Or, more appropriately, “IM IN UR COMICZ, PWNING UR HIROS.”
Avenging Spider-Man #7
Writers: Kathryn Immonen
Pencils: Stuart Immonen
Inker: Wade von Grawbadger
Colors: Matt Hollingsworth
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramanga
Cover: S. Immonen, von Grawbadger, Hollingsworth
Spidey Team-Up: She-Hulk (Jennifer Walters)
***WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD***
PLOT: After She-Hulk and Spider-Man take care of some subway monster, She-Hulk attends an Egyptian exhibit sponsored by her law firm at the Carnarvon Museum. Spidey tags along because he loves Egyptian exhibits and the gyro place across the street from the museum.
Both heroes spot some hooded crazies trying to steal a statue of the Goddess Bastet, which is shaped like a cat. They quickly put a stop to them, but Shulkie accidently activates the statue’s magic, causing her to grow a tail and summoning a horde of cats.
The heroes minimize the damage caused by the frenzy, but then the cats come together to form Bastet herself. She demands that She-Hulk serve and protect her; in order to convince Bastet to depart, Spidey uses the head of a bull (from the sign above the gyro place) to pretend to be a servant of Neith. Bastet falls for the ruse and departs. After trolling Shulkie a little bit (by making her think she’s still got a tail), Spidey celebrates with a gyro.
THOUGHTS: I’ve been looking forward to this issue since it was first solicited. Not only do we get the unusual pairing of Spider-Man and She-Hulk, but it features the collaboration of the husband and wife team of Stuart and Kathryn Immonen. Stuart is no stranger to Spider-Man, having worked with Brian Michael Bendis on Ultimate Spider-Man and New Avengers. His art style is very reminiscent of Stefano Caselli’s: character designs and especially facial expressions are animated but not overly exaggerated. Joining them is Grawbadger on inks and Hollingsworth on colours; both do a very good job on their parts.
Stuart’s design that most intrigued me was She-Hulk’s. Most female superheroes are deliberately drawn in a way that accentuates their physical attributes to cater to male audiences (I’m not going to argue the pros and cons of this. I’m merely stating a fact). The example that jumps to mind is that concept art image of the Avengers film roster and the way Black Widow is posing there.
She-Hulk is not drawn that way. She’s in her jumpsuit, but it’s not revealing, skin-tight, or otherwise “sexy.” She’s not put in provocative or compromising positions (for example, Black Cat in the first arc of Big Time). She looks fit but not overly muscular, like a womens weight-lifting contestant but not quite to the ridiculous levels they sometimes get. Clearly, Ms. Immonen wanted there to be more to She-Hulk than just her physical appearance.
This is reflected in the writing as well. She-Hulk is a superhero, but, at the end of the day, Jennifer Walters is a regular woman. She’s not presented as perfect. She loses her cool sometimes and yells at Spidey in anger. Probably the scene that best captures this is when a co-worker chides Jennifer for showing up in her She-Hulk form to the exhibit. She doesn’t mind that she’s not elegantly-dressed for the event.
So, yeah, sounds like we got in our hands a very serious introspection on the qualities of the female psyche and their appeal in comics, right? Not at all. Everyting I brought up is very nuanced and a testament to the quality writing of Ms. Immonen.
The actual story is completely goofy. Such highlights include She-Hulk growing a cat tail, cats being thrown everywhere, an Egyptian goddess made out of cats, and Spidey wearing a bull head. Mind you, this is coming off the Omega Effect, a story which, despite its serious nature, had still several humorous moments. Avenging Spider-Man #7 goes for quirky and not so much hilarity. It goes more for sight gags rather than one-liners. It still had its moments, but I didn’t “LOL” quite as much as I did in the last crossover.
It’s worth noting the relationship presented here between She-Hulk and Spidey. Someone in the comments from a recent ASM review mentioned how he wanted to see Spidey teaming up with a female hero where there was no romantic tension between the two. What we got here is a good example of how it should be done. Making a female partner a romantic interest is a common trapping that most male writers seem to fall into but Kathryn Immonen expertly avoids it. Spidey is his usual fun-loving self and refers to the events of that night as “just hanging out” with Shulkie. On her part, she’s clearly annoyed by him but takes whatever help she can get.
FAVORITE LINE: As Spider-Man and She-Hulk face off against the hooded robbers:
LADY: Don’t come any closer.
SPIDER-MAN (swings forward and kicks her in the face): How’s this? Too close? I bet it’s too close.
VERDICT: Avenging Spider-Man #7 is a fun tail… tale. It features very nice art, and it’s good for a few laughs. But more than that, it accomplishes some serious feats rarely seen in your typical Marvel superhero book as our female hero provides something other than eye-candy. 3.5 Webheads out of 5.
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I also recently discovered that Archie Comics publishes a monthly Mega Man comic book. I reviewed issued #1 (a freebie from Free Comic Book Day) and wrote a review on ScrewAttack.com (not a porno site). I invite you to check it out.
~My Two Cents