She-Hulk has experienced severe trauma over the past few years, and these experiences have caused her to evolve beyond the personality fans expect.
Warning: contains spoilers for She-Hulk # 3!
Over the last few years, She-Hulk has experienced a number of traumas that have led her to evolve beyond the breezy, self-confident personality fans expect. Despite all this, she is attempting to put her life back together, and in She-Hulk # 3she confirms these past experiences have changed her, leading to a new outlook — one that stands in contrast to her classic portrayals.
In addition to serving on both the Fantastic Four and the Avengers, She-Hulk often represents superheroes in court. Recently, in Jason Aaron’s Avengers, She-Hulk assumed a more monstrous form, and nearly lost her humanity. She was kidnapped by the Winter Guard and brainwashed in the Red Room, in an attempt to turn her into a weapon, leading to World War She-Hulk. She-Hulk was able to shake the mental programming, and help the Avengers defeat the Winter Guard. She-Hulk has left the Avengers, and is attempting to piece her life back together, returning as an attorney and living in a penthouse apartment furnished to her by the Wasp; a former lover and victim of Scarlet Witch, Jack of Hearts, has returned as well.
In She-Hulk # 3, Jennifer tells Jack how much she has changed. The issue is written by Rainbow Rowell, illustrated by Roge Antonio, colored by Rico Renzi, and lettered by Joe Caramagna. She-Hulk is allowing the resurrected Jack of Hearts to crash at her place. She brings him pizza, trying to get him to eat. Jack of Hearts is reluctant, saying he should probably just leave. She gets him to open up about his past, and during the conversation, he calls She-Hulk a “literal poster girl for self-love and awareness. ” She brushes it off, saying “maybe I was once”Before saying she, like Jack, knew what it was like being a“pawn in someone else’s game. ” Though this is probably intended to be about recent comic events, it’s hard not to see it as a reference to She-Hulk’s awareness of being in a comic book.
She-Hulk and Jack of Hearts move on, but her confession that she is no longer as self-assured and confident as she used to be may be disappointing to long-time fans. For many years, She-Hulk did seem to have her life together, balancing a superhero career with being a successful lawyer. Some of the character’s most defining runs, by creators such as John Byrne, Dan Slott, and Charles Soule, depicted She-Hulk in this fashion. However, recent years have not been kind to She-Hulk, as she was locked in a continual struggle to retain control of her mind and humanity; her captivity and brainwashing by the Winter Guard only exacerbated these problems. She-Hulk was even recently forced to relive her darkest moment of nearly killing the Avengers. These traumas have shattered She-Hulk’s confidence in herself, leading to a more pensive and contemplative outlook.
Trauma is a popular topic for superheroes, and it seems to have affected She-Hulk in a particularly difficult way. Given everything she’s been through, it’s more than understandable. The last five years of She-Hulk’s life have been some of the most traumatic, and these experiences have changed here, leading to a departure from the classic portrayals fans have come to know and love.
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