SHE-HULK ANNUAL #1 / Writer: Alexandra Petri / Artist: Andy MacDonald / Colorist: Matt Milla / Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna / Publisher: Marvel Comics / Publishing Date: August 28, 2019
Jennifer Walters is many things. As She-Hulk she’s an Avenger, a superhero, and as herself she is an accomplished lawyer. She has never been a robot, but that is where her consciousness is now. If she is in the robot, then who is in her body, and how did they get there? She-Hulk Annual explores She-Hulk’s power, Jennifer Walters’s intellect, and what makes a valid autonomy of self.
Alexandra Petri does a great job of embodying Jennifer Walters’s personality and intellect. She also shows us the conflict between the character’s thoughts on her own physical brawn versus her life without it. Jennifer feels She-Hulk is the attractive one in every way instead of giving herself credit for her value without the muscle. The commentary of physical strength versus intellectual strength is well laid out and achieved.
Petri also cleverly shows the reader many forms of self autonomy and who deserves rights. While doing this, she shows that even the good guys can have flaws and that bad guys can be misunderstood. She does this against the backdrop of a really entertaining and fun story with a twist. Having Bullseye’s evil egomania against the complicated Machinesmith and Jennifer’s consciousness inside a robot shows many levels of black, white, and grey while trying to figure out how the adventure will end. The reader is engaged throughout.
Interesting Artistic Vision
Andy MacDonald does a fantastic job of creating emotion out of the mechanical beings featured in this She-Hulk Annual. The variety of compositions have nice comedic timing. MacDonald also uses different angles and media to view the characters, which is interesting and moves the story along well. Once back in the courthouse, MacDonald draws “Jennifer Walters, lawyer” as the combined She-Hulk/Jennifer powerhouse she is, versus the separation of the two from the beginning of the book.
This separation and combination is made clearer by the skin colors provided by Matt Milla. Milla’s colors also accentuate the different forms of media through which we see the characters , as well as adding a pop to the action sequences. I would say that he should watch for putting certain characters against certain colored backdrops. For instance, towards the end, She-Hulk/Jennifer in all her beautiful green glory is placed against a green wall. Even though the colors are slightly different, it’s not pleasing to the eye.
VC’s Joe Caramagna had his work cut out for him with lettering this book. Not only were whole panels his work, but he accentuated many panels with alternative lettering. Some of the lettering was robot Jennifer, regular Jennifer, thoughts of Machinesmith, computer and phone text, and of course, action lettering. His contribution makes it easier for the reader to follow the story and get into the minds of certain characters.
She-Hulk Annual: Conclusion
Overall, this book was not only a great She-Hulk Annual, but a great look at the multiplicity of characters. Although some situations can be black and white, most have grey areas. Through trying to understand, or being forced to understand in this instance, we can see things from another perspective. Patri also teaches that we should look at all sides of ourselves as strength, as relying on one side will only get you so far. I recommend this book as a fun, introspective adventure with an enlightening ending.
Verdict: 4.5 out of 5