BY MATT TUCK
She-Hulk has been generating a ton of buzz in recent months. The lead of her Disney+ series has been cast along with whom we assume will be her main antagonist, Titania. There’s also word that the Abomination will make a return, and no one was at all surprised to hear that Bruce Banner (and maybe a CGI Hulk) will be included. It doesn’t hurt that Marvel Studios is batting 1.000 and a perfect three-for-three on the Disney+ front. Between WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and now Loki, Marvel is proving worthy to the streaming service The Mandalorian built.
With all that attention, you would think that Marvel Comics would be putting plenty of its superhero stock into She-Hulk. All this mainstream attention would make this the opportune moment to push her to the moon while promoting the upcoming streaming series. To an extent, Marvel received that memo, too, but it has left many fans scratching their heads.
As Jennifer Walters slides into the pop culture spectrum, Marvel is treating readers to “World War She-Hulk.” Fourteen years after World War Hulk, we’re getting a rehash but with She-Hulk in the lead. I’m assuming this is meant to showcase her raw power and put her on the same level as her cousin by having her annihilate the Avengers. While I’m not complaining about her doing that, I would have hoped for an original idea.
In other cases of Marvel going back to the same well, the big news this week has been the new She-Hulk coming down the pike: the Winter She-Hulk. Apparently, she will be abducted by the Red Guardian (just in time for that long-awaited Black Widow movie) and taken to the Red Room and transformed into a red Hulk with blonde hair. Judging by the name, she will be a combination of She-Hulk, Black Widow, and the Winter Soldier. That is a mashup of characters I didn’t expect to see, and one I can’t say I ever wanted in the first place.
I am open to Marvel proving me wrong; I am a lifelong fan, and I always hope for the best with Marvel. Honestly, I don’t see this going well. Here you have a hot character in She-Hulk, and all Marvel can think to do is place her in recycled story ideas and basically try to make her the Hulk.
Then again, Marvel has been doing the recycling trick for years. “Enter the Phoenix,” which saw the Avengers more or less audition for the next host of the Phoenix Force in what felt like a DLC for Contest of Champions, just wrapped up. Over in the Spider-verse, Miles is starring in a rehashed version of the Clone Saga. For that matter, it was only four years ago that Marvel puked out Weapon H/Hulkverine. Don’t forget that in the past six years, there was yet another Secret Wars and a Civil War II.
I picture the Marvel editors throwing random junk into a fan, watching it spray out the other end and hoping something sticks to the wall. That is not intended to be an insult to the talent involved; from the artists to the writers, Marvel has an all-star lineup. “WW She-Hulk” will be written by Jason Aaron, and while “Enter the Phoenix Force” may not have been his best work, he has the credentials for me to at least give Winter She-Hulk a try before assuming the worst.
The frustration is that Marvel has a character with growing mainstream interest, and the best that anyone can come up with is another World War Hulk and the Winter She-Hulk.
Going back to the John Byrne era, She-Hulk is not the Hulk, and that is precisely why fans have loved her for decades. But World War She-Hulk and Winter She-Hulk feels like an attempt to give her a makeover that, in the end, is aimed to transform her into the Hulk like there aren’t enough already.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is a professional writer, avid comic collector, former teacher, and an international man of mystery. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog.