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John Byrne’s bikini-clad She-Hulk doesn’t give a rat’s ass about “Atlantis Attacks,” so why should you? – Marvel Age #76

August 15, 2012

Here we are with another summer-themed issue of Marvel Age, this one also featuring the inveterate exhibitionist She-Hulk in a provocative beach pose. She’s all by her lonesome this time, not lugging drinks for fellow members of Marvel’s distaff branch. (She’s still wearing her giant Elaine Benes sun hat, though.) I have a few things to say about this one. Here they are:

  1. My thanks to John Byrne for going the less-is-more route with his signature, hiding it in the sand instead of giving it an enormous box that covers up half the cover image — and he also refrains from needless commentary, which is a nice bonus.
  2. What’s with the shovel and the bucket? Is She-Hulk a childish imbecile? Did she take a kid to the beach, part of a Big Brothers Really Big Sisters program?
  3. “Dark Olive.” NYUKNYUKNYUK.
  5. She-Hulk’s giving poor Forbush Man the patented Atlas sand-kick treatment.
  6. Finally, and most importantly, I’m not sure of the dismissive bent taken with that summer’s big crossover event, “Atlantis Attacks.” I realize that this is just a joke, and Byrne wasn’t going renegade and badmouthing the company’s product, as this cover was certainly okayed by any number of people. But when you start mocking your own stuff and tell potential readers that yeah, you really don’t need to bother reading the story since it was done better (and briefer — and cheaper) decades ago, then please, don’t be surprised if the audience pre-emptively tunes out. I’m reminded of pro wrestling and the late 1990s woes of the once potent WCW. The NWO, a stable of bad-guy wrestlers, propelled that company to new heights with their irreverent, anti-establishment antics. They were enormously popular, but “outside” of the company and always trying to tear down the wrestlers, announcers, caterers, what have you, that were associated with WCW. It was great, it was entertaining, but eventually it devalued the broader brand. And once the interest in the NWO faded, what was left was a WCW that had been relentlessly bad-mouthed by the hip, cool wrestlers. There were any number of reasons why WCW collapsed, but this was one of them. She-Hulk’s too-cool attitude reminds me a lot of this.

Anyway. This installment of Age is not only noteworthy for the (undermined at the get-go) pimping of “Atlantis Attacks.” It also has a eulogy for the recently departed New Universe, penned by Mark Gruenwald:

Gruenwald was taken away before his time. All respect to his well-written, passionate opinion, but I don’t think the same can be said about the New Universe. If it doesn’t engage, it doesn’t engage. No harm, no foul, but move on.

And, of course, “Atlantis Attacks.” Here’s the article that lays out the story’s annuals in excruciating detail. A gold star to anyone who wades through all four pages:

I’ve seen overwrought Wikipedia entries with less verbosity. I think the Omnibus collection goes faster.

More Marvel Fun in the Sun to come. Hopefully with less attitude from the cover babes.

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