Comic book reviews for She-Hulk #159, She-Hulk #160, and She-Hulk #161 by Mariko Tamaki, Jahnoy Lindsay, Federico Blee, and VC’s Travis Lanham
Average rating: 2/5 stars
She-Hulk #159 by Mariko Tamaki
Art: Jahnoy Lindsay
This book has changed identities once again. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. I’m not even saying this was a poor issue as a look at Jen Walters / She-Hulk.
This book started off as an internal story. It was about what was happening inside Jen, and how she became the Gray Hulk, because the Gray Hulk is the Hulk you need. The Hulk, in itself and how it manifests differently, is a manifestation of an internal story. Jen because She-Hulk because of her introverted, “mousey” personality. Bruce became the Hulk because he had no release for his inner rage and lots of other emotions.
The first two arcs were about our inner natures. About how they manifest in the world and into who we are, despite how we hid them, or despite how we’re on the cusp of being the next stage of ourselves. It was about how we need our friends and connections to this world.
This issue reminded me more of Dan Slott’s She-Hulk in how much lighter it felt. How the world sought to bring her out because Jen put herself out there. And bringing in the Leader as a known Hulk villain felt not this journey.
Though I am glad that Tamaki backed off the fourth wall breakage from last issue, and just had Jen’s inner dialog be more frank. Which Tamaki does know how to make interesting internal monologues that compliment a illustrated story.
She-Hulk #160 by Mariko Tamaki
Art: Jahnoy Lindsay
The massive predictability of this story makes me sad. Seems like there should be more to the Leader and his plans than his sycophant being brainwashed into thinking she’d be a better Hulk than Jen.
Every part of this story lines up neatly into this mad science story. Too much. I also didn’t find much nuance into going into Jen’s mind as she’s drugged up.
Though I have wondered why more people haven’t tried to steal Jen’s blood and make themselves into Hulks. It makes sense given that’s how Jen herself got powers. There are a ton of drugs out there on a market to give people powers, but this seems simpler. Granted, no one wants a planet of Hulks.
Robyn’s own story is predictable. Of course, she was bullied. Of course, she doesn’t see how the Leader manipulates her.
She-Hulk #161 by Mariko Tamaki (writer)
Art: Jahnoy Lindsay (artist), Federico Blee (color artist), and VC’s Travis Lanham (Letterer)
I keep trying to like this book, and there are enjoyable elements, or perhaps relatable elements is better phrase. However, it lacks a cohesive story and emotional energy. Even if we are supposed to be exploring Jen’s emotions and her struggles since her cousin’s death and how the Hulk inside has changed, it’s not consistent.
I did like Lindsay’s style choice when Robyn and Jen were in some kind of Hulk mind world. There are definitely some unanswered questions though about how a mind world — which can be shared — changes bit of the Hulk mythos. Which Hulks have always been the manifestation of what a person was most trying to hide from the world, not a separate personality (despite Bruce’s claims not to be Hulk). Perhaps this connection was only there due to the DNA sharing, even if it would seen like Jen and Bruce would have a similar connection given how Jen got her powers.
Robyn though, she remained a victim. Yes, she got this power. Yes, she became bigger and stronger. However, she was still a victim, and perhaps this was where I wanted more to the story the most. Would’ve been nice to see Robyn stand up to the Leader and smash him a bit.
The jokes about Patsy and Netflix were great. Also, I do want more Flo, and I hope these last couple issues feature her.