Issue(s): She-Hulk #13, She-Hulk #14
I'm not sure Kraft has a great handle on Rory, who is a bit too... driven about this. Rory has seen a lot of crazy stuff and i imagine him to take whatever comes with a pretty mellow attitude. This "I must know.. I must!" business is a bit much.
It'll turn out that the message being sent to Richard isn't from outer space, it's from inner space, but more on that later. The message is coming from Colonel John Jameson, who is the Man-Wolf again although he feels close enough to the "Other Realm" that allows him to retain his personality as Jameson instead of becoming a feral beast.
The Man-Wolf's message to Rory recaps his history and tells him that he's currently trapped on a strange planet. But the message blows out Rory's radio equipment before they can communicate any further.
Rory sells his radio station back to the prior owner for much less than he bought for (another thing about Kraft's handling of Rory is he really over-emphasizes his "perpetual loser" status) and heads out to visit Jen with a recording of the Man-Wolf's message. We will learn much later that Richard knows Jen's secret identity, so going to her for help regarding a werewolf trapped in space makes a little more sense than it would if he just thought she was a lawyer.
The final guests in this saga are Hellcat and (to a much lesser extent) Valkyrie. Hellcat has been trying to get Val to go to a disco with her.
But that conversation is interrupted when Hellcat is kidnapped through her own shadow cloak by three of the Man-Wolf's former allies, including the wizard Lambert whose hands were amputated.
They want to use the shadow cloak to find She-Hulk, who Lambert has learned is somehow tied to the Man-Wolf.
Another one of the Man-Wolf's friends, Gorjoon, speaks with a decidedly non-barbarian dialect, which is interesting. But what i really love is how the She-Hulk is just a trash-talking boastful unstoppable force dealing with these losers.
Even when Lambert opens up his cloak and summons a horde of additional barbarians, She-Hulk is unfazed.
Things go from pretty cool to horrible when Richard Rory and then Zapper show up at Jen Walter's house in quick succession, resulting in one of the most cliched love triangle scenes imaginable.
It's all made up for with this fantastic panel, though, showing Zapper's expression as he looks in the window after the argument and sees Richard returning a pearl necklace that Jen left in Florida the last time she visited him.
Meanwhile, Hellcat learns what her captors are up to, and decides very simplistically that they are "good guys" and agrees to help them.
Zapper goes missing after the argument, and his parents later show up at Jen's house asking if they've seen him. It turns out that he went to a bar that had been taken over by Lambert's barbarians.
Jen shows up and transforms into She-Hulk to rescue him.
But then Hellcat arrives and kicks her into the shadow-cloak.
That turns out to not be a great idea. Hellcat was trying to bring She-Hulk to the Other Realm where Lambert and company are. But that, we learn, is an impossibility, because the Other Realm is actually in the Microverse, and more to the point, it is inside She-Hulk. So attempting to teleport She-Hulk there via the shadow-cloak causes a paradox where she shrinks to arrive on the planet but the planet shrinks proportionately as well. Ultimately this will lead to a black hole, and in the meantime the Other Realm is falling apart.
She-Hulk runs into the Man-Wolf in the Microverse, and she's as interested in rationally talking with him as you'd expect.
Hellcat shows up to explain what's going on, and, as implausible as the situation sounds, She-Hulk threatens to stop smashing.
With that, She-Hulk helps with some MacGyvery macguffiny stuff that saves the Other Realm (unclear to me whether it remains in the Microverse or is sent back into actual space)...
...but the Microverse is still threatened by She-Hulk's presence in it. Luckily she is returned to regular Earth when Zapper, still feeling jealous, smashes her necklace. In the mother of all unexpected and unwelcome twists, She-Hulk then declares her love for Zapper.
The Man-Wolf also returns to Earth at the end of this story.
I'm really torn about this arc, and it's a conflict for me that'll last through the rest of this series. I enjoyed the crazy Man-Wolf/Microverse storyline. The paradox of the Other Realm being inside She-Hulk while she was shrinking to reach to it was pretty cool (i guess it's worth noting that this story shouldn't work if we accept the not-yet-introduced idea that the Microverse isn't really a microscopic universe and is in fact just another dimension that you teleport to when you reach a certain size). Prior to this story, She-Hulk was mainly fighting mobsters and it was uninteresting. This story is certainly wild, but it's fun. And the guest stars are nice too.
