Jean, 39, lover of sci-fi, horror and fantasy, reader of comic books, conqueror of genre fiction.
This was one I was interested in from the get-go. Betty Ross has, surprisingly, become one of the more interesting characters in the Marvel universe. Not only did they completely and unprecedentedly subvert the 'girlfriend existing to cause manpain' trope, but they did it by dealing with something that's generally avoided, and that's female anger. She's had a boyfriend who has constantly run away from her, and a father who consistently manipulated and used her to get at Bruce. And now Betty's pissed. Not only that, but she's discovered a new found sense of liberation, of power.
Of course, that'd all be just a good idea on paper with crappy execution, but Jeff Parker makes her a real, fully rounded character with a great sense of humor as well as compassion, righteousness and, well, rage, and gives her a fantastic sidekick in the form of Machine Man. Strangely, this is my first exposure to Aaron Stack, and the character shines. As a duo, they carry what is at times a questionable story with a few, but not many, problems. Man-Thing, Marvel's own Swamp Thing rip-off, makes a rather wonderful appearance, and I love that it's Jen Walters that rides in to save the day, not Bruce.
But there are some problems. The end was confusing as hell. I actually had to Google it to have it explained to me what had happened. The early appearance by the Avengers was welcome, but some of the characters seem strangely out of character to suit the story. Also, I thought that Nikola Tesla's involvement felt a bit campier than the story really deserved.
But those really are small complaints. The biggest problem is how short the run was before it was cancelled. It never really got a chance to shine with, I think, only eight issues. But it's a wonderful read, and one I enjoyed completely.