(Warning: The following contains major SPOILERS for recent — and forthcoming — Marvel comic books, especially as they relate to The Hulk. Proceed with whatever level of caution your super-smart green lawyer/cousin suggests to you is wise.)
Now, the comic book industry has long been fond of (temporarily) killing off, writing out and replacing its heroes, with countless iconic characters having "permanently" departed, only to return a year or two later to great fanfare. Heck, even Spider-Man's great love Gwen Stacy has been brought back to life, leaving Spidey's Uncle Ben as one of the only truly iconic comic book characters to (pretty much) stay dead.
With recent events in the Marvel Comics universe seemingly ending Bruce "The Hulk" Banner's time on Earth-616 (for now, at least), though, it's once again time for another hero to step into the fabled shoes of an icon. The big difference this time out?
Marvel's Shiny New Hulk Couldn't Be More Deserving If She Tried
Y'see, where some heroes have been replaced by brand new characters, or — as with Doctor Doom's recent transition into becoming Iron Man — by unexpected figures, Marvel's new Hulk will instead be one of the most integral characters in the Hulk mythos: Bruce Banner's cousin Jennifer Walters, a.k.a. She-Hulk.
Yup, that's right — the star of Marvel's new Hulk comic book (coming this December, written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Nico Leon) will be none other than the erstwhile She-Hulk. Which, as Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso recently told The A.V. Club, is a very conscious choice on the company's part:
"The title 'She-Hulk' evokes light-hearted stories about a Jennifer Walters who is at peace with herself and in full control of her powers. This isn’t that book. On the other hand, the title Hulk implies all of the baggage that comes with that comic’s 50+ year history — the ongoing battle with the monster within — and that’s why it’s more appropriate for this series. Jen went through major trauma in 'Civil War II,' and Mariko and Nico’s story will deal with the fallout of that trauma — the anxiety and anger, sometimes self-destructive, that comes along with it. If there is light at the end of the tunnel, Jen is going to have to search hard for it, and she’s going to have to battle with some pretty big monsters — including the one within — to find herself again."
Or, in other words?
She-Hulk Is Very Much Marvel's New 'Main' Hulk
Indeed, as Tamaki argues, Walters is very much set to be a far more Banner-like figure in the new series than the light-hearted hero we've seen in the majority of She-Hulk comics. As she puts it:
"Jen is absolutely shaped by the trauma she’s experienced... Much of it was inspired by thinking about how different people deal with the hard things that happen in their lives, how memory, trauma, can infuse our whole being, be a physical presence in our lives. I was really into the idea of a Hulk, of the ability to transform into something close to monstrous, that’s still human, and heroic. It was interesting to think about what’s human about Hulk and vice versa."
Which, in fact, is an idea that's very much been explored in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, too:
Meanwhile, Marvel's pre-existing Hulk, the youthful Amadeus Cho, will continue as The Totally Awesome Hulk, meaning we now have two Hulks: One who's Korean-American, and the other who's a woman. Which is actually a pretty important step in the direction of actual diversity, and perhaps a genuine sign of progress.
Good news all around, then? Except, perhaps, for Bruce Banner...
Never fear though, Banner fans: He's still around in the MCU, and set to star in next year's Thor: Ragnarok. You can find more on that right here.
In the meantime, what do you think? Are you excited to see She-Hulk become the "main" Hulk? Let us know below!
via A.V. Club