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She-Hulk #21 Review
by the Fanboy
guest starring Doom
Best. Issue. EVER.
The issue's title is "Another Me, Another U". BETTER THAN MAUS.
For all my dislike of current Marvel (or as I call it, nu Marvel), I must admit there is some material of what I buy that I like (I buy every Marvel comic in order to keep my collection continuous). I am a big fan of Dan Slott. He 'gets' it. He gets that comics aren't supposed to be about 'new stories' or 'new characters', they're supposed to be about continuity and referring to previous stories written decades ago. The great example of this is in She-Hulk, a title he is unfortunately leaving after #21, the issue I am reviewing (he is being replaced by that Jewmonger Peter David). Said final issue of his run may very well be the greatest comic book written in history. Why? Because it's about continuity. The entire issue was made to explain continuity. God, I love it.
You have to realize, Marvel has a lot of continuity errors. Continuity errors I find myself having to craft elaborate explanations for when discussing comics in my comic shop. Because if I can't explain why something happens, my brain explodes. It's a medical condition. Dan Slott's She-Hulk is the only help in my corner. It's a wonderful series rife with references to things that happened in the best. The plot to this issue is proof: the solicitations claimed #21 would explain away 90% of the 616 continuity errors, and it did. Check this out. Marvel-A is an alternate Earth in the Marvel multiverse, where Reed Richards became the Thing and Ben Grimm Mr. Fantastic. It seems there are a lot of tourists coming from Earth-A to Earth 616. When someone from Earth-A is brought to the 616, they're told to act as though they're a part of the 616, with a character bio from the Handbook of the Marvel Universe serving as their cover story. So when you see someone in their old costume, it's really a version of the character from Earth-A. My...my...my God. I...it's perfect.
I never thought I could be so happy in my lifetime. This has finally solved all of my problems in life. It explains away Nextwave by saying the Monica Rambeau who developed powers as a child and has deceased parents is from Earth-A. The Wiccan and Hulkling from the Initiative are from Earth-A. The Scorpion, the Armadillo, Ape-Beast, 3-D Man...ALL EXPLAINED. DEAR GOD, IT'S ALL SO BEAUTIFUL! I feel like crying. This, THIS is what all comics should be. A writer laboriously explaining continuity errors made by his colleagues. None of this 'story' crap. Slott even goes so far as to retcon away She-Hulk sleeping with the Juggernaut. Refuting that event is perhaps the greatest part of She-Hulk history, in my humble opinion. Better than her creation, better than her adventures, better than anything else. Her defining character moment is having something previously attributed to her turn out to be an incorrect attribution.
Think about all the things the Earth-A solution could explain. Iron Man being a jerkass in Civil War. Hell, the entire miniseries could be explained away by a stroke of Mr. Slott's continuity dripping pen. Black Panther being able to defeat white heroes and villains = Earth-A. Jerkass Hulk = Earth-A. Bendis' Dr. Strange = Earth-A. I think Marvel's Skrull event should be scuttled and replaced by one about an invasion by Earth-A. It'd be much more compelling and it would give a lot more care to explaining continuity errors. Slott could write it in place of that crumbum Bendis and the cast would contain obscure characters who deserve the limelight, not the Sentry or the Black Avengers. Stingray. Rocket Racer. Squirrel Girl. Rocket Raccoon. P-Cat (Penance's cat - WHAT A WAY TO STICK IT TO THE ESTABLISHMENT YOU'RE A PART OF, SLOTT! KEEP IT UP, YOU MAVERICK! Seriously, I laughed for a full 93 minutes when I got to that in GLI/Deadpool). Heroes like those. Trust me, it'd sell way better than Secret Invasion, and Marvel would only have Slott and his Earth-A plan to thank for bringing the comics industry back to life.
I guess, technically, there is a plot for the book involved. But I don't really care about the plot because it's merely a vehicle for the continuity (or it SHOULD be a vehicle for the continuity - pay attention, Mr. Straczynski and Mr. Quesada). Nevertheless, it is better than anything else at Marvel. Marvel likes to stretch out their plots for 6 or 12 issues so it's nice to see someone FINALLY be progressive and go back to the old way of writing comics by doing done-in-one tales. Basically, She-Hulk meets her nonpowered counterpart from Earth-A and finds out she slept with Juggernaut. They also go on some adventures together and misadventures as well. Pug reveals he took a cure for a love potion which both indentured him to a witch and cured his feelings for She-Hulk. Jen finally gains her powers back, too, through something convoluted and totally sensical within the context of the Marvel Universe transdimensional physics. The issue ends with Stu taking a job at Marvel Comics and us seeing Jen and Pug kiss each other. The Earth-A versions that is! Brilliant. And best of all, no jerkass characters like in 95% of the other 616 books.
