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Headlines   2004 Review Index   Nov 17, 2004
Suspended Animation

Michael Vance

Mark Allen

Michael Vance Books

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     Marvel Comics' new ongoing title, She-Hulk, proves that any comic property can be made entertaining with the right combination of ideas.  Basically, there is no such thing as a poor property, in my opinion, only poor creative direction.

     Take the Hulk's cousin, super-hero/trial lawyer, She-Hulk, aka Jennifer Walters.  Seemingly a cheap spin-off character, she has previously enjoyed two other fairly-successful series.  In this latest venture, She-Hulk has been asked to work for the law firm that got her fired from her last job.  The catch: they want to employ Jen Walters, not her high-profile alter-ego.  What's more, the Avengers have just kicked Walters out of the mansion for abusing her privileges.

     And, as if THAT wasn't enough, she was just dumped by an underwear model who found her too shallow.

     Not comfortable with her smaller, weaker self, "Shulkie" now has to come to terms with being Walters professionally, while practicing in the fledgling field of superhuman law. 

     Marvel opted for the "humor" aspect in this book, and, really, where else could you go?  The wild thing about it is, it works!  She-Hulk is funny.  Quirky.  Entertaining.  And it has the "feel" of something that has never been done.  I mean, where else do you read about lawyers using night-vision goggles and diving helmets to meet with subterranean and Atlantean clients, respectively?  What other book has chronicled Spider-Man's de-famation lawsuit against J. Jonah Jameson?  Get the idea?  Uncharted territory, here.

     Kudos to writer Dan Slott for pulling it off, with outstanding characterization, to boot.  Add to that a refreshing, individualized art style that ably captures the humor of the book, by penciler Juan Bobillo and inker Marcelo Sosa, and you have what could be considered one of the most buzz-worthy comics on the market, today.  Oh, yeah, there's super-hero action, as well.

     Recommended for all but the youngest readers, She-Hulk takes the emerald giantess...and readers...where they have never been before.  How rare is that?

     She-Hulk, published by Marvel Comics, 32 pages, $2.99.

     Review by Mark Allen

MINIVIEW: DCU: The Mag for the DC Fan [Excaliber] If you don't know what DCU, DC, Mag, or Fan means, you aren't a hardcore fan of comics and won't enjoy this fanzine on "The Doom Patrol", a '60s superhero team. You won't even understand it.  But if you are a hardcore comics fan, you'll love this magazine packed with comics history and art. Recommended. Michael Vance

Johnny Raygun

     "What's gonna happen when Johnny squares off against…THE MENACE OF THE MIGHTY MOOG!" Johnny Raygun #1.

     My fifteen-year mission has been to recommend comic books that adults might enjoy who don't read them. Therefore:

     Johnny Raygun Red Flag #1: Most adults don't care about THE MIGHTY MOOG or characters with silly, capitalized names. In fact, most adults don't read fantasy, SF, horror, super-hero or adventure based literature. Neither are they fond of spandex-clad super-anything's or pun-laden dialogue. Sales figures don't lie. 

     Johnny Raygun Red Flag #2: Most adults don't read comic books, and won't understand the dozens of clever, subtle, visual and verbal jokes that require an extensive knowledge of comic books.

     As example, they won't understand that The Moog is both homage to and a parody of artist and writer Jack Kirby and the monsters he created for Marvel Comics in the '50s and '60s. 

     Johnny Raygun Red Flag #3: Most adults equate thick-lined, minimalistic art (even when it is excellent) with Saturday morning cartoons, and those are for children.

     Johnny Raygun Yellow Flag #1: If, however, you do enjoy a loving but tongue-in-cheek, light-hearted ad-venture centered around spandex-clad, pun-slinging heroes who require five decades worth of knowledge about comics titles and characters to fully appreciate, you must surrender and buy this well-drawn and written little sucker.

     This fun romp and Raygun #2 (just released) are recommended for the young and the young at heart. MV

     Johnny Raygun #1/22pgs. for $2.95 from Jetpack Press/story and art by Rich Woodall and Matt Talbot/sold at and comic book shops.

     Review by Michael Vance - Vance has been nominated for the '04 SLF Fountain Award for Best Short Story. For info on his work, send a query to

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