She-Hulk: Where Do I Start?

6’7″. 650 lbs. green. female. Put those together and you get one of Marvel’s most powerful (and litigious) heroines. The last major comic character Stan Lee created for Marvel (let’s all forget Ravage 2o99), She-Hulk went from a carbon copy of her cousin Bruce Banner, aka The Hulk, with angry outbursts, torn clothes and “savage” in the the title to a more nuanced super-hero under the pen of John Byrne as the character grew up in the Marvel Universe. She’s been a key member of many of Marvel’s major teams like the Fantastic Four, the Avengers and even S.H.I.E.L.D., but she’s often-times best seen on solo adventures in four previous ongoing series as well as a slew of one-shots and limited series.

In recent years, She-Hulk’s character has been expanded to include not just her hulked-up identity but also her normal human self as attorney Jennifer Walters. Dan Slott’s excellent She-Hulk series from 2004-2007 expounded on that with Walters/She-Hulk working as part of a law firm representing superhuman interests like a super-hero version of The Practice. After the finale of her most recent solo series in 2009, She-Hulk has been involved with select Avengers missions but also wading in to the ever-growing Hulk family of characters and their raging tempers from Red Hulk and even previously unknown kids of the Hulk like Skaar and Lyra.

You’d imagine a woman who is 6’7″, green and built like Beth Phoenix from WWE might be easy to find on comic shelves, but you’d be wrong. Therefore, iFanboy pulled the five best collected editions for you to track down if you want to know more about She-Hulk… Just don’t call her Shulkie.

She-Hulk, Vol. 1: Single Green Female: As previously mentioned, Dan Slott’s run on She-Hulk beginning with this collected edition forged a new path for the Jade Giantess that sees the character going in and out of her She-Hulk persona while trying to carry a job as a lawyer representing super-human clients. If you like what Slott’s doing on Amazing Spider-Man, this is that cranked up a notch with zany characters and characterization, but all with a foundation of strong storytelling.

Sensational She-Hulk, Vol. 1: This is the big one. Fresh off his run on Fantastic Four, writer/artist John Byrne is at the top of his game when he takes on She-Hulk in her own solo series. Bouncing off from an earlier graphic novel, Byrne pushes She-Hulk character-wise away from the raging antics Hulks are known for into an almost Ferris Bueller-style romp fighting inane villains, vamping guest stars, and even breaking the fourth wall and talking to the reader. Arguably one of the most unique comics in the mainstream before or since, and a key asset for anyone wanting to know more about She-Hulk.

She-Hulk: Ceremony: The rarity in my list today, this two-part miniseries follows She-Hulk as she attempts to revive her relationship with Fantastic Four-era boyfriend Wyatt Wingfoot and have a baby. This unique series really takes She-Hulk to new places, from preventing the bombing of an abortion clinic, an Native American vision quest, and some experimental 80s art scene reminiscent of Devo. Done by Dwayne McDuffie and artists Robin Chaplik and June Brigman, this is worth tracking down if you find yourself a fan of She-Hulk.

Hulk, Vol. 2: It says “Hulk” in the title, but the main character here is “Red Hulk”… but I’m picking this one out for Red Hulk’s main antagonist in this, She-Hulk, as she assembles a crew to try to take down the rampaging red behemoth. Frank Cho turns in one of the best modern itterations of She-Hulk here (assisted by writer Jeph Loeb), and reforms the all-female hit squad the Lady Liberators to take on the then new Red Hulk.

Essential Savage She-Hulk: If you want to know how She-Hulk started, this is where you go. Gifted with her powers after a blood tranfusion from her cousin Bruce Banner, Jennifer Walters really breaks out here thanks to a stellar first issue by Lee and artist John Buscema. This collects the the entire 25-issue run of this series, and it’s interesting to see where her growth as a character mirrors and then breaks away from that of the original Hulk. In these early issues we begin to see the formation of what would be the core rogue’s gallery for She-Hulk, including one of the best character names ever: Buck Bukowski, Assistant D.A.

Comments

  1. T.G.Rogers T.G.Rogers says:

    Only thing Ive read with She-Hulk in it was Avengers Disassembled.
    So i cant really say how i feel about the character.

  2. AdamOfEarth AdamOfEarth says:

    Sensational She-Hulk was funny. I have like the first ten issues. Best gag was issue 5 “Saturdaze”, she tears through the comic book page, walks across the spoof of the “comics value” page (You know….Comic X 1,2,3,4 5.00 6-15 1.25 etc.) and rips her way back into the comic to get a jump on the villain.

    The best part was the spoof prices. Starbrand 1-10, I pay you. Secret Wars 1-12, Free! Please get them out of my shop! Crystar Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! You want this!?! Whole set, 18.00. Amazing Spider-Man 1, Indentured servitude for a period of no less than 15 years. 2, Your right arm and portions or your right leg, 3, Your right arm from the elbow down, 4, Your sister’s phone number (if she’s cute)

    A lot of jabs at the prices of X-men related books, and a slam or two on the “New Universe”. So many gems in there.

  3. I really enjoyed Byrne’s She-Hulk when it first came out, I’ve been wondering if it’s held up over the years. I remember one cover showed her telling the audience that they needed to buy her book or she would “come to your house and tear up all your X-Men comics.” It was the first time I’d ever seen a comic character break the 4th wall. It was a really fun series.

  4. AdamOfEarth AdamOfEarth says:

    It was very meta, if I’m using that word right. In the second issue she references the cover page and calls out Byrne. In a later issue, when she thought was going to die she quips, “Guess this will be a mini-series after all”.

  5. guymonkey guymonkey says:

    My first introduction to the the She-Hulk was when she took over for the Thing in FF. I recently finished the first series from the early 80′s and it was total crap. I read all 25 issues and besides Zapper and Buck Bukowski I found little to even smile about. The writing and the art is so bad that only a child would enjoy these issues.

  6. The John Byrne She-Hulk graphic novel from the 80′s was also a great read, equal parts sex appeal (She-Hulks nude interrogation) and creepy (people composed of cockroaches). And of course a Helicarrier gets destroyed.

  7. srh1son srh1son says:

    I’ve got the first choice for “Ravage 2099: Where Do I Start?”

    1. Admitting you have a problem…

  8. jackietam jackietam says:

    I recommended She-Hulks: Hunt for the Intelligencia with art by the fantastic Ryan Stegman (currently onScarlet Spider. A title which you all should be reading!)