Sock it to 'em, Slott!
The writing and art are of course top notch once again. Slott is joined by Ty Templeton on writing duties for this final issue, and his writing is a welcome addition to the team. Templeton understands continuity and he's not one of those nu school Marvel writers who hangs out in Quesada's office and smokes pot with the EIC and the FOJ (Friends of Joe, the most evil thing to happen to comics). Slott and Templeton combine for a script that's very harsh on the nu school of Marvel writers who don't think to check a handbook before writing their 'stories'. Not only is Slott a great writer, he has great insights about society. Take notice, The New Yorker! I also like the pencils by Rick Burchett who, although not being the regular artist on She-Hulk, does an admirable job imitating the usual style of the book. See? This is what I'm talking about. This is comics. Not 'superstar artists' destroying Marvel's house style for their own benefit. Good old fashioned stock art style dominating over flashiness and realism. So what if it's cartoony and bland? Comics are supposed to be cartoony and bland, according to the 1960s. Who says comics need to 'change'?
What I like about Dan Slott's writing is his reliance on humor. But not mean-spirited humor. Oh no. His humor is light yet funny, and it's about continuity. He's a real comedic genius when it comes to referencing continuity and making laughs out of it. Like when he has Hulkling and Wiccan berate their Earth-A counterparts for being in the Initiative. One of them asks what kind of idiot made that mistake. See, it's funny because Slott himself made the mistake in Avengers: The Initiative! Hahahahahaha! Funny, isn't it? It's fucking funny even if you don't acknowledge it. Dan Slott is a comedic genius, I'm telling you guys. He has the sense to know jokes aren't good if they're funny. They're good if they're funny in continuity. Don't you people understand that? Of course not, you're surfing the Daily Raider right now. If you understood in continuity comedy, you wouldn't be on this magic xylophone of a site. Anyway, there's another great joke I want to mention. One of the characters says "Two Star Trek references in one day! It's like we're in a Peter David comic!" and the other responds with "I wish!" HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. It's funny because PETER DAVID is the next writer on She-Hulk! Brilliant.
In a hilarious role reversal, I have asked that change loving Quesadaite Daily Raider EIC Victor "Doom" Von Doom add his dissenting opinion to this article. You better believe he's going to shriek and wail about Dan Slott being a continuity appreciator.
I once somewhat enjoyed the work on Dan Slott. Increasingly, though, I have found his work sickens me. He's the antithesis of everything I love about modern comics. He brings back obscure characters only nerds care about as a way to draw in excitement as opposed to good stories, his humor is basically 'I am referencing something old' and he's such a fucking nerd it makes my brain bleed. Seriously, I dare you to read his work or any of his Internet posts or interviews and NOT think "I wish I could beat him up" at least once. It's fucking impossible. She-Hulk #21, his last issue on a series dedicated to Slott working out his nerd pet peeves, is perhaps the worst issue he's ever written. I'm serious. Worse than the Ren & Stimpy comics.
He wrote an entire fucking issue to clear up continuity errors. No sort of normal writer does this. No writer who's not just a continuity porn fetishist does this. Maybe decades ago they did, but no longer. It's disturbing. W...what kind of writer fucking writes an issue just to refute the work of other writers? I know good writers like Ennis have dismissed previous bits of continuity as jokes, but they didn't fucking write entire issues. Earth-A? Give me a break. And his humor has gone from 'barely tolerable' to 'he needs to die'. He's not funny. He makes meta jokes. Most anyone can do it, and these meta jokes are certainly not funny. It's all "GET IT, IT'S REFERENCING SOMETHING IN REAL LIFE". I finished the issue feeling ashamed and dirty for having read and bought it. Thank God Peter David's writing the next issue. More Slott would've ended in either his or my death.
And I do have a way to kill Dan Slott, incidentally. It's simple: put him in a room with poison gas, keep the door unlocked, but leave in the room piles of continuity errors made by Bendis and Ellis and the others. There's no fucking way he'll walk out the door.
Dan Slott is one of the best humorists of the modern era.
Whiner. No matter what Doom says, this was a great issue. She-Hulk is a fan favorite book so obviously people enjoy it (no, fan favorite is NOT code for 'unpopular').# 21 was a masterpiece. I just hope other writers use Dan Slott's method to explain away other continuity errors made by colleagues. Maybe then, maybe then Marvel Comics as a whole will be better, more consistent and more in continuity. Dan Slott's work better not go unnoticed, and I'm glad he's moving on to Amazing Spider-Man so he can fix the myriad of continuity errors in the Spider-Man Universe. Take note of Dan Slott, Marvel pot smoking writers. Write more like him and you'll have my all-important approval. If they don't, I'll still buy all their comics...but I'll complain about them!!!