By: Jeff Parker (Writer), Carlo Pagulayan, Wellington Alves (Artists), Val Staples (Colorist)
The Story: Betty explains how she got so much information on the potential disaster of military meta-humans and also encounters a cell of metahumans out to get her.
The Review: This is more like it. Although the series had suffered a bit with the absence of the titular character in the first issues of the re-titling of this book, the previous issue had remedied this problem a bit. This issue does it even further, giving us more of Betty Ross as a character.
Indeed, Machine Man is pushed a bit aside for this issue as most of the action and dialogue are centered on Betty Ross, both as her human person and as the Red She-Hulk. As the first page opens us on a scene explaining just how Betty met Nikola Tesla (the same one from S.H.I.E.L.D), we get much more characterization from her. Taking some part of Matt Fraction and Greg Pak previous versions of the character, Jeff Parker adds some more layers to her and what could make her go angry. It would make some sense of course that she’d become much more headstrong now that she knows she has the power of a Hulk, considering how much she had suffered with all the things people with that kind of power has done to her. Jeff Parker version of the character plays her like this, while still making her a good and interesting heroine, which is something I commend him for.
Another thing that deserves some mention would be the big action scene of the book, an area where Jeff Parker usually excels. In a book like Thunderbolts, he was always able to write different and exciting actions scenes and it is no different here. The way Betty takes care of a whole squadron of soldiers and meta-humans is pretty cool to look at, especially considering the fact that she has no access to her Hulk power early on in the fight. It is not the most action-packed fight that Parker has ever written, yet it is effective in showing us that Betty is a character that can get out of a situation without her powers. It is short, but sweet.
What’s also pretty nice is the artistic team, with Alves and Pagulayan doing some very nice pages and panels. Like always, they rock the technological department in the first pages with the scenes including Tesla, drawing some nice vehicles and machinery. Where it falters a little bit, though, would be in the character expressions, with some faces missing some of the subtler elements they did in previous issues.
The poses are quite well done though. Another area where it used to be a little stronger would be the coloring, with Val Staples not being to his usual form. With most of the issue taking place in a jungle, there is a huge redundancy of green, not helped by the fact that the uniforms of the soldiers are also green. It is no big deal, but it does not match the coloring of the first pages with Nikola Tesla.
The Conclusion: This is a nice issue with some good characterization and action, with a much-needed focus on Betty Ross as a character. It falters a little bit in the artistic department, but it is nonetheless a good issue worth the time.
Hugo Robberts Larivière