She-Hulk. You wouldn’t think so, but the latest 12-issue miniseries by Dan Slott was really terrific. It is collected in two TPBs, *Single Green Female * (#1-6) and *Superhuman Law * (#7-12). Both deal a lot with She-Hulk’s dual life as a sexy superheroine AND an attorney of some repute in the Marvel Universe. There is a lot of humor related to the inherent ridiculousness of comic book superheroes, metafictional jokes and references to Marvel’s history and continuity, and just general laugh-out-loud moments. But it’s not all slapstick and cheesecake – there is a lot of heart, much like the best moments of Justice League International. Wil, since you’re a lawyer and you like your superheroes with a twist, I have to recommend these to you. It’s the most fun I’ve had reading a Marvel book in many years. I even got Wolfian to pick them up, based on my recommendation, and he liked them too.
Did you ever read The Losers, the Vertigo series by Andy Diggle and Jock? I’d have to describe it as an “action movie in comic book form,” or more appropriately, an updated version of *The A-Team * where people can get shot and die, and the stakes are a lot higher. If you like Sleeper and Queen and Country, definitely give the first Losers TPB, Ante Up, a chance.
Ed Brubaker turned Catwoman into an excellent noir antiheroine on the outskirts of the DC Universe. Brubaker’s two TPBs Dark End of the Street and Crooked Little Town feature some excellent art by the likes of Darwyn Cooke, Mike Allred, Brad Rader, and Cameron Stewart, and essentially do for Catwoman what James Robinson did for Starman: carved out a little corner of the DCU, fleshed out a compelling protagonist and a wonderful supporting cast, and made characters who act very much like real people, despite the occasional use of masks and costumes. Catwoman is definitely dark and edgy and atmospheric enough to make it an honorary Vertigo book, and I mean that as the highest possible compliment.
Finally, *Ex Machina: The First Hundred Days * is the first TPB of a Wildstorm series about Mitchell Hundred, the mayor of New York City, who was formerly a superhero called The Great Machine. It is set in the “real” world (Mitch was the first and only superhero, and he grew up reading DC Comics), and is full of snappy dialogue, realistic drama, and political intrigue. I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoyed The West Wing on TV, who doesn’t mind smart and thoughtful politics blended in with their escapism. Again, Wil, I know that’s you. Plus the art by Starman’s Tony Harris is absolutely gorgeous, and Brian K. Vaughn’s writing is probably the best of his career.