At its best, Rowell, Antonio, and Renzi’s She-Hulk lives just over the line into the uncanny from real life. It shines in those moments when the life of Jennifer Walters and the life of She-Hulk bleed together just enough to make the impossible mundane and the mundane impossible.
The first issue of the series begins with the perpetually unlucky Jen being confronted on the street by recurring foe (and current Disney+ crossover) Titania. Jen, in her civilian form, is already exhausted by before the dustup even begins. There’s an air of professional and personal regard: Titania agrees to wait for Jen to take off her business skirt and jacket, so they won’t be torn to shreds.
During the fight, with a familiarity of a longtime acquaintance and the experience of a criminal welfare attorney, She-Hulk checks in with Titania: how is her marriage, does she have an apartment, is she okay?
There is a respect, a concern for the other’s welfare. The two of them have a personal, emotional investment in one another — they are as close to friends as comic-book rivals might be.
With her super-heroing life and her professional, civilian life perpetually colliding, Jennifer Walters can’t help living a life unlike those of her Marvel peers. Few superheroes find themselves open to the sort of personal investment with their ‘villains’ like she does, because none of them walk that thin line between “super” and “human”.
Jen, Again is filled with very human concerns. It’s got the now-standard She-Hulk career concerns, it’s got the powered BFFs and pop-ins; even its primary, tense arc — the sudden and mysterious appearance of the long-dead Jack of Hearts — carries with it a civilian, human trapping. Having appeared in Jen’s (borrowed) apartment, Jack becomes the superhero equivalent of a house guest (with a will-they-won’t-they vibe).
This means, of course, that fans expecting the major Hulk-outs and stone-breaking action that could be applicable to the character might find the book moving at a slower, more intimate pace. Outside of the super-human fight club She-Hulk forms with Titania — a way of blowing off steam that, dangerously, takes place on an active construction site — the book focuses more on cosmic-tinged domestic mystery than super-villain attacks.
That’s what makes this book so exciting and compelling, of course. It’s a lovely, unique book that looks to carve out its own place, not just in the current slate of Marvel books but in the long line of (mostly) fan-favorite She-Hulk runs. Jen Again, then, offers a gentler but deeply rich new chapter. No gimmicks, no relying on what came before. Simply good.
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