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The return of the Maniphant. Or Elemant. Or Man-Elephant. Whatever. – She-Hulk #38

August 7, 2011

If you’re looking for more about the little admiring old guy on the cover who’s hiding his boner with an Uncle Scrooge money bag, there’s none of that in She-Hulk’s umpteenth final issue. Sorry. There is, however, an odd reprise of one of the goofiest characters ever conceived.

Yes. The Man-Elephant. Let us rejoice and make merry.

Peter David scripted, Steve Scott pencilled and Vicente Cifuentes inked this blow-off effort, and the rematch in question comes as She-Hulk storms a hidden laboratory to rescue Skrull gal-pal Jazinda from torture and death. Green-skinned women of the world, unite, and all that jazz. S-H breaks in and all is going well, that is until an old foe steps to the fore:

It was “Haller” before, not “Heller.” And his skull was a bit weirder-looking. And he had noticeable ear-hair. But it’s the same guy.

His armor, with its tusk grappling hooks, is (tragically) gone. Thanks to a trip to the East and a fateful encounter with a Hindu wise man with a special gem, he can transform into a living incarnation of Ganesha. Hence:

It’s Doomsday meets Babar.

Now he goes by the name Behemoth, and he’s the one that captured the Skrull babe and put her in this predicament. He looks more fearsome, but is he any better at fighting now that he has mystically-derived powers?

Not really.

He’s a bit more intimidating and successful this time as he tangles with She-Hulk and her femme posse of Thundra, Invisible Woman and Valkyrie, but the more things change, the more they stay the same:

Look familiar?

And that, friends, marks the not-so-triumphant return of the Man-Elephant/Behemoth. I know the chances of a She-Hulk live-action film are slim (we’ll have to continue tiding ourselves over with the Benny Hill version), but if there is one in the pipe someday, I pray to Ganesha that Haller/Heller is the villain. With tusk grappling hooks.

One last thing. I have no beef with Peter David. I read many of his books as a kid, and one can’t help but admire his workhorse prodigiousness. And he resurrected the Man-Elephant, for Pete’s sake. At times, though, his winks to the reading public can get a bit too cute. Much of the dialogue in this issue is unspeakably smarmy, but the last page threatens to collapse upon itself and suck us into a black hole of pretension:

I know having a book cancelled out from under you has to be a traumatic experience, but don’t drag me into your private hell.

One Comment leave one →
  1. December 7, 2014 2:54 pm

    “It’s Doomsday meets Babar.”

    Bwah-ha-ha-ha!!! That was a good one 🙂

    I wonder if any actual practitioners of the Hindu faith were perturbed to find that one of their most important deities was written as empowering a cheesy super-villain?

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