Announced at D23 Expo 2019, She-Hulk is coming to the MCU as one of many new Disney+ series rolling down the streaming pipeline. However, beyond every other series revealed this weekend She-Hulk has the potential to transcend the boundaries of phone, tablet, monitor and TV screens to become something far more important.
In a #metoo era where gender equality and identity are at the forefront of the news-cycle, a character with such a controversial, comical, and dense past, like Jennifer Walters, AKA The Savage (and Sensational) She-Hulk, can really stand up, stand out, and make a statement.
She Hulk joins Ms. Marvel, Moonkight in the MCU
The panel in Anaheim didn’t offer much of a look at the show beyond a logo, but She-Hulk has always been a curious character in the DCU. She might not be as strong as the Hulk, but her power levels are comparable, but more importantly, unlike her green skinned cousin, she maintains her intelligence and personality when she changes (at will) into her powerful alter ego.
This is something that always bothered me in Marvel comics. If you are an Avenger and wanted a bruiser or some extra power on your team, why would you call on an uncontrollable monster male Hulk when you could have all the strength and non of the unpredictability in Jennifer Walters?!! Other than the larger sales of the Hulk’s comics, there was very little reason to team-up with the Hulk when you could work with a superior She-Hulk.
In addition, She-Hulk’s storytelling has always offered writers more freedom as she sometimes breaks the fourth wall or embroils herself in more nuanced plots with modern day reflections and controversies.
Jennifer Walters became the She-Hulk after a blood transfusion from her infamous cousin in 1980 after Stan Lee rushed “The Savage She-Hulk” to the shelves after he became paranoid that the successful TV show would introduce a female-hulk first (and therefor own the rights). She was a lawyer and later an model, actress, and stunt-man (woman? Person?). But it would be the 90’s comic series the Sensational She Hulk that would cause controversy as well as cement her as a classic, popular, and fantastic part of the Marvel Universe.
Sexualizatio in the comics
She Hulk was often sexualized in her own comic, often drawn in scant clothing or even being drawn jumping rope nude once. In a gambit of self-reflection, she often acknowledged these moments for what they were, ways to get teenagers hormones going to boost sales. She-Hulk would break the fourth wall and yell at her writers and artists for these moments, telling them they could do and be better.
It’s this type of immediate reflection that could work in her favor, setting her apart from the oncoming onslaught of Marvel TV shows on Disney+. As a lawyer, she could take cases that reflect controversial issues of today as well!! But as little is announced, we’ll have to wait and see if Disney is willing to push this character or play it safe.