Tuesday, October 7, 2014


Spider-Man guest-stars in three pages of AVENGERS #235, reproduced below for your reading pleasure.

Writer: Roger Stern | Breakdowns: Bob Budiansky | Inker: Joe Sinnott
Letterer: Diana Albers | Colorist: Christie Scheele | Editor: Mark Gruenwald
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter

The Plot Excerpt: She-Hulk is out jogging while listening to the Beach Boys when she gets into an altercation with a motorist. Spider-Man breaks up the confrontation and then, as She-Hulk jogs on, she casually mentions that she is paid $1,000 a week to be an Avenger. Spider-Man is dumbstruck by this revelation.

The Sub-Plots: Technically this entire scene is a sub-plot to lead into the next two issues of AVENGERS. So:

Sub-Sub-Plots: She-Hulk is getting tired of living in Avengers Mansion and wants to find her own apartment in Manhattan. She also misses the beaches of Southern California.

Continuity Notes: Spider-Man last encountered She-Hulk at the Avengers' meeting with Captain Marvel in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #16. He also turned down an invitation to become an Avenger in AVENGERS #221.

Uncle Rog Speaks: "The only book I ever actively sought out at Marvel was AVENGERS. And I asked for that assignment only because I knew that Jim [Shooter] was leaving the series, and I’d always loved the characters." -- THE ROGER STERN INTERVIEW: THE TRIUMPHS AND TRIALS OF THE WRITER, 2006

My Thoughts: Though this small segment really adds nothing to our overall review experience, I wanted to cover it since it features Spider-Man written by Roger Stern during Stern's time on the web-slinger's main title. The bit where Spidey learns the Avengers' weekly salary will be referenced again soon, so at the very least that is of some importance.

For the record, I plugged $1,000 into an inflation calculator and learned that in 2014 dollars, the Avengers would earn $2,380 a week, coming out to an annual salary of $123,772. While this is a relatively comfortable stipend, I'm not sure how far it would go in metropolitan New York, and it certainly doesn't seem commensurate with what the Avengers do. But then, I doubt the annual salary of the average enlisted soldier makes sense for the danger they would face, either. I wonder if Avengers get hazard pay?

Plus, I suppose, most of the Avengers have jobs in their civilian identities, and those who don't tend to be the ones who live, rent-free, at Avengers Mansion. So maybe that grand a week isn't so little after all.

So, since that's all I've got to say about this three-page sequence, let's talk a little bit about She-Hulk. I've been a fan of the character for years. In general I think that, from Orion slave girls to Gamora and beyond, green chicks are hot. But She-Hulk is my favorite character in that specific category. I knew little about her when I was younger, and I think my first exposure was the (in?)famous Joe Jusko "muscle beach" poster (probably NSFW unless you're on a construction site circa the 1980s), which was prominently positioned on the wall of my local comic shop. Of course back then I was too embarrassed to actually buy -- much less display -- the thing, though nowadays I have a smaller lithograph of the image, autographed by Jusko, hanging framed, but tastefully out of immediate sight, in my den.

While She-Hulk started out "savage", she was always brainier than her cousin. But I prefer the "sensational" version popularized by John Byrne's run on the character in the early nineties -- though that characterization would begin here, in the pages of Stern's AVENGERS. Stern is the one who would change She-Hulk from a brooding, temperamental amazon into a fun-loving party girl -- which, to me, is a more appealing characterization. There are plenty of characters out there with She-Hulk's original grumpy disposition. It's nice to see a character who transforms into a supposed "monster" but who prefers that form over her weak, mousy alter ego.

Someday I'll write something about She-Hulk here. At the very least, I have a trade collecting Byrne's first eight or nine issues on her solo series. But that's nowhere near my radar right now, so it'll be some time until I get to it.

Now, back to our continuing adventures of Spider-Man...
Blurb courtesy of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #243.

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