The first story arc of Jennifer Walters’s current series was very dramatic. She deals a lot with PTSD thanks to a rocket meant for Thanos that almost killed her, only to learn her cousin died while she slept in a coma. That’s bound to mess almost anyone up, no matter how tough they are. Issue 6 began her journey to recovery, and it’s clear that she felt a lot better in issue 7 than before. However, when the host of an online cooking show she often watches for comfort suddenly turns into a monster, she feels the need to get involved.
Written by Mariko Tamaki, Hulk 8 begins exactly where the last left off. The monstered up host spends the first half of the issue suffering, and goes on a rampage by the issue’s end. In the meantime, Jen and her assistant begin their investigation. It plays more like a detective comic than a legal drama like the first arc, but that’s by no means a bad thing. There’s a good mix of drama related to the host, story development with Jen’s investigation and humour mixed throughout.
The man responsible for the host turning into a monster is just some punk who wants to be famous, with a drug related criminal record. He’s the kind of vain jerk you love to hate, and it’s almost justified when the monster host attacks him. Jen reflects on why she’s more willing to use her hulk form a bit at the comic’s end, but most of the drama focuses on the cooking show host, and it’s well done. And perhaps helping the host recover from his new monster self may help Jen further her own recovery too. At this point she seems to be accepting her new Jennifer/Hulk dynamic.
The art by Georges Duarte is great. It’s a simple, clean look, but with plenty of detail in places. The opening page showing different reactions online is fun, showing how a lot of people think it’s fake, while others are worried. There’s also a random spam comment talking about clear skin that probably should have been taken further. Not all panels have backgrounds, but those that do are well detailed, whether it’s Jen’s assistant’s office desk with a plant and a couple pictures, the destroyed studio where the cooking show incident took place or the view of the city when Jen’s standing on top of a roof. Facial expressions perfectly convey emotions, like Jen’s cold anger when she first calls her assistant about the incident, the grin on the culprit’s face when he sees the view count, and the look of fury when the monster host tracks down the culprit. The monster looks like a bizarre mix of a hulk and a walking swamp covered in boils. It’s a gloriously hideous look. Matt Milla’s colouring is fantastic. Everything is bright and colourful, and the shading often gives the comic a 3d feel, more than most comics I read.
This is a great comic. It’s funnier than the first story arc, yet there’s still enough drama to keep things emotionally interesting. From what I’ve seen of her writing, that’s where Tamaki seems to work her best, when she focuses on characters dealing with serious issues yet still mixing some fun into it. This feels like a classic She-Hulk comic in tone, and it’s an easy recommendation to Jennifer Walters fans.