When word first hit that Marvel was officially producing a She-Hulk series, many Marvel fans were over the moon! But when we learned Orphan Black star Tatiana Maslany would be starring as the main hero Jennifer Walters, aka She-Hulk; saying opinions were mixed would’ve been an understatement.
As a teenager, I bought the run of She-Hulk (2014-2015), written by Charles Soule and pencilled by Javier Pulido, for its gorgeous cover art by my favourite working artist Kevin Wada. Still, I fell in love with Jen, her story, and her sense of humour. And as a former mega fan of Orphan Black, having witnessed the range and talent of Tatiana’s work on the show, I had incredibly high hopes for She-Hulk.
Hopes that after watching the first four episodes, I can confirm that was not misplaced! While the episodes aren’t very long, just over 30 minutes, with credits and a post-credit scene, they never felt rushed. Every scene has purpose, and while bursting at the seams with humour, it has moments that allow comedy to breathe. A mix of physical humour and puns keeps its comedic tone centred. A fan favourite reaction to the trailer was Jen breaking the fourth wall, which seems incredibly natural and doesn’t remove from the viewing experience altogether.
Another personal favourite was all the cameos from both past and new characters. I particularly love Madiysonn and her relationship with Wong and their dynamic. Every person (who I won’t name for spoilers’ sake) did a fantastic job. My favourite was a particular pop icon I wasn’t expecting. The episode’s post-credit scene had me in tears; it was something I didn’t know I needed until I saw it. Suffice to say, Jennifer Walters isn’t going to let a little Hulk business ruin her hot girl summer!
I think the tone for She-Hulk, Attorney at Law, is perfect for what the MCU currently needs. After the solemn tone of Falcon and the Winter Soldier and the crushing themes in WandaVision, shows like Ms. Marvel and She-Hulk give a much-needed breath of fresh air to phase four. It’s also refreshing to see a woman in her 30s have such an established career and daily life as a single working Hulk.
I thought the explanation of how Jen can hone her powers as quickly as she does is also incredibly poignant and crucial to her character. As a woman living her day-to-day life, she’s constantly in danger, continually having to keep calm and manage her temper because if not, she’d be labelled as emotional or possibly put her life at risk. With this, I think it would have added a lot of depth to Jen’s character if she had been cast as a Black or non-Black actress of colour to highlight even more the ways women of colour are painted to be the aggressor. But you can’t always get what you want. Regardless, I resonated with Jen at that moment. Her physical transformation can express the anger she feels daily in its entirety.
It also gives me a lot of hope for the young women out there watching the show, showing them that they can have whole, productive, successful lives at any age, and you don’t necessarily have to be a superhero to do it. There’s a lot of pressure for people assigned female at birth (AFAB) to either A. Have a family and produce children very quickly, or B. Have your life figured out by your mid-20s.
The reality of our world is that most women and AFABs don’t know what they want to do or who they are. Jen is a stark contradiction to that. She’s a well-to-do lawyer living in LA with a strong familial bond; she adores her best friend and paralegal, Nikki. She wants love despite having little time for it with all her work to get justice for her clients, even if she might not see eye to eye with them immediately.
So far, I’ve only been given access to the first four episodes of She-Hulk, and immediately I wanted more. Jen is my favourite phase four character so far, and I cannot wait to see her role in future endeavours. I’m sure she’d fit nicely alongside some Avengers with her familial link to Bruce Banner and eye-catching style. Whatever Jen does in the future, I’ll be in her corner, as I’m sure many MCU fans will be. Don’t miss out on She-Hulk; definitely one of the best series Disney + has produced yet!