The future apocalypse Betty Ross has been trying to prevent is here. Or is it? Along with Machine Man, She-Hulk, General Fortean and his Echelon forces, she finds herself in the very predicament she was hoping to stop, thanks to Man-Thing. Where humans and super humans wage a war that will eventually destroy the world. But perhaps this is the solution. Because it is merely one reality as opposed to another, the one where such fate is averted. Now all Betty and her allies have to do is figure a way to accept the truth so they can escape from the doomed scenario before Man-Thing closes the portal to prevent it from leaking out.
This issues brings about both the end to the story arc and to the book. When the switch to Red She-Hulk started, I felt the book had a lot of potential. Since then, the series made so many turns and twists that I’m kind of glad it’s over. Which is a shame because Jeff Parker has indeed been doing a fine job developing Betty Ross into a much better female character, one who is emerging from her damsel-in-distress role for decades and becoming a much better woman. The problem is that the story Parker puts her through ends up not being the best as it has created so many perplexing moments that it does little to display this personality of Betty to the world. It actually holds her back from really achieving the potential that the first story arc was hinting at. To be blunt, I don’t think Betty works without Bruce. The dynamic of their relationship is sorely missing.
This issue features some of the best as well as the not so best from Carlo Pagulayan, Patrick Olliffe, and Wellinton Alves. I don’t know who did which pages, but I will say that they all manage to keep everything consistent throughout and the drawings flow together swimmingly. The problem is that some of the illustrations just don’t sing quite as well as others do. The scenes of Betty in rampage mode never seem to work, a contrast to the few pages where Machine Man is drawn extremely well and unique. A few of the faces also appear to be stiff here and there, which any of the good emotional ones coming from when Betty is reunited with Eleanor. Probably the best thing about the art in this issue is the colors by Guy Major. While still lacking a bit of depth and definition I think would have really made the colors vibrant, Major nonetheless brings enough to make the action sing and to make sure the eyes do not suffer from all the chaos that is going on.
Red She-Hulk doesn’t end on the high note I was hoping for. The confusing story that Jeff Parker has scripted betrays the otherwise good work has made in developing Betty Ross into a strong, independent woman. The art team of Carlo Pagulayan, Patrick Olliffe, and Wellinton Alves pretty much draw a decent looking book, which is helped by better colors from Guy Major. I was really hoping that Red She-Hulk would be a sleeper title in the Marvel NOW! initiative, but the odd turns on its road to the finale end up leaving the book with a flat. I unfortunately cannot recommend it.
What do you think Marvel should do with Red She-Hulk going forward? Comment below and follow me on Twitter @LordAkiyama.