Jeff Parker has taken the character of Red She-Hulk and decided, rather than play it safe with well worn Hulk story tropes, taken her in a completely different direction, into the realm of cerebral, thoughtful science fiction involving Machine Man, alternate dimensions and even the Order of the Shield and Nicola Tesla (because of COURSE he was a member of the Da Vincian order!) and it’s been an absolute joy to read. It’s a (valid) complaint that the industry gets stuck in recycling and reusing the same characters, so it’s been great to see writers take the characters we’re familiar with and putting them into completely different situations than what they’re used to (such as making Betty Ross into a Hulk in the first place), and Jeff Parker has taken a book that has flown under the radar and done some exceptional things with it.
The book has three pencilers, with series regular Carlo Pagulayan joined by Patrick Olliffe and Wellington Alves, with Guy Major’s colors keeping the tones as consistent as possible. The art succeeds, and is at its best, during the wild, uncontrolled battle that the issue opens with, illustrating the action with incredible fluidity and impact, showing the tremendous strength, speed, and out-and-out force these characters display across the board. I wonder if it’s merely an enhanced awareness due to the title, or if it’s intentional, but books that contain a color in the title tend to emphasize color juxtapositions more, and this book is absolutely no slouch in that department, especially when it comes to the two female Hulks.
As much as I’ve enjoyed this book, it could actually stand to have a little more exposition or explanation of what exactly is going on. I haven’t been reading since the very beginning, but I’ve read almost all of what’s come out over this very long arc, and a LOT of the time I am completely lost as to what’s going on. Even the recap page doesn’t do a great job of contextualizing who the supporting cast is and what they’re doing. Likewise the fact that the issue has three pencilers doesn’t generally clash nor get in the way, but when it does, it’s very clunky and obvious. Fortunately it doesn’t last long and the art is still good across the board.
I complain about being lost in the book, but I have rarely had so much fun being lost. I get JUST enough to be fascinated and intrigued, and the characters are all written with enough style and flair that they’re always entertaining to read, even when exactly what they’re doing isn’t clear. Likewise the art is solid enough to never be confusing or unclear, so the book is still a great read and leaves off with a team that I really, truly hope get their own title and their own chance in the spotlight. A great sendoff for a great, underappreciated run.