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She-Hulk

Marvel Legends
by Artemis

They tried to keep her from me - first by making her a convention exclusive in the first place, and then when the leftovers went on Hasbro's website, by making her ship to the US only. Luckily, I know people to whom borders are just lines on maps to be utterly ignored as they gleefully traffick across whatever merchandise happens to be in demand... okay, so I just sent it to a friend and had them mail it over. But it sounds cooler the other way.

This is the San Diego Comic Con 2007 exclusive She-Hulk, and as you see, she's in some fairly stylish packaging: a white box with a black line drawing of Shulkie on the front and silver tamper-​proof stickers sealing it shut. Inside, we get a fifth-panel window box showcasing Jennifer in all her glory, with her accessories arranged around her, and images of her in various costumes on the flap. Why the fancy box? Because they knew most collectors would leave her in there, and wanted to give them something nice to look at as it sat on a shelf in their temperature-controlled bomb-proof merchandise vault.

We're not most collectors.

High-powered superhero attorney Jennifer Walters hasn't always been a solo act. During one of Ben Grimm's extended absenses from the Fantastic Four, she filled in as the First Family's heavy hitter. As part of the gang of four, she split her time between serving as legal counsel to her teammates and many of New York's other heroes, and trading blows with the likes of Doctor Doom and Terminus. She served with distinction as the longest-term replacement for any member of the Fantastic Four, and remains friends with all of them to this day. Her first duty, however, has always been to justice. Even during this busy time she kept up her legal practice and maintained her qualifications, and appeared in court as often as possible (when she wasn't captured by the Beyonder or crushing Doombots in Latveria).

The standard She-Hulk available in stores nowhere (goddamn Sydney distribution - I swear to god, the only one I ever saw was the one I bought) depicts Shulkie in her standard purple and white outfit - specifically from the cover of 2004's She-Hulk #6 (the footwear is the giveaway), but the basic costume has remained unchanged from a little while prior to her current solo title. This variant is primarily Lawyer She-Hulk, based on the cover to #7 (which is also the cover of the second She-Hulk trade paperback, Superhuman Law, so you may have seen it): hair tied in a ponytail, black jacket and skirt, white blouse, glasses, attache case, and smart heels.

wow, she's adorable The figure cheats a bit in not having a blouse, and just using the white top of her costume to suggest it beneath her closed jacket, but I'm not so fussy as to mind that - at this scale, a second layer of cloth would have been way too bulky. The suit's not exactly thin as is, but by the standards of action figures, it's not a bad effort. The face - especially the painted details - are great, really capturing a serious, professional attitude.

The glasses, sadly - like almost all action figure glasses - are better left off, being too thick, and having no protruding ears to hook over. But honestly, in terms of the sculpt of the head, that was a good decision: better to look great sans glasses, than adequate with them. Besides, she doesn't need them; she's been shown wearing them in court, but presumably just to make her look smarter. If you think the glass ceiling is tough for a woman, just try breaking it when you're 6'7" and green. The briefcase has an opening flap, and is hollow inside - if you wee one of the lucky few to get the DCSH Clark Kent figure, the files he comes with would look great in there.

Seeing as her costume is almost all additional layers, Hasbro took the opportunity to make the She-Hulk beneath the clothes a different version, too. This time it's She-Hulk during her time as a member of the Fantastic Four, as written by John Byrne in the '80s. They put some effort in - she has interchangeable hands, to give her white gloves and footwear instead of the lawyer version's bare hands and heels, and the paintwork is crisp and true to colour - but overall, it doesn't work. It's still the same She-Hulk body underneath, which means she's got the sculpted lines of her standard costume, with its vertical patches on the sides of her torso, not the Fantastic Four costume with its wide shoulderline/collar and belt.

The belt - like the gloves - is just painted on with no sculpt definition at all, and they just gave up on the collar and painted within the lines of the costume as sculpted. In the preview photos the hips of her costume had been painted down to the joint, which looked awful, but fortunately they changed their mind, and again kept the costume within the sculpted bounds, so the hips arch higher than the FF costume did. And the footwear is just wrong - her low-topped shoes are just painted fully white, but because they need the legs to be bare for the lawyer look, there's no attempt at the FF boots which came half-way up her shins. Plus the head is wrong - as an FF member She-Hulk was at her most fun-loving, and typically wore her hair loose - the ponytail and serious stare are all wrong.

Fortunately you can swap the heads between She-Hulks fairly easily - they're firm as joints, and won't move on their own or come off at random, but they can be popped off and on with no risk of damaging anything. So if you're willing to put up with the shortcomings of the FF costume, you could put a standard She-Hulk head on her, which would be closer to representing her as she was back then. And as an added bonus, you'd only be a few small paint changes away from having a "Reckoning War" She-Hulk, too.

I'm not up for messing around with the paint on the only Shulkies I have - but if they don't sell out before I make up my mind, I'm considering buying another to customize. The Reckoning War was glimpsed in She-Hulk vol.2 #3, and occurs in 2008 - one of the decisions She-Hulk has made as a member of the Living Tribunal's Magistrati (cosmic judges) has set off a series of events which, eventually, will cause galaxy-wide chaos, the Watchers throwing off their non-intervention policy (possibly even killing each other) - and more importantly, She-Hulk by then has a ponytail, and a hot-looking update of her costume. Word has it that writer Dan Slott, though he's left She-Hulk in Peter David's hands, is all set up to play out the Reckoning War in his current title Avengers: The Initiative, which deals with the recruitment and training of new superheroes - as he's said in interviews, a war is coming, and he's got a superhero army to play with.

So, bottom line: if you want a Fantastic Four She-Hulk, you're probably better off saving your pennies for the statue. Sadly, that's out of my price range. If you want a lawyer She-Hulk, and are in the US or know someone with a US mailbox who can send it on to you, get over to the Hasbro website now.

-- 11/17/07


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