Today’s Super Comic — She-Hulk #4 (2004)

She-Hulk 4Marvel Comics made a wise decision many years ago—if they were going to launch female counterparts of preexisting male superheroes, these new characters needed to be distinct in personality, style, and tone.

They certainly got it right with She-Hulk. She may be Bruce Banner’s cousin and capable of turning big, green, and strong, but the similarities end there. She retains her intellect as She-Hulk but becomes much more free-spirited and fun-loving. She’s proven capable of working splendidly with the superhero community, joining the ranks of both the Avengers and the Fantastic Four at various times. Her solo series have often adopted humorous tones, even smashing the fourth wall for a bit back in the ‘80s. And she’s a well-respected lawyer.

When She-Hulk relaunched in 2004, writer Dan Slott fused many of She-Hulk’s best elements into a highly entertaining series that focused on superhuman law. An excellent fit for the character, and great premise with endless possibilities for humorous stories.

Issue #4 is particularly amusing and features a story that had needed to happen for many years—Spider-Man sues J. Jonah Jameson for libel. Of course, this isn’t Spider-Man’s book, so you know there won’t be any major status quo shift. Nevertheless, the resolution is pure Spider-Man…after the book spends time poking fun at many years’ worth of Spidey stories (the Daily Bugle staff has lots of ties to super-villains, doesn’t it?).

And though Spidey’s guest appearance does threaten to steal this particular issue, She-Hulk doesn’t get lost in her own book, as she shows off her superb professional skills…even while fighting the Scorpion.

Pure fun from start to finish.

Writer: Dan Slott

Penciler: Juan Bobillo

Inker: Marcelo Sosa

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; included in She-Hulk vol. 1: Single Green Female (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 11 and up

Today’s Super Comic — Silver Surfer #2 (2016)

Silver Surfer 2This series keeps reminding me of Doctor Who.

There’s of course the focus on the alien protagonist’s human companion. And in #2, the current companion, Dawn Greenwood, meets the Silver Surfer’s original human companion, Alicia Masters, which calls to mind the “School Reunion” episode of modern Doctor Who. We also see a restless Surfer passing time on Earth when he would rather be out exploring, kind of like DW’s “Power of Three” or, to a lesser extent, “The Lodger.” And then there’s the Surfer attempting to visit his old allies, the Fantastic Four and Avengers, only to find both parties have moved while he’s been away far too long, which basically feels like the TARDIS screwing up the Doctor’s arrival time.

It’s a good fit for the Surfer, and it’s never anywhere close to a blatant copy. Writer Dan Slott maintains a distinctive fun, lighthearted tone that makes for an enjoyable read, and Mike Allred’s clean, dynamic art is always a treat.

And the issue ends with an effective cliffhanger. I guess I’ll be back for more.

Writer: Dan Slott

Artist: Mike Allred

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: recent back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology

Appropriate For: ages 12 and up

Today’s Super Comic — Silver Surfer #14 (2015)

Silver_Surfer_Vol_7_14The Silver Surfer has always looked like a really cool character, but I could never get into his stories. Lots of potential, but always too powerful, too detached, too inhuman. I liked him as an occasional guest star in other Marvel books, but that was about it.

It could just be that I just sampled the wrong issues. Entirely possible. So when I saw the relaunched series written by Dan Slott and drawn by Mike Allred, I decided it was time to check in again.

A good decision. Slott’s take on the character reminds me of Doctor Who, which never hurts. The Surfer has a human companion named Dawn, and she provides exactly the balance the Surfer has needed all these years, as well as the fresh set of eyes through which to view the wonders of the universe.

Issue #14 is as cosmically big as some of the modern Doctor Who finales, in that the Surfer and Dawn are tasked with rebuilding the universe. Yes, the whole universe. Apparently, Doctor Doom did something in a big crossover event that destroyed everything, but those details aren’t relevant here. This book focuses on rebuilding.

Dawn gets to reconstruct Earth, which isn’t exactly an easy task. Meanwhile, the Surfer reconstructs everything else…but maybe some editing might be worthwhile?

Great concepts, great imagination, great art. This is definitely a Silver Surfer worth checking out.

Writer: Dan Slott

Penciler: Mike Allred

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; Silver Surfer vol. 3: Last Days (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 12 and up