I’ve been a comic book fan nearly all of my life. I can remember the first comic I picked off the rack as a five-year-old, it was a Detective Comics where Batman teams up with Etrigan the Demon. I couldn’t read at that point in my youth so my Father not only read it to me but supplied a rather creepy voice for Etrigan. The second comic I picked out the very next week began my love of the Marvel Comics universe and that was an issue of Captain America and the Falcon as they fought against Arnim Zola and just happened to be illustrated by Jack Kirby.
To this day I have to admit that most of my disposable income goes to my weekly pull list at the comic shop. Iron Man, Thunderbolts, Fantastic Four, and Thor to name just a few of the Marvel titles that I pick up regularly. I know that lots and lots of people have gone the digital route with their comic collections and I of course have no beef with that…but there is just something pleasing to me to actually have a physical copy of the comic in my hands. Perhaps it’s that connection of laying on the living room floor reading the latest issue as I did in my youth that makes a physical copy seem so important to me.
Sometimes though I can’t bring my stash of comics with me…like when I’m at work and this is why I was excited to have the opportunity to review two new books from Hyperion Books and Marvel Entertainment entitled The She-Hulk Diaries and Rogue Touch.
I’ve followed Marvel’s First Family and their allies like the Sensational She-Hulk for quite some time, so the first book I dived in was Marta Acosta’s The She-Hulk Diaries. A humorous look at everyone’s favorite jade-hued lawyer/superhero written as diary entries by the human counterpart to She-Hulk, Jennifer Walters. For those that don’t know Jennifer just happens to be the cousin to one Bruce Banner and when she was wounded found herself receiving an emergency blood transfusion…a gamma irradiated blood transfusion of course that blessed/cursed her with a Hulk condition. Though when Jennifer transforms into the She-Hulk she doesn’t have the mindless rage that her cousin is cursed with, something that has allowed her to be a member of the Avengers, Fantastic Four, Heroes for Hire, Defenders, and an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.!
As the book opens we find that Jennifer is experiencing something of a rough patch in her life, she is no longer allowed to stay in the Avengers mansion as the She-Hulk has been publicly filmed causing a ruckus in Times Square and climbing the Empire State Building with Anderson Cooper in tow. Where Jennifer Walters is a successful lawyer we learn that her She-Hulk (Shulky) persona is an out of control party girl…which has now also caused Jennifer to lose her job and her place of residence to boot. Through the ‘She-Hulk Diaries’ we learn that Jennifer has to decided to get her life straight and all by the time Valentine’s Day rolls around…or at least tries to in time for Valentine’s Day. Throw in a love from the past, a new job at a high-profile law firm (With a rival for the old love’s affections), and a superhuman threat against the She-Hulk as well as New York City…which might possibly be orchestrated by one well known enemy of the Fantastic Four and you have yourself a page turner.
Of the two Marvel characters presented in these new books, Rogue or her alter ego Anna Marie, is probably the more well known thanks to the popular X-Men films and of course the works of legendary comics scribe Chris Claremont (Who wrote Uncanny X-Men for seventeen years). In ‘Rogue Touch’, author Christine Woodward presents us with a previously unknown story from the young mutant’s life. If you’ve not been introduced to the character of Rogue before she is a mutant, a person blessed/cursed with extraordinary abilities but unlike say Wolverine who has a superhuman healing factor, Rogue must not touch anyone with her bare skin or she will absorb their memories/personalities. As we begin the book we find Anna Marie doing her best to get by, working at bakery but not for long as she is fired by her holier-than-thou boss for stealing money (which she hasn’t done by the way) and meeting up with a very peculiar young man named James. You might wonder what I mean by peculiar, for example he doesn’t understand the concept of currency to pay for food, etc. After putting her boss in the hospital, quite accidentally, she and James go on the run to avoid the young man’s “family” and…well, to go further would be a huge spoiler. Rogue Touch is certainly different than the She-Hulk diaries as that seems firmly set in the Marvel Universe with a ton of names dropped that Marvel fans will recognize, with Rogue Touch we don’t get any of that but we certainly get a love story with a twist.
Both books by the way are available at your local book store and on E-Book starting today. Marta Acosta by the way is the author of the comedic Casa Dracula book series, Nancy’s Theory of Style, and Dark Companion. Christine Woodward is the pseudonym of Nina de Gramont, perhaps better known for Gossip of the Starlings, Of Cats and Men, and Every Little Thing in the World.