- January 19, 2022
She-Hulk #1 Review
Written by: Rainbow Rowell
Art by: Roge Antonio
Coloring by: Rico Renzi
Lettering by: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Do you like John Bryne’s classic run on She-Hulk? Did you not enjoy Jennifer Walters’ time as the Hulk? Well, then this series kind of feels like it’s for you, but not. This new She-Hulk #1 feels like the greatest hits of She-Hulk’s best runs but written by someone, you know, who actually knows what it’s like to be a woman.
She-Hulk #1 opens with Jennifer Walters reinventing herself as an attorney, starting at a new firm, and wallowing at how she hasn’t gotten anywhere in her private life. It brings her back to a relatable place for someone in their early to mid-thirties. For a while, she hasn’t had control of her Hulk side, but that’s not true anymore. Now she can go back to acting like she hates being Jennifer Walters and feeling comfortable as She-Hulk. This feels both like a regression of her character and a return to form. Jennifer’s characters as Hulk and as She-Hulk feel completely different and their stories are about inherently different things. They’re both great, but they can’t honestly reconcile with each other. This makes this issue feel strangely out of place, despite how enjoyable it is.
And if the new status quo couldn’t feel more nostalgic, she’s even back to living in Janet Van Dyme’s apartment. If you don’t remember, this is what she did at the beginning of John Bryne’s original series. Janet even calls back to it in this issue. This makes it clear that the creative team is doing a gorgeous do-over of She-Hulk’s classic status quo, and they know how to invoke old times.
At the same time, if you’re worried this is going to be more of the same, a mashup of John Bryne’s and Dan Slott’s runs on the character, don’t be. The creative team here sends a big signal of how more aware they are of She-Hulk’s emotional growth with her encounter with Titania. Jennifer Walters doesn’t want to fight her and put her in jail. Titania has reformed, but still has power, anger, and energy she wants to work off, but so does Jennifer. Rather than fight to kill or put the other in jail, they’re just going to have a friendly sparing match from time to time. That sounds interesting, therapeutic even in an ironic way.
I hope the series spends more time fleshing out those ideas than retreading old ones. The characterization and writing are fun, but I would enjoy it more once it starts doing its own thing rather than treading on nostalgia.