Warning: Marvel’s Civil War II Spoilers Ahead
Characters with ‘Hulk’ in their title have had a rough year. The events of the Civil War II weren’t kind to She-Hulk Jennifer Walters, leaving her on death’s door after an encounter with Thanos – which also killed her colleague James Rhodes (War Machine). To make things worse, not long afterwards, her cousin, the erstwhile Incredible Hulk Bruce Banner was killed by Hawkeye. As events are unfolding, including an imminent battle between Captain Marvel and Iron Man’s teams, life isn't likely to improve for Walters any time soon.
Following the second Civil War, She-Hulk will be dealing with multiple traumas as she returns to relatively normal life. Walters’ adventures will take a darker tone when her latest story arc premieres this December.
Dropping the pronoun to become simply Hulk, the new series will showcase the usually somewhat-in-control Walters as she returns to practicing law after losing her beloved cousin, as well as her own near-death experience. Penned by Mariko Tamaki (Tomb Raider, Eisner-winning This One Summer) and drawn by Nico Leon (Ms. Marvel, Spider-Man), Hulk will be Tamaki’s first dip into classic superhero territory (she’ll also tackle Supergirl: Being Super for DC). Marvel Editor-In Chief Axel Alonso spoke with The Onion’s A.V. Club about what the ‘She’ entails for Jennifer Walters:
“The title She-Hulk evokes light-hearted stories about a Jennifer Walters who is at peace with herself and in full control of her powers. This isn’t that book. On the other hand, the title Hulk implies all of the baggage that comes with that comic’s 50+ year history—the ongoing battle with the monster within—and that’s why it’s more appropriate for this series. Jen went through major trauma in Civil War II, and Mariko and Nico’s story will deal with the fallout of that trauma—the anxiety and anger, sometimes self-destructive, that comes along with it. If there is light at the end of the tunnel, Jen is going to have to search hard for it, and she’s going to have to battle with some pretty big monsters—including the one within—to find herself again.”
As witnessed by the David Marquez’s striking panels in Civil War II, Walters doesn’t take news of her cousin’s death – or that of Hawkeye’s acquittal – particularly well. It sounds as though Hulk will pick up directly after the brutal inter-hero conflict, including tragedies yet to come. Tamaki discussed her inspiration for She-Hulk’s follow-up series, as well as what makes Walters a compelling character:
“Jen is absolutely shaped by the trauma she’s experienced. Much of it was inspired by thinking about how different people deal with the hard things that happen in their lives, how memory, trauma, can infuse our whole being, be a physical presence in our lives. I was really into the idea of a Hulk, of the ability to transform into something close to monstrous, that’s still human, and heroic. It was interesting to think about what’s human about Hulk and vice versa.”
She-Hulk has traditionally skirted the line between her famous cousin’s rage and her professional integrity. Her ability to Hulk out and roll with it – thanks to that ill-advised but vital blood transfusion from her cousin – makes her a notable exception to the explosion of emotions which Bruce Banner suffered from uncontrollably. Make no mistake, though, Walters is still chained to the turbulence of her gamma-irradiated blood. But her ability to live a relatively normal life as a Hulk makes her a well-rounded heroine. Artist Leon explained the joys of creating a sophisticated character through expressive design:
“I love to draw normal life. I am very excited to be able to draw the day-to-day life of a superhero who needs not to be a superhero all the time. And I am super excited to explore how her new status quo will affect her life and thus her personality and how it will manifest through her body language and interactions with common people and heroes alike.”
As with the first Civil War, fallout from its sequel will have wide-ranging ramifications throughout the Marvel Universe. While the macro-level issues make for fascinating reading, the most interesting aspects are the internal and interpersonal devastation caused by the strife. While Bruce Banner will be sorely missed by his cousin and the MU in general (until his revival, that is), it seems as though there will still be plenty of Green Goliath action to go around. Amadeus Cho’s Totally Awesome Hulk has been delving into the tricky aspects of (and thinly veiled euphemisms for) teen life as a Hulk. Jennifer Walters new series also sounds like it will delve into her own inner-monster, much like her cousin's adventures did.
At the same time, the timing of her latest series, along with Alonso’s hints, suggest that Hulk will deal with some very real and very large monsters as well. The next major event, Monsters Unleashed!, which starts in January, will bring a batch of behemoths into the fray, forcing the Avengers and other Marvel heroes to put aside their differences to combat a larger adversary (or, more so, adversaries). Even She-Hulk’s personal heartbreaks will pale in comparison to what’s lurking in the dark.
Hulk #1 arrives in book stores and online in December of 2016.
Source: A.V. Club