She-Hulk (Vol. 2) #3

Background

The Headmen have hired Mysterio to capture She-Hulk. Mysterio was more than happy to oblige (for the fee of course) and delivered her to the Headmen.

Why kidnap She-Hulk? The Headmen wanted her to donate her body to science - a bit prematurely. They need a suitable host body for one of their own - Chondu the mystic - who is rejecting the body grown for him.

Story 'My Guest Star,...My Enemy!'

  She-Hulk (Vol. 2) #3
Summary: She-Hulk & Spider-Man vs. The Headmen
Editor: Bobbie Chase
Writer: John Byrne
Pencils: John Byrne
Inker: Bob Wiacek
Articles: Mysterio I (Beck)

As Mysterio leaves the Headmen's hideout, he is unaware that he is being followed by Spider-Man. Spider-Man has been trying to find the reason his spider-sense has been going ballistic for the last 10 minutes and he has determined that Mysterio is the cause. He questions why this is the case and follows him.

The Headmen are busy congratulating themselves for apparently separating She- Hulk's head from the rest of her body in preparation for transplanting Chondu's head to a new host.

She-Hulk's disembodied head appears and tries to tell jokes to lighten the mood since this is supposed to be a "funny book" but the jokes are rather lame.

We return to Spider-Man after he has defeated Mysterio, webbing him to his getaway car (I'm as surprised as anyone else that he drives). He inadvertently informs Mysterio that he's been conned. The money in his briefcase is fake, but the signal device - tuned to his spider-sense - hidden inside made him aware of his activities.

Mysterio is livid. He immediately rats out the Headmen, giving Spider-Man the location of their headquarters, knowing that he'll capture them.

He quickly makes his way into their building. He spies the Headmen trying to recapture Chondu after he was released in preparation for the transplant. Chondu currently has a piecemeal body: a horn growing out of his head, blood red wings growing out of his/its back, enlarged rooster-like legs, and 8 lampreys for arms (4 on each side).

The remaining Headmen are introduced. Arthur Nagan a scientist that accidentally had his head grafted on to a gorilla's body. Jerome Morgan is a scientist whose experiments in cellular compression reduced his skeleton, but not his skin. Ruby Thursday, a woman with presidential aspirations that had her damaged head replaced with a highly dense ruby-colored globe capable of converting its substance into anything from extra hands to offensive weapons.

Ruby tries to reign in Chondu, but it lifted off the ground. Spider-Man frees her and is attacked by the Headmen for his efforts. When it becomes obvious that they can't beat Spider-Man in a fair fight, Morgan directs She- Hulk's body to attack Spider-Man. She-Hulk's head - meanwhile - is resting almost comfortably wired into a wall console to keep her alive. She is not happy about her current situation. Morgan warns that if he damages the body, She-Hulk will die. They eventually overpower him by confusing his spider-sense and knock him out.

Later Nagan completes the transfer of Chondu's head to She-Hulk's body. He is not happy about being a woman, despite Nagan's insistence that having a woman's body doesn't make him a woman. Chondu sees the unconscious Spider-Man and demands to be transplanted to his body. At this point Spider-Man stops pretending to be unconscious and literally punches Chondu's head off She-Hulk's body. Both Spider-Man and She-Hulk are initially disgusted until they realize that this is not her real body but a clone of it made specifically for Chondu. After freeing herself from the device, they capture the Headmen and turn them over to the police.

General Comments

This series allowed She-Hulk to talk directly to the audience as the story progressed. Sometimes this works, sometimes not. In this issue, the "fourth wall" commentary is amusing, but not laugh-out-loud funny. In many instances it comes across as forced.

The line (and I'm paraphrasing here) "let's skip past the part where I break free of these restraints and move on" works better for me than a monologue about how "Marvel" time is different than "regular" time (also used in this issue). Given the fast-paced nature of the story, one-liners work better.

Overall Rating

2 webs. If you're going for a very light-hearted read, then this should fit the bill. The plot is straightforward with a few funny jokes. The Headmen should have been played for bigger laughs. I mean you have a gorilla-man scientist, a scientist that has a body full of lunchroom lady arm skin due to his incompetence, the token woman that has a red rubber ball for a head, and a former mystic that looks like the unholy offspring of the flying monkeys from The Wizard Of Oz and a refugee from KFC. They take themselves too seriously.

Footnote

The full roster of the Headmen made their first appearance in Defenders #32.