The Marvel Cinematic Universe has become an unstoppable juggernaut, with hit after hit emerging from the studios and taking the theaters, and fans, by storm. Aside from the movies, they’ve done a string of successful series on Disney+, and they’re getting confident enough to focus on lesser-known characters. After the first wave of characters from the various movies, they’ve done Moon Knight, Ms. Marvel is coming in June, and now they’ve released the trailer, and date, for She-Hulk. None of those characters have appeared in the movies so far, and weren’t widely known by the non-comic reading public. My profile of the various characters who have used the Ms. Marvel name in the comics will be up later this month.
She-Hulk has an odd history in the real world before she ever made it to the page. The Incredible Hulk tv show was doing well, and there was talk of a spinoff. Marvel was worried about what might happen with control of the rights of a new character (ironic considering how many rights they sold off in the 90’s), and created She-Hulk to reserve the copyright for Marvel. The tv show never happened, but She-Hulk did get the honor of being created by the legendary Stan Lee. Her first run in the comics went for 25 issues, which isn’t bad for a new character, and she went on to join the Avengers and guest star in the Hulk comics off and on. Later, she became a member of the Fantastic Four during one of the Thing’s many extended absences.
In the comics, Jennifer Susan Walters was a crusading attorney who was shot and critically wounded by operatives of crime boss Nicholas Trask. The good news is this happened on the day her cousin Bruce Banner came to see her and he saved her. The bad news, at least at first, was that he was the only donor with the right blood type, and the transfusion gave her similar powers, and problems, to Bruce. Over the years, she gained more control of herself, retaining her intelligence in her stronger form years before Bruce managed it. Jennifer has become a noted attorney in the field of superhuman law, possibly second only to Matt Murdock (Daredevil). She’s a skilled hero and has proven to be a valuable ally over the years to many teams and organizations.
When writer John Byrne was given the character to work with, she became sillier, sexy, and frequently broke the fourth wall, talking to the readers (before Deadpool did it). Her run under Byrne’s pen was unique at the time, and very entertaining. It appears at least some elements of that may be in the series, judging by the bits shown of her dating, and talking to various women.
The trailer shows Jennifer, although we don’t know what leads to her powers coming out. We see the Hulk, and Jennifer trying to keep her lives going, although at least at first she clearly has a secret identity. Given the MCU’s general approach to the secret identity concept, I suspect that won’t last long. Among the rumors swirling about the series are that other characters connected to the legal profession are supposed to at least cameo, including Matt Murdock and Jessica Jones. There was no hint of either, but Marvel has pulled off some great surprises in the recent past. I guess we’ll find out later this year.
She-Hulk debuts on August 17th on Disney+.