When a Marvel-Verse collection hits the shelves, it’s more than likely because an MCU television or movie is on the way for the title character. The last Marvel-Verse release focused on Shang-Chi, and previous volumes include Captain Marvel, Deadpool & Wolverine, Iron Man, Venom, Thanos, and Black Panther. This week, it’s She-Hulk’s turn, in this smaller-sized trade paperback that features five stories to catch you up to speed on She-Hulk throughout the decades to give you a sample of the character.
Starting with her origin by Stan Lee and John Buscema, this book collects the fourth wall-breaking She-Hulk in Sensational She-Hulk #4 by John Byrne, a cartoony take by Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover in King-Size Spider-Man Summer Special #1, the purple costume version in Avenger Spider-Man #7 by Kathryn Immonen and Stuart Immonen, and finally a Gamora team up in Guardians Team-Up #4 by John Layman and Otto Schmidt. I can’t say this is the most complete collection for a beginner, especially since it skips over her more recent dumb-Hulk phase, but it gives you a sense of her personality.
The first two books collected here are classics. Stan Lee’s introduction of the character certainly shows its age, but it’s good to know how she got her powers. Following this up is some of the most creative fourth wall breaking in comics ever, as well as the strongest example of She-Hulk being a lawyer in this collection. In this stale, She-Hulk fights Stilt-Man, and Byrne uses longer panels to show how stupidly tall Stilt-Man is and how awkward that makes a fight. These two stories are well worth rereading or reading for the first time.
Next is the King-Size Spider-Man Summer Special, which is an odd choice since She-Hulk isn’t in half the story. Its cartoony style gives it a younger-reader feel and might be collected here for that audience.
Following this is the impeccably drawn Avenging Spider-Man #7 set in a museum. It involves an Egyptian god, lots of cats, and hijinks only Spider-Man could bring. It also shows off how powerful She-Hulk is and how she has an edge.
Wrapping up the book is Guardians Team-Up #4, which features a clever hook for these two characters to meet up. An alien race is trying to find Gamora who has fled to Earth, but how hard can it be to find a green female on a planet of humans? Pretty hard, apparently! Outside of the fun fight comics which Schmidt pulls off splendidly, She-Hulk and Gamora meet and bond a bit. It’s fun to see a space hero like Gamora chat up a much more grounded Earth hero like She-Hulk.
This is a good collection with a spattering of modern She-Hulk tales along with two classics. Marvel-Verse: She-Hulk gives you a great taste of She-Hulk’s personality, which is a fine start in discovering the character.
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