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Can You Believe We're Getting a She-Hulk Series?

   By Michael Keskeys At the time of this writing, we are a little over two weeks out from the premiere of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law on Disney Plus.  A week ago, at Comicon, Marvel dropped a new trailer for the series, starring Tatiana Masanley ( Orphan Black) as our favorite gamma-powered superhero/attorney, and I’ve seen it so many times now and I still am in awe of the fact that we’re getting this show.   I’ve been a fan of this character since I was a 13-year-old kid getting into Marvel and saw some cheesecake pin-up art in an issue of Wizard Magazine.  That checked off all the boxes I needed at that age to try to find comics, and what I did was seek out what was the run at the time, Sensational She-Hulk, which was hilarious, awesome, and way more than just a cheesecake eye candy type character I went in for, and I’ve been a fan ever since.      The fact that she got to be a supporting character on the 90’s Hulk animated series was I figured as good as it would get for us fans, but

She-Hulk Retro Review: The Sensational She-Hulk #1




Sensational She-Hulk #1 was the first issue of the Marvel Comics series published in 1989. The comic was written and drawn by John Byrne. The inker was Bob Wiaceck, the colourist was Glynis Oliver and the letters were by John Workman.


In the first issue of the series. She-Hulk is showing off in front of a circus, demonstrating her incredible strength. But the giantess discovers that she has been led into a trap, tricked by the Ringmaster and the Circus of Crime. Ringmaster hypnotises her, emplying her into the Circus for nefarious means.


This first issue of the series has a fantastic plot, achieving everything that a first chapter should. It starts in the action instantly, placing She-Hulk smack bang in the action. The premise of the current issue’s story is placed before the readers are given any flashbacks into Jen’s backstory. Therefore when that explanation does come it has a natural explanation instead of just being exposition. The rest of Sensational She-Hulk #1 has two separate stories that intersect with each other. The first is her enslavement by the Ringleader. It is a hilarious and incredibly ridiculous plan, actually feeling more like a petty idea instead of dastardly concept for world domination. The second suggests that there is an underlying plot against She-Hulk beyond just this issue. But even that leads to a hilariously bizarre sequence of events.


The character of She-Hulk shines in this first issue. What is really striking is the confidence of the heroine, which is an impressive and likeable trait. She knows how powerful she is. Yet there is slight insecurity as Walters compares herself to her cousin. Byrne implements brilliant callback to when the Hulk also performed in the circus. At this point of her creation, She-Hulk was constantly referred to with a comment or nod to Bruce Banner. But beyond the flashback explaining the connection, the story becomes She-Hulk’s solo entirely.


Perhaps the most notable part of the dialogue in this comic is relying on breaking the fourth wall. From the first cover to the final page, the book is littered with direct references to the readers and the self-referential fact that this is a comic book they are in. It becomes a defining trait of this era of She-Hulk and creates a link with the audience.


The art by Byrne is fantastic and continues to hold up over thirty years later. The design of She-Hulk presents her as this incredibly bulky and powerful figure like the Hulk. But in addition, she is shown to be more cheerful and friendly than the other green giant. If She-Hulk is lifting a heavy weight or squatting to put something down, Byrne’s subtle lines show the power beneath, implying muscles without being too specific with details. Influential in this are the inks by Wiaceck. Where detail is wanted or detailed it is there in spades. But if not the lines simply suggest a shape instead of fully creating it. The humour and chaotic situations are brought to life superbly. The circus performers in all their insane glory have amazing designs.


The colours are really warm and beautiful. The background of the location is fairly dull or muted colours, varying from just white to a very light purple. But that just clears the panel for the enormous range on display in the foreground. All of the Circus of Crime seems to have a different palette and colour for their costume. Every one is bright and rich. The sheer amount of different tones clash, but the assault on the eyes is most likely a design choice.


Sensational She-Hulk #1 is a brilliant first issue. What keeps this comic more fresh than others of the time is the humour. If any of the contents of the book took itself seriously, then it may have lost some of its charm. But all of it is ridiculous and chaotic. The art is stunning and crucial in displaying some of the visual comedy, but Byrne also wrote some side-splitting dialogue. It’s a premier issue that is loaded with character and soul.



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