or Hulk-ism, to coin a term) because people don’t like seeing how close they are to becoming a monster themselves. The Hulk is emotionally-driven and, while we may not be able to trow a truck when we get mad, sometimes it can feel like your emotions get the best of you and you can say things you don’t mean, break things you didn’t want broken and make yourself and others miserable. We hate and fear the Hulk because science doesn’t fuel him in so much as the human condition does.
Wow, I got off track. Anyhow, She-Hulks ended on a note that Wilcox and Stegman should have had just a few more pages to explain. Because they had less time, I sort of filled in the blanks in my head; I could totally be off base and they Wilcox meant something totally different with the ending of his story, but will be ever know? Why did this feel so short? How do some stories get to be mini-series? Or back-up stories or quarterly issues?
It’s been said that Sean McKeever has a survey group of teenage girls chained in his basement and, in exchange for their opinions and feelings, they get one hour of Gossip Girl a week and a poster of the Jonas Brothers to encourage development.
Wait. That’s probably not true. But it has been said, mostly cited as a reason for why his Mary Jane-focused series-mini-series-then-series-again comics were such absolute joys to read for fans of all ages and genders. By the time we got Mary Jane Loves Spider-Man (a very Joanie Loves Chachi title for me but that reference was so not in the target demographic), we had to say goodbye as our Pal left for the Distinguished Competition. Never fear, I thought to myself, some good could come from this! Maybe they’ll put him on Supergirl, another can-do gal who could easily be put into that rich and delicious McKeever high school setting that feels oh my gosh, just like <i>mine</i>. At DC, the plucky can-do gal can fight super-villains at the same time she’s trying to get her best friend on speaking terms with the friend’s ex and oh, the stories just write themselves! Sean McKeever can really set the stage of high school life without making it feel hackneyed or childish so I expected they’d really let him work with the DCU.
Short answer: it didn’t go very well.