New Reviews of Old Comics
Female super-heroes are something of a rarity, and even more-so in 1980. At that point, who was out there representing the strong ladies? Invisible Girl, Supergirl, Batgirl, Wasp, Wonder Woman, Spider-Woman, Scarlet Witch, Marvel Girl/Phoenix, Storm. Were Ms. Marvel, Black Widow or Dazzler around yet? Does Gwen Stacey’s clone count? True, there have always been fringe women characters around comics, but either starring their own title or playing a significant role in a team title, that doesn’t happen often for women comic characters. Considering it’s mostly dudes and adolescent (physically, emotionally or both) dudes at that, who buy comic books it’s kind of a surprise there are so few female characters. Factor in these women are usually drawn wearing skimpy outfits with massive amounts of cleavage it’s even more surprising.
“Deathrace,” written by David Anthony Kraft and drawn by Mike Vosburg brings us to a point in time right after lawyer Jenny Walters first became She-Hulk. She-Hulk, she conveniently recounts during a walk into court, came about after Jenny was gunned down by mobsters. Thankfully her cousin was nearby and able to keep her alive through a blood transfusion. This seems fortuitous until you consider the fact her cousin is Bruce Banner (or David Banner for TV fans), who is also the Hulk, and his blood carried Hulk powers into Jen’s blood stream, thus turning her into She-Hulk when she gets mad. And you thought you had it bad when your wife/girlfriend was PMSing. Yikes.
After that the issue is a series of standard comic book clichés; Jenny’s courtroom nemesis is a jock who always speaks in sports terms, which she hates; her dad is a cop; she has vowed to use her She-Hulk powers to right the wrongs of the world; as Jenny she’s tough talking and gets some criminals in jail to rollover against their mobster boss; her best friend is killed by said mob boss, but not after She-Hulk spends pages and pages trying to save her, only to be foiled at the last minute through a bad mix-up. Of course she blames herself for her friend’s death; and the cops think She-Hulk is a criminal.
Despite the cliché’s and predictability She-Hulk wasn’t a bad read at all, as far as early 80s Marvel titles go. The script might have been a little over-the-top, but far from unreadable. Mike Vosburg’s art was pretty good, telling the story and having a couple nice cinematic effects here and there. I admit I am intrigued by the foreshadowing on page 18 with the arm reaching out of the crate. What the hell was that?
Notable Ad: I like the inside front cover ad for Chiquita bananas and their Winter Olympic stickers. First off, the ad features a ski jumping banana, complete with knit hat, goggles and boots. Boots. Plural. Yeah, I know the banana isn’t really ski jumping, but why not draw him on just one ski? His stem can fit in one boot, but there is nothing holding that second boot or ski onto the banana. Guess someone’s getting a banana split when he lands. I make no apologies for bad or easy jokes here; I take what I can get. Anyway, the whole point of the ad is Chiquita supporting the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics by placing special collectible stickers on their banana bunches; 16 altogether highlighting the various Winter Olympic events as demonstrated by the raccoon mascot. We can only hope he’s not a rabid raccoon, because that’s been going around here in the Adirondacks. This makes me wonder how many people actually saved and collected these stickers from the Chiquita bananas they bought. Living as close as I do to Lake Placid I’ve seen a lot of Olympic memorabilia in various museums and don’t recall ever seeing banana stickers in those collections.