Yes, this title is clickbait. It’s probably the most clickbait-y thing I’ve ever written. Given the MCU has earned a not insignificant $15,558,746,560 at the global box office to date (which doesn’t include all the profit it’s generated in merchandise sales and Disney+ subscribers) it’s not like the Marvel Cinematic Universe is in trouble. It is a cultural juggernaut and like…well, like the Juggernaut, nothing seems to stop it. It’s not in need of saving per se so it’s not like She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is salvifically sweeping in to salvage a once thriving interconnected cinematic universe flailing on the brink of cultural irrelevance. But I chose the title to be an eye-catching invitation for readers (those intrigued, those enraged, and those in agreement) to dialogue with what this piece has to say. Showrunner Jessica Gao’s She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is intelligent, goofy, sassy, funny, and self-aware; it’s everything that made me love She-Hulk more than the Hulk when I was a kid. It’s also important to the future of the MCU in several key ways and we should talk about it. So yeah, I said She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is saving the MCU. Here’s why.
Be aware this piece contains some spoilers for the first two episodes of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.
I’ve been deep into writing my book (yay!) so I’ve not posted a new piece for over a month. To help fill the quiet during the book writing process, here’s a piece I wrote but never had the chance to post. Enjoy!
As a character, that Hulk has always fascinated me. When I was a kid he wasn’t a Spider-Man-level favorite nor was he quite at the level of Thor. But he was a strong (heh heh, no pun intended) contender for that third favorite spot, alongside characters like Wolverine or Venom. And if we look at the sheer number of their comics I read, Hulk totally blew Wolverine and Venom out of the water (obviously we’re excluding team comics here because why should my opening anecdote become needlessly complicated with nostalgic rankings?). I began reading The Incredible Hulk amidst Peter David’s legendary eleven year run on the title (1987-1998). While I’d read forwards and backwards from this point, my first Hulk comics were during the period Doc Samson had successfully merged all of Bruce Banner/the Hulk’s personalities. Banner’s intellect was paired with the Grey Hulk’s confidence (and eyes/hairstyle) in a body carrying the Green Hulk’s size, color, and power. It was a good time to be a Hulk fan…because this incarnation of the Hulk skirted a lot of the things about the Hulk that always made me sad.
Greg Pak’s work with Amadeus Cho in The Totally Awesome Hulk is important to my own personal Hulk journey. As a kid, I loved the Hulk. I read a lot of his comic books too – and every single Hulk comic I read (save a back issue or two) was written by Peter David. He shaped my entire understanding of the Hulk. As my (first) comic collecting run was coming to an end, Mr. David’s final issue of The Incredible Hulk was mine as well. Now, twenty years later, I’ve met a new Hulk and a new Hulk author. In Greg Pak’s The Totally Awesome Hulk, I’ve found a brilliant mix of the old and the new as well as a Hulk that’s fun, relevant, and even teaches me a little something along the way. Continue reading →