- Posted by Johanna on September 22, 2013 at 9:15 pm
- Category: Books and Prose, Superhero Reviews
- CREDITS: by Marta Acosta
- PUBLISHER: Hyperion; $14.99 US
The She-Hulk Diaries is fun, frothy, chick lit in the diary format made popular by Bridget Jones.
Jennifer Walters keeps a journal about being the one left cleaning up after a party-girl celeb-chasing thoughtless roommate. Only the roomie is her alternate personality, She-Hulk, and they share the same body, not just the same living space.
“Shulky” and her lack of accountability are responsible for Jen needing to look for a job. Most of the law firms in town have spent too much money on her alter-ego to keep her employed. Even the other superheroes find She-Hulk’s antics and hard partying tiring. Plus, her wardrobe keeps getting destroyed. She finally resorts to going to a specialty tailor (who mostly works with strippers) to put breakaway seams in her suits. (Clever!)
The dialogue is realistic and snappy, and I love the food details. The supporting cast is great. There’s Ruth, a chirpy, cheerful Avengers Mansion admin; Dahlia, Jen’s college roommate and hairdresser; Amy, fellow gamer; and Nelson, the nervous dentist. I also enjoyed the cracks about Tony Stark, former date, including how he keeps from leaving unexpected packages behind when he sleeps around. (He “invented microscopic nanobots to retrieve wayward sperm”.)
The new love interest is Ellis Tesla, physics geek and rock band lead singer. He’s dreamy, in part because he reminds me of Buckaroo Banzai. He was Jen’s great “college crush who got away”, only now, he’s the son of the managing partner at her new law firm as well. And he’s engaged to the blonde attorney who thinks she’s top dog.
It’s a quick read, and it makes most sense if you’re familiar with the She-Hulk comic run written by Dan Slott in the middle of the last decade. There are a lot of similarities, from the legal office setting to the sense of humor. In fact, one of the law firms in this book has the same name (Goodman, Lieber, Kurtzberg & Holliway) as in that comic.
The approach of not writing She-Hulk very much, mostly writing about her effects on others, is a good way of keeping the focus on Jen. That keeps her relatable as well, as we all have people in our lives that we have to put up with and clean up after. We may not choose them, but we’re stuck with them, because they’re family.
By the way, I’d love to see this as a fresh take on a superhero movie or TV show. I haven’t seen female heroes done this entertainingly since The Middleman. (The publisher provided a review copy.)