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Don’t Miss This: “She-Hulk” by Rainbow Rowell, Rogê Antônio, and Luca Maresca

By | July 21st, 2022
Posted in Columns | % Comments

There are a lot of comics out there, but some stand out head and shoulders above the pack. With “Don’t Miss This,” we want to spotlight those series we think need to be on your pull list. This week we are taking a look at everyone’s favorite green-skinned lawyer, “She-Hulk” by Rainbow Rowell, Rogê Antônio, and Luca Maresca. Jennifer Walters is looking for a fresh start. The problem is that you just can’t walk away from the life of being a superhero. From villainous fights to mysterious men reappearing in her life, Jennifer has a lot on her plate! If you like a delightful cast of secondary characters, a light story with superhero antics, or super-powered rom-coms, then this is the book for you! Join us as we show you why you should check out the new adventures of the strongest (lawyer) there is!

The best way to let off a little steam? Secret fight club!

Who is this by?
Many people are involved in bringing the superhero rom-com of Jennifer Walters to life. Novelist and comics writer Rainbow Rowell (“Runaways,” Fangirl: A Novel) is at the head of “She-Hulk,” creating a light, fun adventure that is equal parts romantic comedy and superhero mystery. Rowell brings delightful humor to the comic, from the character descriptions to the lively dialogue; Jen Walters is trying to have it all but is having a grand time.

Rogê Antônio (“Hellions,” “Amazing Spider-Man,” “Conan the Barbarian”) joins Rowell on “She-Hulk” for the first three issues and brings a light touch to the art of the comic. The characters’ designs are sometimes simple and detail light but excel at capturing the characters’ emotions. For a comic that is big on snappy dialogue, his art captures the light, breezy humor of the script. It often feels more like a hangout comic than a superhero comic, which works. Luca Maresca (“Avengers,” “Pheonix Song: Echo”) has provided art on the two most recent issues of “She-Hulk,” and while he does an excellent job capturing Antônio’s character designs, he gets far more detailed in the fights, giving them a feeling of titans sparring, while capturing the good-natured element of the arrangement. Maresca captures the balance of combat vs. antics in a way that matches the script well.

Old friends make for a wonderful supporting cast.

What’s it all about?

Jennifer Walters is looking to return to her roots in “She-Hulk.” After her time on the Avengers, dealing with the trauma of “The One Below All,” and her many other adventures, Jennifer has decided to return to practicing law. There are just two big problems. First, her new boss doesn’t want her dealing with caped cases (which removes a good pool of her clientele), and second, when you’re a superhero, there’s always a supervillain trying to take you down a peg or two. And this is just about her professional life! Personally, she’s dealing with the mystery of the recently resurrected (and severely underpowered) Jack of Hearts, who woke up with one goal in mind, find She-Hulk.

From underground fight clubs of superpowered women to finding discreet ways to take on superhero cases, there’s a lot on “She-Hulks” plate, all while trying to be a woman in the big city having it all.

Ice cream is the quickest way to a Jack's heart.

What makes it so great?
“She-Hulk,” plain and simple, is great because it is a delightful romantic comedy while still delivering on many elements that make Jennifer Walters a fun protagonist. Rowell makes Jen feel akin to many of the best kinds of romantic comedy leads. She’s confident, if a little overwhelmed, and ready for a new chapter in her life. Rowell does a remarkable job of balancing Jennifer’s confidence with a world that has changed. As is always the case with superheroes trying to leave the caped life behind, these things have a way of coming back to you. Jennifer isn’t necessarily presented as “incompetent” per se, but she isn’t ready for the “modern” world. Again, these are all things that feel very inspired by the romcom. The work element of “She-Hulk” is incredibly fun. She has a fun rivalry with her boss, her plan to take on super cases is quickly denied, and her field has changed significantly since she joined the Avengers. But the thing is that while this is all good, what genuinely makes the comic great is Jen’s supporting cast.

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Yes, as with most good romantic comedies, Jennifer is surrounded by a delightful cast of characters who give Jennifer advice or let her blow off some steam. From The Thing, to Awesome Andy, to Titania, “She-Hulk” is filled with a fun secondary cast. Of the group, the most fun element is Jennifer and Titania’s secret fight club. Both women are “reformed” from the caped life, but both need to blow off a little steam. These sequences have been some of the highlights of the comic so far, marrying Rowell’s light script with Antônio and Maresca’s art. The fights are dynamic and exciting but also just a lot of fun. It’s always exciting to see who will pop up in “She-Hulk.” Like the best rom-coms, it’s fun to see how these secondary casts lead the way.
But probably the best element of “She-Hulk” is the marriage of superhero mystery and the budding romance of Jennifer and Jack of Hearts. Rowell does an excellent job of presenting a compelling mystery about Jack’s mysterious circumstances, showing Jen’s skills beyond the brawn. Plus, the two are incredibly cute together as Jen learns more about his past (like his poetry degree!) It’s in these moments that Antônio’s art shines as he captures the moments of these scenes. This comic isn’t necessarily action-packed, so these quiet character moments shine as he gives them flirty glances and the awkward body language of a budding relationship. If “She-Hulk” is first and foremost a romantic comedy, Jack of Hearts is an excellent romantic lead.

A light adventure with big personalities.

How can you read it?
“She-Hulk” is published monthly by Marvel, and you can find it on websites like Comixology and Marvel Unlimited, or by supporting your local comic book store. The fifth issue of “She-Hulk” will hit shelves this week, and you can catch up by buying the previous issues.

//TAGS | Don't Miss This

Joe Skonce

Joe Skonce was born, raised, and currently resides in Ohio, but has been exploring fantastical and imaginary worlds for as long as he can remember. He loves big guys and barbarians, pirates and puppets, and is always down to find nerdy new things. Come say hi to him on twitter @tunabellgrande.


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