SHE-HULK #1 Misses the Charm of the 1980s!
It’s been quite a while since I visited my local comic book shop (Cosmic Monkey in PDX!!) but but the new ‘She-Hulk’ series I’d heard about gave me enough ammo to figure it would be worth finally stopping in for a visit again. I was pretty pumped to hear that She-Hulk was supposedly going back to her “roots” finally, something that’s been presented as more of a return to form to the original John Byrne series of the 1980s. Count me in!
First I must admit, the cover(s) art for this debut issue is awesome and truly does remind me of the classic She-Hulk I grew to love back in the late eighties. I’m actually quite surprised that Marvel Comics seemingly decided to go back to the “sexy, flirtatious” version of Jennifer Walters. Especially since more recently this version of the character was to an extent considered is somewhat offensive to many.
People claimed that she was only used as a sex symbol by male writers & never truly fleshed out as a character, something that I actually highly disagree with.
Nonetheless I was excited to see exactly what they were going to bring to the table in 2022. Unfortunately my hopes for this debut issue were squashed pretty quickly by what I consider to be weak and somewhat uninspiring storytelling.
Most of the issue revolves around a rather pointless fight with her classic nemesis Titania, that I assume they were trying Inject some sort of witty comedy into. The rest of the issue spends a few pages getting into Jennifer Walters more personal problems as she moves back into her former apartment. That’s really about it in a nutshell. I didn’t really find much of anything to be memorable here, the dialogue was pretty flimsy and the artwork at some points was impressive and at others felt a bit rushed.
I guess a part of me had built up this return to form as possibly being a consisely comedic version of the character and her absurdly over the top adventures of years ago. Instead what I ultimately ended up with was yet another safely generic Marvel Comics relaunch. I guess in a way it was kind of what I was expecting and it’s certainly not the spark that’s gonna get me going back to drop another $4 to $5 on a comic book that literally takes just over 5 minutes to read in it’s entirety. I’m somewhat astounded that as comic prices dramatically increased the panels grew exponentially in size and now only take a matter of minutes to read. I would have hoped that the opposite would have occurred, If you’re gonna charge 5 bucks for a comic book you’d better be bringing more bang for your buck!
I can’t say I’ll be going back for more She-Hulk anytime soon, yet it has inspired me to dig out my old late eighties back issues. Who knows maybe I’m being too damn hard on things and perhaps my memory of the “golden era” of She-Hulk is something that won’t hold up in 2022. If this is any indication though of what the live action MCU series is going to be like I guess I’m gonna be pretty disappointed. There’s so much fun to be had with She-Hulk, a more of a classic “Sex in the City” style approach to the series with some clever writing is what I was hoping more for. I’ll save my true anticipation for the series launch on Disney Plus this year with my fingers firmly crossed....
The Controversial Look of the Live Action MCU She-Hulk: Savage, Sexy or BOTH?!
I’ve seen some heated arguments out there lately about the upcoming SHE-HULK “Disney+” series, something I’d never have expected to be an issue a few years ago even. However it’s now 2020 and everything seems to quickly escalate into some sort of major online argument or politicized debate, yes even She-Hulk has become a goddamn hot-topic! The big issue at hand is what version if the character we’ll see in MCU?! For most of her existence in the Marvel comics, She-Hulk was known for being well, let’s not beat around the bush…NOT particularly ugly. She was, for me as a kid growing up in the 1980’s one of my very first crushes. The Hulk was and still is my favorite superhero and when I saw She-Hulk for the first time I was admittedly an instant fan! Yeah slightly embarrassing…I guess? Or what the hell, maybe not!
She-Hulk in the 1980’s was also one of the most fun loving characters in all of the Marvel Universe, seeming fully confident in her green skin. Jennifer Walters really embraced her inner “Hulk”, unlike her cousin Bruce. She dealt with plenty of sexism in the pages of the classic comics, but many today are accusing the many of the male writers/artists of the past for blatantly exploiting and sexualizing her character. She-Hulk in the 1980’s was indeed a bit of sex symbol in the comics as were plenty of the ultra sculpted male characters but let’s be fair here, She-Hulk was indeed through the years given some of the most ridiculously cringeworthy scantily clad moments by artists. That being said, the classic third wall breaking John Byrne run of She-Hulk in 1989, was a truly unique approach even though it obvious he was truly delighted drawing her every curve.
I need to re-read those to see how it holds up today and see just how offensive it might be in 2020? Up until recently, I’d thought 80’s She-Hulk would be a great basis for a new series but times have changed right? Now She-Hulk, in the current comics is basically a female version of The Incredible Hulk, she’s essentially rejected her more feminine, “sexy” side & has serious regrets about her past looks and behavior. So an MCU Disney Plus She-Hulk series faces the issue, should She-Hulk be a more serious crime drama in the age of #metoo or a comedic, third wall breaking courtroom comedy?
Should the show be a more politicized statement on current affairs in the age of a sexist chump like Donald Trump? A wild female Jekyl & Hyde monster thriller? Or a sort of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” self aware NYC comedy? My idea is how about we combine ALL the approaches into one. The best of all worlds? Start the show off as Jennifer Walters navigates through the current landscape of things, as ridiculous as things are in the Trump era combined with how over the top PC things have sometimes become at the same time? Perhaps Jennifer’s Hulk out starts off as more of a comedic creature feature, and she quickly figures out how to tame her inner Hulk thanks to Ruffalo’s Banner Hulk.
Whatever they decide the real issue remains, should She-Hulk reject her “sexy” side and go full monster? How should she appear? In 2020 it might be frowned upon for her to keep that 1980s, 90s & 2000s look and instead embrace the more ultra muscular modern “Hulk” look. I think I’d be happy with either, but my final thought is a blend of the two is what would work best. They way I’ve seen her depicted at times has bothered me a bit, like when she essentially looks like a ridiculous green skinned porn star with no muscle tone. Here’s the best look in my opinion of what the MCU She-Hulk should probably look like, the more powerful amazonian look:
What do you think?!