Like with Runaways before it, I knew nothing of She-Hulk prior to Rainbow Rowell being brought on to write the character (and Tatiana Maslany, from Orphan Black, getting cast as the titular character in an upcoming Marvel movie). Okay, I guess that’s not 100% true; I knew She-Hulk was, well, a Hulk. That being said, I had no idea what that meant. Was she simply The Hulk, only female and, as a result, not as, well, hulking?
If these first two issues are anything to go off of, that does sound about right. Rowell doesn’t seem to be starting readers off as fresh as she did with her Runaways run, so I’m still in the process of piecing things together, like how She-Hulk knows Wasp (a character I only know of thanks to the Ant-Man movies) or who this guy is who once sapped her of her radiation. But I’ve picked up some of the basics, which is that she has way more control over her powers than The Hulk (if this was their way of saying women are, contrary to popular belief, more in control of their emotions than men, I’m totally here for it) and spends most of her time trying to live a normal life.
Rowell’s still in the stage where she’s re-introducing various characters, only spending extended time with one (besides She-Hulk herself) thus far, so I don’t want to judge her too harshly before she at least gets to set all the pieces out and start putting them together. Despite that, I do wish she utilized the little asterisk footnotes as much as she did with Runaways. I liked that a newbie such as myself could get the background in bite-sized chunks here and there in a way that wouldn’t require her pausing things, in essence, to re-tell their stories.
Thus far, though, I can say I’ve come to like She-Hulk as a character. She’s “super” in a rather literal way, yet she functions no differently than an enterprising woman who happens to be able to kick some ass if the occasion calls for it, and she has no other choice. This makes her one of the most pragmatic and human superheroes I’ve yet seen, and I like that.
There’s a reason my favorite superheroes are the ones less “super” than the rest. Batman and Iron Man are rich guys who aren’t super without their gadgets (although Iron Man is super in terms of his intelligence), Spider-Man is just a genius high-schooler with spider powers that really wants to live a normal life, etc. Give me these flawed, human superheroes over ones like Superman any day.
And if you are telling me a story about one of those larger-than-life superheroes, I connect most when you humanize them. Snappy writing helps too, but more than anything I want to see the superheroes brought down to my level, and Rowell’s She-Hulk has been doing a bang up job of that (I can’t speak for other She-Hulk iterations, as I’ve not read them). So while I might be a bit hazy on various details that would probably color things for me, and bring them better into focus, I like the character, and what I can gleam of her relationships and the story thus far, enough that I don’t mind that too terribly much.