But what i really love is She-Hulk's dialogue. It's so brutish and surly and yet confident and really does a great job projecting her power, as well as demonstrating her lack of real interest or curiosity in anything. If you're even potentially a threat to me i'm going to smash you. It's great. Really distinct.
The thing is, i'm not sure if it's intentional. A really bad scripter could write dialogue like that by accident. It could just be a coincidence that it just happens to work really well for She-Hulk. I do think it's deliberate, though, because while Kraft's Richard Rory is pretty flat, he does demonstrate that he can write distinct voices with the barbarian Gorjoon as well as his Hellcat, who retains her Patsy Walker deliberately corny and retro dialect ("golly!" and "cheese and crackers!").
The reason i'm hesitating here is because the romance subplot in this story is just so awful. Kraft never established in Richard Rory's previous appearance why professional lawyer Jen Walters would be interested in a professional stoner like Rory. And their connection is just taken for granted here, and Rory is just completely uninteresting. But Zapper is even worse; he's actively annoying and petulant and doesn't have the benefit of Richard Rory's backstory. And the scene showing the conflict between them is just terrible. And then to top it all off, the fact that She-Hulk is in love with Zapper comes out of nowhere, and doesn't fit at all with the character. Zapper has been described and depicted as being immature; too young to be a love interest for Jen. Meanwhile, She-Hulk is Jennifer without any inhibitions. Her love interest might be a real tough guy, or someone she was too shy to ask out as Jen, or maybe someone that her father wouldn't approve of (Richard Rory might actually have played that role, if he were written better). But unless you think Jennifer Walters always had a crush on the younger Zapper (who she used to babysit), which would be kind of creepy, having the She-Hulk fall in love with him makes no sense.
My feeling on this is that Kraft is generally a pretty good writer, but he saddled himself with some really awful supporting characters early on and now he's stuck with them.
Hellcat makes a stray comment at the end of this arc that She-Hulk would make a good Defender, but She-Hulk replies that where she goes, she goes alone. She-Hulk joining the Defenders at this point really would have been a natural fit, but i'm really glad it didn't happen. The Defenders are the zany weirdo B-listers, and if She-Hulk had joined that group instead of the Avengers it would have solidified her reputation as a joke character. Her joining the Avengers in a few years goes a long way to legitimizing her.
Issue #14 has a mini checklist of all of Man-Wolf's (but not all of John Jameson's) previous appearances, in chronological order. What's interesting is that both this checklist and the recap included in the Man-Wolf's message to Richard Rory skip over his appearances in Marvel Team-Up #36-37, since those comics caused a continuity conundrum.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: The MCP places this between Defenders #92-93 for Hellcat and Valkyrie. It is also worth noting that this story requires that Amazing Spider-Man #190 takes place before She-Hulk #7-8, since at the end of ASM #190, the Man-Wolf's gem attempts to teleport him to the Other Realm, which is inside the She-Hulk's bloodstream, and when it can't get there he lands on her necklace instead. And She-Hulk loses the necklace in She-Hulk #7-8. By publication date, the stories are a year apart, so there's no problem and the correct placement would happen naturally anyway, but i wanted to call it out.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showDaniel 'Zapper' Ridge, Garth of Mournhelm, Gorjoon, Hellcat, Lambert, Man-Wolf (John Jameson), Richard Rory, She-Hulk, Valkyrie
Considering that Jen and John Jameson do get married for a short bit in the Slott run, I probably would have made the importance a notch higher at least.
Posted by: Ataru320 | July 6, 2013 9:22 PM
It's worth commenting on, anyway, so thanks for raising it. The fact is, though, the characters barely interact. They have a quick fight and then Hellcat shows up and teleports Man-Wolf to Other Realm. It's entirely a plot-advancing meeting. So other than being able to say that they met before, there's nothing foundational for their relationship here.
Posted by: fnord12 | July 6, 2013 9:34 PM
The first meeting of Shulkie and Hellcat is also notable now, as Patsy is a supporting character in the latest She-Hulk series.
Posted by: Gary Himes | June 10, 2014 12:03 AM
She-Hulk of course does go on to eventually join the Defenders in the Busiek run and is a very prominent member again in Joe Casey's Defenders stories across various titles.
Posted by: Scott | December 19, 2015 4:03 PM
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