Review by Frank Plowright
Time Trials picks up a few months after the events of Superhuman Law, and there have been changes. Writer Dan Slott opens with the new before providing explanations, and as in the previous volumes he constantly throws in curveball plot elements. The first chapter requires jurors randomly selected from the past to avoid bias. One of those thrust forward is Hawkeye, who knows She-Hulk as his Avengers team-mate. What he doesn’t know is that he recently died, and She-Hulk sees this as an opportunity to prevent his death.
The centrepiece of the volume is what was calculated to be She-Hulk’s 100th issue had the numbering not restarted with a first issue each time her comic was revived. She’s put on trial for knowingly tampering with time, and the jury are shown assorted vignettes from her heroic past. It’s an opportunity for various artists to illustrate a short She-Hulk piece, and as is the case with most such jam issues the ugly clash of contrasting artistic style outweighs any joy at seeing say, Amanda Conner or Eric Powell’s work. Slott does pull off a neat ending, though.
Another element characterising Slott’s term on She-Hulk is his digging around to revive under-used obscurities, and so former Marvel Western hero Two-Gun Kid joins the cast in what’s Juan Bobillo’s last work on the title he helped define. With his departure the series moves to traditional superhero art, some good, some that could be better, but nothing with his individuality.
The other tale here is a complete change of tack. There are no jokes as Slott revisits an Avengers story in which an out of control She-Hulk rampaged through a town like a destructive force of nature. Haunted by the destruction she committed, as Jennifer Walters she returns to make amends. It’s a touching character piece illustrated by Scott Kolins, and topped by a final revelation of the type at which Slott excels. It’s not required, doesn’t affect the main plot, but is a nice touch applied to someone who’ll never be seen again. If only all writers cared this much. Laws of Attraction follows this collection.