Jennifer Walters has had a rough summer. She suffered near-fatal injuries and the death of her cousin, Bruce “The Hulk” Banner, in the pages of Marvel’s Civil War II crossover event, and that trauma is the foundation of Walters’ new ongoing series debuting in December from writer Mariko Tamaki and artist Nico Leon. Hulk will explore how Walters’ turbulent emotional state impacts her efforts to resume her life as a lawyer and superhero, and ditching the She-Hulk marks a major shift for the character in the Marvel Universe.
“The title She-Hulk evokes light-hearted stories about a Jennifer Walters who is at peace with herself and in full control of her powers,” says Marvel editor-in-chief Axel Alonso. “This isn’t that book. On the other hand, the title Hulk implies all of the baggage that comes with that comic’s 50+ year history—the ongoing battle with the monster within—and that’s why it’s more appropriate for this series. Jen went through major trauma in Civil War II, and Mariko and Nico’s story will deal with the fallout of that trauma—the anxiety and anger, sometimes self-destructive, that comes along with it. If there is light at the end of the tunnel, Jen is going to have to search hard for it, and she’s going to have to battle with some pretty big monsters—including the one within—to find herself again.”
Mariko Tamaki’s work on books like Skim and the Eisner Award-winning This One Summer makes her an exceptional choice of writer to handle this new phase of the heroine’s life, and she has a talent for telling thoughtful, emotional stories about the human condition. She’s also shown that she can find compelling angles for licensed characters with her TMNT: Casey & April and Tomb Raider comics, and Tamaki makes a big move into superhero comics this December with both Hulk and her Supergirl: Being Super miniseries from DC Comics.
“Jen is absolutely shaped by the trauma she’s experienced,” says Tamaki. “Much of it was inspired by thinking about how different people deal with the hard things that happen in their lives, how memory, trauma, can infuse our whole being, be a physical presence in our lives. I was really into the idea of a Hulk, of the ability to transform into something close to monstrous, that’s still human, and heroic. It was interesting to think about what’s human about Hulk and vice versa.”
Nico Leon has become one of Marvel’s most promising up-and-coming creators with his art on books like Ms. Marvel and Spider-Man, and Hulk is his first series debut at the publisher. “Nico Leon is an awesome artist,” says Tamaki. “I love the expressiveness, the speed and power, of his work.” That speed and power make Leon a great fit for superhero comics, but he’s most excited to handle Walters when she’s not in crime-fighting mode.
“I love to draw normal life,” says Leon. “I am very excited to be able to draw the day-to-day life of a superhero who needs not to be a superhero all the time. And I am super excited to explore how her new status quo will affect her life and thus her personality and how it will manifest through her body language and interactions with common people and heroes alike.”
“I think one of the most interesting and unique challenge in drawing her in this series will be to share with the readers her inside struggles,” says Leon. “All heroes have their own internal struggles, but in this series, Jen will be dealing with something new and huge that is happening inside her own mind. The great challenge will be to share that feeling with the readers. It is a serious topic and it needs our most careful approach.” This creative team’s track record suggests that Hulk will be handled with sensitivity and sophistication, and readers can join Jennifer Walters on her new path when Hulk #1 debuts in December.