RED SHE-HULK #64

By: Jeff Parker (Writer), Carlo Pagulayan, Wellington Alves (Artists), Val Staples (Colorist)

The Story: Both Betty and Aaron gets underground as they meet the Mole Monster who has some monsters for them to fight and some information to share.

The Review: Now this is the Jeff Parker I remember liking in the first place, the man who dared gives some absurd concepts their chance at shining, using them to his advantage to write quality stories. In short, the writer who could manage to give some deeper characterization and bring some fun to any characters if he was granted the chance to do so.

While this series had suffered from the fact that it went a bit everywhere and nowhere at all with its subplots and its lack of attention on its titular character, this issue provides a much stronger outing as it fixes a bit of its problem by focusing a little bit more on the duo of Betty Ross and Aaron Stack, the two protagonist of the book. Right in the book, Parker makes good use of their building dynamics to provide some good laugh, as the more free-spirited and downright impulsive Red She-Hulk works very well in tandem to the more analytical and down-to-earth Machine Man. This duo manages to makes this title work well, as they seems to cooperate well, as much in their design as in their intentions, with Machine Man still there to analyse just who is Betty Ross.

While the duo is fairly interesting to watch, it is all the concepts that Parker uses that makes this book work. Here, we see that Mole Man managed to sire a son, named Mole Monster, who runs another Subtarrean kingdom filled with Moloids and other monsters, just like his dad. The way they interact with his is hysterical, fighting with him at first, only to be then offered lunch by him the very next moment. This makes for some very entertaining moments, all the while Parker manages to advance his subplots and his main plot during all of this. We manage to see what General Fortean is doing; all the while we get some more development on the whole Nikola Tesla stuff later on in the book. On a pure conceptual and plot-wise level, this issue works a lot better than most since the change in title of this book from Hulk to Red She-Hulk. Of course, all the plots would be a bit dull in a book with Hulk in the title without some smashing and some good action to mix it in. Thankfully, Parker acknowledge this as he gives us a bunch of scenes involving Betty fighting monster, lava men and a golem, showing that he does get that people with strength on this level should fight huge creatures. While the action is not the main part of the book at all, it is used effectively and in an entertaining way here, acting as a balance to all the exposition and story development in style.

Speaking of style, I am amazed to say that both Wellington Alves and Carlo Pagulayan both manages to draw a certain type of thing even better than machines: monster. Their various creatures, be it Moloids or lava men all look fantastic here, looking freakish, yet menacing all the same. His Mole Monster alone is a testament to their skill, as they manage to give him very human emotions, yet still make him look like some kind of weird creature all the same. Of course, they do still rock the technology part of the book, providing us with some nice holograms, computers in the Fortean scene. Their art, as gorgeous as it is, is greatly helped by Val Staples and his well-chosen colors. The scene with the lava men in particular stands out to me, as he shows the warmth and light effect of the magma in a very effective way, enhancing the very designs quite well.

The Conclusion: This issue is a vast improvement on the previous issues, with some great concepts, good fights and some clean fun as Parker begins to have a tighter grip on his character and his plot. With Pagulayan, Alves and Staples being especially strong here, I hope this is an indicative for the next issues of this series.

Grade: B+

Hugo Robberts Larivière

Grade

Conclusion