Jennifer Walters, the Original She-Hulk, is my favourite of the Hulks. Normally she’s the opposite of the original Hulk in a number of ways. She’s got full control of her transformations, she retains her full intelligence, and she loves being a superhero. All of this makes for a more lighthearted and fun superhero. But recent events, like almost getting killed by a rocket meant for Thanos that put her into a coma for 3 weeks, and learning that Hawkeye killed her cousin Bruce Banner minutes after she woke up has altered things a bit.
Hulk 1, written by Mariko Tamaki, begins with Jennifer’s first day back as a Lawyer. This comic feels like a straight up drama in a lot of ways. Jen’s clearly dealing with emotional trauma and is talking to the voice in her head a lot to help calm down. For the most part her first day of work goes well. The comic details the meeting with her first client. That in itself is an interesting story with a bit of a creepy cliffhanger ending to cap the issue off. The writing feels very realistic in this issue. It doesn’t get too deep into Jen’s trauma, but it does show that she occasionally loses control and partially hulks out, normally if she hears the words “Hawkeye”, “Bruce” or “trauma”. There are also a number of nice touches, like Jen’s mirror being too high, so she needs to move it down, and some cooking show constantly playing on her laptop in her apartment. It’s hard to tell where this series will go from here, but I’m sold so far.
The art by Nico Leon is great. It’s a clean look with a fair amount of detail. Jen’s condo is mildly messy with clothes spread throughout the bedroom and some loose papers on the floor, but it’s not a disaster by any means. Facial expressions perfectly capture how Jen’s trying to look normal, but she looks like she’s faking it a bit. The sweat on her forehead in one scene perfectly captures this, as does her exhaling between her first meeting and the second. The 2 page spread of her waiting clients is a fun image with a variety of weird looking people, and one fairly normal person right in the middle of them. Matt Milla’s colouring is also great. The dark green tint in Jennifer’s apartment fits the mood quite well, as if it’s implying that the She-Hulk is waiting to come out. The rest of the comic is mostly bright and colourful during the day, and there’s good use of lighting effects at night.
Although I was excited about this series when they announced it, I was also a bit nervous. I do miss the more fun She-Hulk, but this series is off to a great start. It’s a very dramatic comic that delves deep into trauma and how it might affect someone who’s got a 6’7” green monster waiting to get out. Well, that’s if she’s still green. There’s a lot of storytelling potential here and I’m looking forward to seeing how Hulk moves forward.
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This was excellent. I’ve been looking forward to it since it was announced Tamaki would be writing it, because she is a fantastic writer, and this doesn’t disappoint. It’s a great look at trauma and PTSD and anxiety. And it’s great art.