In She-Hulk’s new solo series, Jennifer’s been struggling with her PTSD while also helping a client who’s facing “unfair” eviction. It started off normal enough, despite the client’s inhuman nature and a bit of a creepy personality, but things got out of hand when a strange monster killed the client’s landlord and a couple cops. The creature fully revealed itself in the previous issue as a physical manifestation of fear and attacked Jennifer.
Hulk 6, written by Mariko Tamaki, concludes the arc with a bit of a brutal action scene. Although Jen’s Hulk form is no longer as easily controlled as before, she needs to unleash it to survive the fear monster. The action scene isn’t brutal in terms of blood, guts or just powerful hits, but it’s kind of emotionally brutal. The monster has clearly corrupted Jen’s client to the point of insanity, and the fight ends up destroying the building that everyone inside just wanted to protect. It’s hard to say whether Jen’s client deserves punishment or needs help, because she is at least partly responsible for all the deaths the fear monster caused, but the monster seems to both feed on and amplify fear.
As for Jen, this experience seems like it will help her start to recover from her Thanos rocket-induced coma, only to wake up to learn that her cousin, Bruce Banner, died. The flashback at the start of the issue shows a touch of their relationship and how they were like good friends who understood each other’s condition (even if She-Hulk’s case is usually much more positive and upbeat). The comic’s ending shows Jennifer at a ceremony celebrating Bruce’s contributions to the science world, and she seems much calmer than earlier in the series when she keeps freaking out at the sound of Bruce’s name. She’s still got plenty of recovery to go, but it’s a powerful way to close this story arc.
The art by Nico Leon is great. It’s a simple, smooth style, but well-detailed when it needs to be. The fight against the fear monster is full of weird, black tentacles covering the apartment building, debris flying all over the place and the tenants looking terrified throughout the whole fight. She-Hulk’s new form is kind of terrifying, with glowing eyes and glowing lines along her arms, and a bit more of a monstrous form and animalistic stance. There’s also good use of motion blur during the fight scene. The calm, determined look in Jennifer’s eyes on the very last panel really sells the beginning of her recovery. Matt Milla’s colouring is also great. The opening flashback and the closing scene are both bright and colourful, with great use of shading. The fight scene on the other hand looks creepy with all the black tentacles, the glowing green eyes and lines on She-Hulk’s otherwise mostly gray body, and the orange glow of the fires burning around.
I miss the more upbeat, fun She-Hulk, but this is a great series so far. It’s a deep exploration of PTSD and how it can affect even the strongest people in unpredictable ways. On top of that, it’s still a good legal drama, which you’d expect from a She-Hulk series. Although some Jennifer fans might not enjoy the more depressing tone than what’s usual for the character, this is at least worth checking out for her fans. It’s also worth a look for people interested in a comic about a superhero dealing with PTSD.