Written by: Peter David
Art by: Shawn Moll
Published by: Marvel Comics
Price: $2.99

“Jaded”

Jennifer Walters was a lawyer until she got a gamma-irradiated blood transfusion from her cousin, Bruce Banner (the Hulk). That’s how she became She-Hulk. Charming name aside (though it’s better than Shulkie), female versions of super-heroes is a bit of a holdover from the mindset that every major male super-hero had to have a female counterpart (Spider-Man/Spider-Woman, Superman/Supergirl, Batman/Batgirl, Hulk, She-Hulk). However, there’s something about the character of She-Hulk that makes creators come and try to put their distinctive mark on her. To catch us up on the character:

Things have not been easy on She-Hulk lately … between dropping her support of the Fifty State Initiative, her cousin’s attack on Earth and losing (and subsequently regaining) her super-powers, Jen has found herself at a crossroads just in time for mysterious circumstances to lead her to leave her legal practice behind. Done with both her careers as a lawyer and as an Avenger, Jen must decide what a gamma-powered legal dynamo does with her life next …

Apparently it’s become a bounty hunter.

Dan Slott’s departure from the book left a huge vacuum to fill. Starting with issue 22 of She-Hulk, Peter David (X-Factor, Stephen King’s Dark Tower) can’t seem to escape the world of the Hulk. From his wonderful 12 year run on The Incredible Hulk, to writing Captain Marvel with Rick Jones (the Hulk’s best friend) now with She-Hulk, he keeps nibbling around the edges of the world he largely created. Partnering with Jazinda, a mysterious Skrull, like some ersatz version of Heroes for Hire duo, She-Hulk works for the Freeman Bonding, Inc, the agency that puts up bail for super villains. I guess there had to be one and if there is, they would have bounty hunters, and if one is super powered and between clear careers, why not bounty hunt.

“All anybody cares about is what’s important to them, and anyone tells you otherwise, they’re sellin’ something!” –The Absorbing Man

We’re fascinated by the monster within, from the Hulk to Mr. Hyde, as if speaking to our realization that we need to come to terms with it. Unlike her cousin, the She-Hulk is not the embodiment of her inner rage. It is, however, the embodiment of all of her repressed behavior. As She-Hulk, she is more confident (being seven feet tall and able to bench press a school bus ought to at least instill one with some self assurance), feels sexier (though she’s currently lamenting her sex kitten image), and feels more whole. In truth, hers is a much more balanced and integrated persona because she came to terms with who she is and what lies within her.

“Sounds like somebody’s got some issues.” –The Absorbing Man

The key to her contented life as the She-Hulk is balance her appropriate expressions and healthily containing her impulses. It’s a life long journey to channel our inner passions and control our inner monsters. As we temper our inner demons, we can hope to find that balance and peace many of us look for. Not doing so may lead to many wrecked relationships.

“Has it ever occurred to you there’s a whole world of things beyond what’s important to you?” –She-Hulk

In coming into her powers, echoing the words of the Apostle Paul she became a new woman and put aside her old woman: “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-24). With all of her newfound liberation, the new struggle is what to do with all of the freedom she has.

It’s a transition period while David tweaks the character’s mythology and cast of supporting characters to allow She-Hulk to come into her own. Given his track record with the Hulk universe, I’m willing to allow plenty of patience. The Moll’s art is serviceable, if a little sparse and rigid, like a pale imitation of Gary Frank. Without relaunching and renumbering the title (since both were just done, oh, 22 issues ago), this is a good jump on point for those fans wishing to give She-Hulk a try. It’s a bit of a rocky start, but David’s one of the very few writers in the funnybook business who can actually write with real wit (when he’s not going goofy overboard, as in Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man). After the frenzy of variant covers and a new creative team have worn off, hopefully he will have the time to tell his stories.

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