She-Hulk: Who is the Avenging Attorney?

You’ll like her when she’s angry

She-Hulk:Some anonymous bad guy is ready to spend three million bucks to find out how tough I am… And I know how these things work! It’ll be at least my third issue before I find out who it is! Although you readers will probably find out on the next page…

Sensational She-Hulk #1

Court is in session as a witness details a mob meeting he attended as part of his plea deal. Men run in as the doors burst open. One aims a machine gun at the witness and fires. The defense attorney runs forward and the bullets hit her instead, bouncing off of her green skin.

The woman rips off her shredded business suit to reveal a leotard. She hurls a table at the hitmen and runs at them. A shove sends two of them into a wall while the last faints when it seems she is about to punch him. The bailiff finally moves as She-Hulk looks to the side at something others don’t see. She is looking at… uh-oh.

Really, dude? I just got that suit. Do you know how hard it is to find a decent tailor for someone my size? [reality shifts as the suit reforms around her] Thanks, pal. By the way, I know the bit where I noticed you is based on that scene from What If? Get some new material unless you want to meet me and The Watcher in court…

Fourth wall breakers. Why did it have to be fourth wall breakers?

She-Hulk is one of Marvel’s most popular characters. She started as a bland copy of Hulk, became Deadpool before Deadpool existed, and has been part of the Avengers’ biggest stories. So who is she? How did she get her powers? What’s the difference between She-Hulk and He-Hulk? Let’s find out.

Going Green: She-Hulk’s Backstory

[Bruce Banner is moping]
She-Hulk:
Oh, please. Where’s my violin? Poor pitiful us. Six years, I dragged myself kicking and screaming into health clubs and zilch. Now one little green-blooded transfusion from you and [flexes] VAVOOM! Oh yeah, not even Jane Fonda can crack concrete like this girl.

The Incredible Hulk “Fantastic Fortitude” (Season 1, Episode 8)

She-Hulk debuted in The Savage She-Hulk #1 in 1980. She was created by Stan Lee and John Buscema. Marvel feared that the producers of The Incredible Hulk would create a female Hulk that they owned completely, as they had done with The Six Million Dollar Man’s spinoff, The Bionic Woman. Marvel created a new character to lock down the She-Hulk trademark.

Jennifer Walters was a meek lawyer who was shot by a criminal that her father had pissed off. By sheer coincidence, her cousin Bruce Banner was in town to reconnect with her. He offered his blood for a transfusion, unknowingly giving Jennifer the ability to transform into her own Hulk form: The She-Hulk.

She-Hulk defeated her would-be assassin and returned to her legal career. Jennifer’s lack of trauma allowed her to master her new form in a way that Bruce couldn’t. A fight cost Jennifer the ability to return to her human form, but she didn’t mind because she enjoyed She-Hulk’s confidence and strength after a lifetime of being a wallflower.

When not defending people in court, She-Hulk defended them as a superhero. She joined the Fantastic Four while The Thing was depowered and became a recurring guest star. She also joined the Avengers and briefly dated her teammate, Starfox. Life was good to She-Hulk, but it was about to get complicated.

Strong Arm of The Law: She-Hulk’s History

She-Hulk:Starfox! I need to know something right now! Me? Have you ever used your powers on me?!
Starfox:Jennifer, how could I…
She-Hulk:That night at Avengers Mansion… when we… when the two of us…

She-Hulk #7 (2006)

She-Hulk’s career skyrocketed when she began focusing on cases involving superhumans. Unfortunately, one of her first cases was defending Starfox from a rape charge after he was accused of telepathically influencing women to sleep with him. She-Hulk feared he had done the same to her, but he “only” used them to set her up with a new boyfriend. Needless to say, she beat the crap out of him for that.

Jennifer’s life was shaken up again when she was attacked by Lyra, Hulk’s daughter from another timeline. Lyra was trapped in the modern day and challenged Jennifer for the title of She-Hulk. Lyra lost, but Jennifer offered to help her niece acclimate to the world and became her mentor. 

She-Hulk was seemingly killed during Civil War II, but she was really in a coma. She eventually woke up and learned that Bruce had been killed while she was unconscious. Jennifer’s grief created a new Hulk form that resembled her cousin’s and made her stronger at the cost of her intelligence. She only recently regained her usual appearance and smarts.

Deadlier of the Species: She-Hulk’s Powers and Personality

She-Hulk: [after beating Deadpool] “If there’s ever an MvC4, I’ll destroy you there too, Wade.

Marvel vs. Capcom 3

Hey pal, since you’ve stumbled through my story, mind if I describe who I am and what I can do?

Sorry, but no. It’d wreck the flow this article has going. (What flow?)  Besides, your green text is distracting when the rest of the words are monochrome.

Yo, Captain Afro! Why are you doing all this “talking to the characters” stuff when you skipped it in both of my articles and the Top 5 Fourth Wall Breaking Superhero list?

Because shut up, you’re not in this article, Wade!

Seriously?! [gestures] But I brought all these other Fourth Wall breakers!

NOPE! Everyone but She-Hulk out! [everyone leaves] Wait a sec, you can stay.

Really?

Yeah, sure. Why not?

Excelsior! Then let’s finish this, true believers! 

Right, where were we?

She-Hulk’s muscles aren’t just for show. She’s super strong, fast, and durable. Jennifer often trains in her human form so that her Hulk form can grow exponentially stronger. She can’t match her cousin’s strength, but is faster and a better fighter. Unlike Bruce, she retains her intelligence and is powered by confidence instead of fear and anger.

You may have noticed that She-Hulk can break the fourth wall. Damn straight. She’ll snark about lesser-known characters, smash text boxes she doesn’t like, and even reach across panels to grab foes. For some reason, this ability is rarely used in modern stories. Why is that? It’s Deadpool’s big character trait now. Besides, people take me a bit more seriously when I don’t and that’s the way I like it. Fair enough.

She-Hulk is empathic, fun-loving, and flirty. She strongly believes in the rule of law and seeks out clients whom other defense attorneys ignore. She-Hulk often pokes fun at her artists for drawing her in pin-up poses and at Marvel for using cheap gimmicks to draw in new readers.

The Actors Who Play She-Hulk

Victoria Carroll – The Incredible Hulk (1982)
Lisa Zane and Cree Summer – The Incredible Hulk (1996)
Rebecca Shoichet – Fantastic Four: World’s Greatest Heroes
Katee Sackhoff – The Super Hero Squad Show
Eliza Dushku – Hulk and The Agents of S.M.A.S.H., Ultimate Spider-Man
Tatiana Maslany – She-Hulk: Attorney at Law

Didya Get All That

Folks, make her angry. You’ll like She-Hulk when she’s angry.
Don’t forget to check out my new show, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. It’s Ally McBeal with superheroes. Till then, see ya in the funny papers.

Image: Mark Ruffalo as Smart Hulk / Bruce Banner and Tatiana Maslany as Jennifer “Jen” Walters/She-Hulk in Marvel Studios’ She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. © 2022 MARVEL.

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