Obsession is dangerous, even if the target isn’t a rage-induced super monster. In a misguided quest to fully understand the effects of gamma radiation, scientist Robyn Meiser Malt has fallen under the sway of the villainous Leader. She triggered the release of The Hulk outside of a New York courthouse and captured Jen Walters, aiming to take her blood and transform herself into a new, better Hulk. Of course, like any plan led by a green genius with a 3-foot tall forehead, this one goes awry.
Jen Walters has struggled with trauma over the past year, first with the death of her cousin, Bruce Banner, then with the knowledge that it was Hawkeye who killed him, and finally with the PTSD that came from her fight with Thanos. The intense trauma of these events has not only transformed the Hulk inside of Jen into a grey rage-monster — it has left Jen out of full control of her life. For years, She-Hulk was an example of what The Hulk might be: a hybrid of the human with the monster, fully in control of both her powers and her intellect. Now, however, Jen Walters and the Hulk are two different beings occupying the same body. Robyn sees a way to free Hulk from the prison that is Jen Walters, but first she must dose herself and allow Jen Walters to die for good.
Dealing with the insanity of a fan gone mad would be enough, but, of course, The Leader has his own plans for Jen and Hulk. He wishes to see Jen Walters not only die, but be torn apart inside and out. By twisting the insecurities of Robyn and manipulating her to his own ends, Leader has created a new abomination and given Jen a choice: kill or be killed. One way or the other, Jen Walters will meet her end.
Writer Mariko Tamaki has found a balance between the internal struggles of Jen Walters to control Hulk and manage her PTSD while also introducing a plot more standard to superhero stories. In her hands, Jen must deal with internal and external threats, trying all the while to remain herself. Jahnoy Lindsay captures the characters so well, providing clear details mixed with new perspectives on events old and new. If all of this is in service of returning Jen Walters to her true form as She-Hulk, I’m all for it. I’m concerned that the trauma of the past year may be forgotten rather than dealt with and healed, but I’m very willing to give Tamaki and Lindsay the chance to do right by Jen Walters.
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