She-Hulk #1 Review: Return of the Recognizable She-Hulk
She-Hulk #1 reorients Jennifer Walters after years of modification to her status quo. Most recently she resembled her cousin Bruce in the pages of Avengers, hulking, monosyllabic, and brute-like. That and much more recent continuity is set aside on the credits page that frames this story as "So, now what?" It's a useful reset point, especially given the lackluster reception of her Avengers storyline and an upcoming Disney+ series, and one that returns Walters to her most familiar elements.
The debut issue offers readers a tour through the daily life of She-Hulk as she rebuilds her life. It features a battle with a familiar nemesis, a new gig in the legal profession, and Jen's current apartment and roommate. This is everything readers might anticipate receiving in a She-Hulk story and it's presented with a clear sense of style from artist Rogê Antônio, including multiple costume changes.
This day-in-the-life approach isn't unwelcome, and offers effective humor and action at moments, but it is poorly paced. The first 14 pages of the issue are dedicated to She-Hulk battling Titania with no clear purpose and an outcome that reads like a meet-cute. Titania picking a fight out of habit (and picking that fight with She-Hulk, specifically) is a familiar bit, but to stretch it across more than half of this issue's pages with a resolution that questions what purpose the scene even served, is questionable. More than half of She-Hulk #1's pages are dedicated to establishing a frenemy dynamic that is never exciting or funny enough to justify such an extensive use of space.
As a result, all of the other, seemingly more significant, elements of this issue seem jammed into the few pages remaining. Jennifer's meeting with her new boss provides her with an attitude, but little else. Checking in on the new apartment offers an excellent self-care montage and a look at outstanding Manhattan real estate, but nothing that invites readers to return. Even the cliffhanger emerges so suddenly and with insufficient context that it's unclear why exactly readers ought to return. She-Hulk appears to have her life back on the tracks and is handling everything very well… It's not a strong pitch for a serialized story.
Yet Antônio's presentation of that life is enticing enough to overlook this stumble at the starting blocks. The best ongoing gag in She-Hulk #1 centers on Jennifer's suit for work, an outfit she manages between fights, first days, and two very different forms. Tracking that suit and paying attention to how Jennifer presents herself makes for an enjoyable and endearing visual journey accompanying the day's checklist of superhero melodrama. Additionally, a single panel featuring her closet in the midst of a penthouse with purposefully designed decor promises much more of this attention to detail and design skill in future issues.
She-Hulk #1 will make for a succinct introduction to new fans and reintroduction for those who have been away. It leans heavily on the character's most familiar elements – dust ups in downtown Manhattan, legal work, and funny friends. Despite starting with a poorly paced issue relying far too much on a single, inconsequential sequence, it still provides much to enjoy in its sense of style. There's plenty of potential to be found in this debut, let's just hope that it focuses on a story worth following before the end of She-Hulk #2.
Published by Marvel Comics
On January 19, 2022
Written by Rainbow Rowell
Art by Rogê Antônio
Colors by Rico Renzi
Letters by Joe Caramagna
Cover by Jen Bartel and Adam Hughes