She-Hulk #2 and Moon Knight #1
By Charles Soule, Javier Pulido, Muntsa Vicente, Clayton Cowles, Kevin Wada.
She-Hulk created by Stan Lee and John Buscema.
Issue #2 continues the process of establishing She-Hulk as her own star. Having opened a solo law practice in Brooklyn, Jennifer Walters must now go about gathering a supporting cast. Such is the case with most distaff heroes that they’re usually playing the role of supporting character. But She-Hulk has as good a chance as any to make it as a lead given her profile and overall likability. Writer Charles Soule understands this, and gets to showcase her as a badass as well as a struggling lawyer in this issue.
The two characters introduced are her landlady Sharon King and eccentric paralegal Angie Huang, neither particularly intimidated by Jennifer’s reputation as a superhero. Sharon’s a former mutant and Charles Xavier student who lost her superpowers during the events spinning off from House of M. Now she rents out building space to superhuman-owned businesses. Angie has a bit of a mysterious past and insists on keeping a creepy-looking macaque monkey with her at all times. No doubt, more of the building’s numerous residents will pop up in the future. But for fans looking for a familiar face, Patsy Walker, aka Hellcat, joins the practice after she and Jennifer go out for a night about the town, and then storm a secret AIM facility against Jennifer’s better judgement.
The new setting not only appropriately reflects Jennifer’s own position as a female character trying to step out from the shadow of her more famous namesake, but as one of the few superheroes who doesn’t maintain a secret identity. So it makes sense that her superhero career and her day job should mesh more intimately and more openly. Jennifer isn’t Matt Murdock - a lawyer by day, masked crime-fighter by night trying to keep the two separate. And judging from the “blue file” first mentioned in issue #1 and how issue #2 ends, Soule is particularly interested in exploring just how being a superhero would affect her law practice, and vice-versa.
By Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey, Jordie Bellaire, Chris Elliopoulos, Adi Granov, Bill Siekiewicz, Skottie Young, Katie Cook.
Moon Knight created by Doug Moench and Don Perlin.
Moon Knight is Marvel Comic’s sort-of Batman knockoff, except he’s crazy in his own special way. Or is he? That’s the topic being explored in this premiere issue: Is former mercenary Marc Spector suffering from Dissociative Personality Disorder? Does he have brain damage? Is he acting on behalf of the god Khonshu? Or is he being possessed by an alien entity? The metatatextual explanation for those conflicting answers is in the various interpretations stemming from the work of past creative teams. But rather than attempt to untangle the character’s peculiar continuity, new writer Warren Ellis has a couple of talking heads give their two cents before the comic arrives at a tentative conclusion. Information is presented as fractured, coming from different sources, and not all of it is reliable. They’re pieces that have to be assembled and sifted through in order to arrive at a working theory on what makes Spector tick.
This is a deliberately paced comic that feels longer than its nineteen pages, thanks to artist Declan Shalvey. Much of the narrative’s meat and potatoes is the titular hero helping the police track down a serial killer at large in New York. Shalvey’s atmospheric panels combined with the shadowy tones of colorist Jordie Bellaire transform the city into the kind of vast and mysterious place full of concrete canyons and underground lairs that could hide the kind of villain Moon Knight pursues.The character’s redesign is particularly stylish and calculated to pay homage to classic pulp heroes. Spector is driven around in an automated white limousine, and he eschews the usual spandex for a white suit, white gloves, and a white bag over his head. When donning this attire, Bellaire leaves him uncolored with the white of the paper untouched. He’s literally a black and white figure, and the jarring contrast to the murky world he inhabits makes him an almost spectral presence. The theatrical effect reverses the usual urban crime-fighter MO of hiding in the shadows, and when a cop points out that his fashion sense will make it easy for the serial killer to see him coming, he nonchalantly responds “That’s the part I like.”
The comic is a pretty good showcase for Bellaire. As Moon Knight descends into the city’s dark belly, he eventually finds the hulking, blood-soaked killer, saturated in pure red to match Spector’s own empty white. Their battle is a classic color-coded case of brain vs brawn, or good vs evil. And as Spector later confronts Khonshu over his own true nature, the colors gradually shift to dark grays and blacks that swallow him up.