SHE-HULK (2022) #1/ Story by RAINBOW ROWELL/ Art by ROGE ANTONIO/ Color Art by RICO RENZI/ Letters by VC’S JOE CARAMAGNA/ Published by MARVEL COMICS
Jennifer Walters was a shy, quiet attorney, until a blood transfusion from her cousin, Dr. Bruce Banner, gave her a new life after she was almost murdered. As the Sensational She-Hulk, Jennifer found the confidence she always lacked. She became an Avenger, part of the Fantastic Four and even gained the powers of a Celestial for a time. But that was then…
Now, Jennifer is trying to rebuild her life, having spent too long as a Savage She-Hulk and having only one suit left in her original size. She has a new job, working for a former courtroom rival. She has a tentative peace with her self-declared arch-enemy. And, thanks to her friend Jan, the Wonderful Wasp, she has a place to stay that has some of her former plus-size wardrobe. Of course things can’t be that simple and quickly become complicated.
I haven’t kept up on Shulkie’s adventures since the days when Dan Slott was using her solo book to explore the legal system of the Marvel Universe. I was aware that she was recently in the Avengers in a more muscular, less curvy incarnation that inspired innumerable complaints about how Marvel had ruined the character to please the woke. And yet the classic articulate She-Hulk is back in a form that is somewhat familiar, but not for the reasons you’d think.
Rainbow Rowell’s script does a fine job of introducing us to Jen Walters as a person and setting up the status quo of the book. The details of just why she’s rebuilding her life are glossed over, but it’s enough to know that Shulkie is starting over with one suit, a borrowed apartment and a need to make Jennifer Walters stand apart from her alter ego. It’s a serviceable story, but there’s little of the zany humor that marked previous She-Hulk series and no breaking of the fourth wall. In fact, changing into a green giant aside, the story here could be used to open virtually any rom-com with Jen as the beleaguered protagonist.
Thankfully, while the story may be a bit rote, the artwork is distinctive. I’ve been a big fan of Roge Antonio since Batgirl and the Birds of Prey and am pleased to see them back on a monthly book again after a recent stint on Conan the Barbarian. Antonio excels at drawing powerful, distinctive female figures and this book is an ideal outlet for that ability. The colors by Rico Renzi are equally sensational throughout.
She-Hulk #1 effectively establishes Jen Walters’ new lease on life and offers newcomers a welcome jumping on point to her adventures. While not as overtly humorous as previous She-Hulk series, Rowell’s writing captures Shulkie’s personality well enough and the artwork by Antonio and Renzi is worth the price of admission alone. This is a strong title for a strong character.