Pipeline: "She-Hulk," "X-Force" & "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."

Tue, October 1st, 2013 at 2:58pm PDT

Comic Books
Augie De Blieck Jr., Columnist

SHE-HULK RETURNS. FOR HOW LONG?

She-Hulk is getting a new series, and the description of it makes it out to be a spiritual successor to Dan Slott's series from a few years back. The creative team gives us hope for the series, too: The writer, Charles Soule, is a lawyer. The artist, Javier Pulido, brings a great history with him of books such as "Robin: Year One," "Amazing Spider-Man" and "Human Target." If you like Marcos Martin's work, Pulido should make you happy.

That's why I'm giving it eight issues before the cancellation rumors swirl.

I'm hoping for better, but the book pushes all sorts of buttons for a Marvel title that guarantees it a short life: female lead character, European style art, and (the true death knell for the series) "a strong element of fun."

It gets worse. Pulido describes Jennifer Walters as "not a tragic figure... or a dark character."

It still promises all the right hedges including guest starts and tie-ins to the main Marvel Universe. That should get it to a year.

Let's hope this one turns out to be the next "Hawkeye" or "Daredevil." I've just been around this particular carousel one too many times to get my hopes up. Kudos to Marvel for trying, though. If they keep making books like this, eventually the audience will show up for one, right?

I'm setting a reminder up for myself for next December to come back to this. Let's cross our fingers and hope for the best. I want to be wrong on this one.

NEW YORK COMIC-CON 2013 PLANNING

I will be at the big show next Saturday, October 12th. One day only. You might catch me roaming the con floor in my CBR polo shirt. I'll be the tall guy with glasses. The one not dressed as Doctor Who. I'll be happy to sign, uhm, your "The Copybook Tales" trade paperback, which remains my sole comics publication credit. (I wrote the introduction.) Or, hey, if you have TwoMorrows' "The Comic Book Podcast Companion" book, I'm in there, too.

My initial plan to spend the day photographing cosplayers has been shot down by myself for a couple of reasons: First, it's an idea that's been played out. There will be plenty of others there with cameras that can shoot at f/2.8 or better jostling for position. Lots of them do great work. Why duplicate it? Second, my gear is falling apart. My flash is currently toast, and my best lens for that kind of work died after I used it nearly exclusively on my Disney World vacation earlier this year. I could see that as a limitation and work around it, or as a sign that I should do something else.

I'll still have my trusty Canon over my shoulder, so we'll see what I come up with, instead.

If I can get into the show early enough, I plan to attend the IDW panel Saturday morning to see what Artist's Edition announcements they might be making. Otherwise, I'll be waving at you from the CBR Sky Box, which is always a fun place to visit.

DON'T YIELD - WATCH MORE TELEVISION

I liked the premiere of "Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." last week, very much. I had a good time. I'm not going to get caught up in some of the criticisms about things that are too clean or too easy or not dramatic enough. It works for me. I was entertained.

It's a pilot show, so it's a bit thin overall. It's about bringing the team together and teasing us with the mysteries that will be the overall story arc for the rest of this season and maybe even the next. I like those question marks. I have theories on a couple, but I'm content to sit back and let them entertain me on the way to getting there. Besides, by the time they start making the answers to these mysteries obvious, they'll have new ones to layer on.

Agent Coulson is a thrill to watch. That might just be because we rooted so hard for him in the movies, where we always enjoyed his character's more laid back approach next to all the big characters he was surrounded with. I saw some people complaining that he wasn't forceful enough to lead the show. It's true; Clark Gregg is not Andre Braugher or James Gandolfini or James Spader. I like that he's so even-keeled and confident over the course of the first episode, and it's obvious that his character arc will be heading in the direction towards breaking him down just a little bit before building him back up. He's not chewing up scenery. That might come later.

Two thumbs up from me for now. I don't watch much television anymore, but I'm going out of my way every Tuesday night to keep up with this show.

On a related note, I'm disappointed that this week's CBR poll asking which agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. you'd like to see in the television series didn't include the obvious answer, Agent Larry Young...

MORE ON "NEW MUTANTS"

Rob Liefeld responded to last week's column looking at "New Mutants" #98-#100, where I mentioned the creative tension between himself and scripter Fabian Nicieza. Liefeld pointed out the third player in that particular game: Editorial. I Storified the whole tweet stream, but here's how it began:

Tension often came from editorial as well. Cable w/spectacles was..

A big struggle, [Marvel Editor In Chief Bob] Harras did not like that I put Cable in specs and a suit. I stressed it was important to show a diff. side of Cable.

But there were definite snark between writing of plot and the script. Good eye. The most glaring is in X-Force #3

Needless to say, I'll be reading "X-Force" #1-3 shortly.

PIPELINKS

NOT ONE FOR THE KIDS, BUT VERY ENJOYABLE

Joe Casey's "Sex" is still my favorite of his current writings, if not of all his comics, ever. Issue #7 is another winner, with more surprising twists, some character development, and, yes, the kind of activities I generally don't write about in graphic detail in this column.

Piotr Kowalski's art is still a wow factor, though this issue seems a little more awkward than usual. There's something going on with the pages that I can't put my finger on. The characters feel more stiff or less complete. I'm not sure exactly what it is.

His cityscapes are still awesome, though. I wish Casey would open every issue with a wide-angle shot of a skyscraper-filled skyline for Kowalski to draw.

Brad Simpson's aggressive color treatment of the pages holds up. He does a great job in keying scenes to a specific color while keeping it readable. Then he throws in a random panel that breaks the pattern. It's jarring, but fits right in with the overall "feel" of the book.

And, of course, Rus Wooton's lettering helps cement the book's European style. It's one of the best matches of font to a series in current comics.

It's a handsome package.

Pun not intended.

It's not the issue you want to start with, of course, but the good news is that the first eight issues are being collected in November. It's a cheap $10 book meant to draw you into the book. I hope someday that they go back and print this series in an oversized hardcover format to give it more of that European feel I mentioned earlier.

As a nice bonus, Joe Casey holds court on the text pages all by himself, discussing his love for the physical objects of comic book scripts. There's also a funny letter reprinted from the South Carolina Department of Corrections, letting him know that his book is banned from the prisons there. Great stuff.

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TAGS:  pipeline, she-hulk, x-force, rob liefeld, charles soule, javier pulido, agents of shield

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