Issue(s): She-Hulk #9, She-Hulk #10, She-Hulk #11, She-Hulk #12
She-Hulk returns from her trip to Florida and is met by the overeager Zapper. On their ride home, he manages to get her angry.
She remains in She-Hulk mode for the trip home, and even takes a phone call from ADA Buckowski in that form.
The She-Hulk worries that any minor irritation turns into a searing rage and transforms her. But it's interesting to see her essentially remain Jennifer Walters in She-Hulk form. I felt like the earlier issues were a little unclear about that; it's a distinction from the Hulk that ought to have been emphasized more.
Buckowski called Jennifer Walters because he's referring a civil case to her (not that this is infeasible, but Walters is an all-purpose lawyer. She was a defense attorney, and then a special prosecutor, and is now handling a civil case. It's definitely more plausible than Marvel's all-purpose super-scientists, in any event.). A young hippie has joined a cult, and his parents want to get him back. When Walters goes to investigate, she finds that the cult is led by a guy calling himself The Word (no relation to the old Henry Pym villain The Voice, although they are strikingly similar).
The Word introduces his daughter, Ultima, who he has used his persuasion powers on her to force her to train her body to super-human levels.
Walters tries to get the former-hippie kid to leave, but she's attacked by Ultima (who, it turns out, is dating the boy) and transforms into She-Hulk.
She does get the kid to sign a paper saying that he's at the camp against his will before she leaves.
Meanwhile, Zapper follows up on a test that he asked his med school colleagues to do on She-Hulk's blood...
...and he's referred to Michael Morbius, who is currently a semi-prisoner at the school. Morbius says whoever the blood belongs to, they are in big trouble.
On the She-Hulk's trip home, she lets her temper get the best of her again.
It's worth juxtaposing the Hulk, whose anger transforms him into a raging rampaging fury, with She-Hulk, a large woman in a torn nightgown with a temper. But it's a reflection of the fact that Jen essentially retains her personality as the She-Hulk; she's actually a "merged" Hulk years before her cousin.
Jen manages to extract herself from an extended altercation with the police, and makes it home undetected. Zapper wakes her up with news about the blood test, but Jen first wants to file motions for her client. The Word ensures that his trial happens quickly, further delaying Jen's ability to get to Morbius for a cure. The trial doesn't go well, thanks to the Word's persuasion ability.
But Ultima figures out that Jen Walters is She-Hulk, and she follows her out of the courtroom and attacks her.
After an extended battle...
...Ultima is crushed under a car thanks to the Word manipulating her boyfriend.
The Word agrees with She-Hulk that his daughter's injuries are all his fault, and he retires from public life to take care of her.
She-Hulk, however, passes out due to the problems Morbius saw in her blood. She's captured by the police and brought to her father's jailhouse.
Sheriff Walters reveals that Morbius is going to be tried for murder, and Walters intends to see that She-Hulk gets the same.
A crowd of Morbius' victims have surrounded the area, demanding his execution. Morbius himself has been working on a fuller cure for his own problems. Apparently the lightning bolt/Spider-Man blood combo didn't fully do the trick, and he's developing a craving for blood again. But the serum he develops for himself will (conveniently!) also work on She-Hulk. However, he has to run out of the lab to resist the urge to drink it all himself...
...and he bites a guard on the way out. He's then attacked by a pair of parents whose child was killed by Morbius. Zapper shows up to help him out, and eventually gets Morbius back to his lab, where She-Hulk, having escaped from prison despite her weakened state, has also arrived. She's given the cure, and with some encouragement from Morbius ("I, too, have suffered the struggle of a dual identity."), she's able to force her body to transform back into Jen which is what was needed for the cure to take affect. A pretty major upside of this: she now has the ability to control her transformations.
When Jennifer last transformed into She-Hulk during the fight with Ultima, she left her briefcase behind, and ADA Bukowski found it and rifled through it. He found Morbius' lab's number in there, and assumes that she intends to defend him. So he leaks that information to the press, intending to embarrass her into not doing it. Jen thinks that it's Morbius who is trying to blackmail her into doing it, and Morbius himself isn't happy about it either, but when they get together and realize they're being manipulated, they very quickly decide that she will become his lawyer after all.
Jen's defense is pretty tight. It involves rabbits.
Man, i love evil rabbits. We haven't had a dangerous rabbit since Doctor Strange #1 and you have to go all the way back to Silver Surfer #7 for a truly vicious one. Honorable mention to Sub-Mariner #70 but that was only a flashback, and i suppose i should also mention Tales To Astonish #56 although that was basically an ordinary rabbit (albeit "highly trained"), although that's enough of a threat for Ant-Man. Update: There's also Krogg from Werewolf By Night #8. Truly we have enough evil bunnies to form a super-villain team, the Not Ordinary Rabbits.
Anyway, in this story, i love that one rabbit's expression when he hears what Jen intends to do.
Jen's rabbit-based defense is a success, to the disappointment of the angry crowds and Jen's angrier father.
Into this plot walks Gemini.
This is the robot Gemini from the robot Zodiac that appeared in Defenders (the MCP currently lists both Geminis appearing in this story, but see Michael's comment).
Gemini stumbles into an argument from those two parents of a Morbius villain from before and a guy that they paid to assassinate Morbius who doesn't actually intend to deliver. Gemini decides he'll take half the money and then see for himself if he should kill Morbius. He grabs Jen and Morbius and stages his own trial.
The trial/fight with Gemini is directionless...
...and the parents eventually decide on their own that they don't want to be murderers, so Gemini carries Morbius back to his lab so he can administer his cure on himself.
On the homefront, Jen considers Zapper to be immature, and wishes she had someone else she could trust with her secret identity. How about your father?
Her (lack of) feelings towards Zapper cause her to hurt his feelings.
There are some positive developments in this arc. The change in the way She-Hulk transforms, and the solidifying of how her personality is retained during that transformation, is great. And i continue to enjoy the legal stuff. Her defense of Morbius here begins the "lawyer to the super-heroes" aspect of her character that will get more prominent as time goes on. But these details are all on the margins of the stories. The villains - the Word and Ultima and Gemini - are all pretty lame. Gemini is actually fun until he becomes the villain of the piece. As a guy that wanders around equivocating on every issue and looking for beer money, he's pretty fun. But once he decides to go after Morbius he becomes uninteresting. Even worse is Jen's awful supporting cast. Buckowski and Zapper needed to get jettisoned, and the relationship with Jen's father needed to get past the cheap melodrama stage.
Issue #9 has a particularly goofy cover by (surprisingly) Michael Golden. Vosburg's interior art is generally fine throughout. He's not a great, but he's solid.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Essential She-Hulk vol. 1 (#11-12 are originals)
Inbound References (6): show
Honestly, I actually like the concept of Ultima; being someone who literally used mental powers and will to to be a powerhouse to fight someone like She-Hulk; I think it's rather cool. Yeah I know people say she's not Titania but it worked for the situation.
Posted by: Ataru320 | July 1, 2013 6:42 PM
The original Gemini being listed by the MCP was a mistake. We discussed it a couple of years ago but for some reason it was never changed:
Posted by: Michael | July 1, 2013 8:44 PM
Thanks, Michael, that's great. Now i can stop re-reading Defenders #48-50 trying to figure out what i missed. ;-)
Ataru, powerwise, i don't think Ultima should be stronger than, say, Captain America, but i don't see that as being a problem for her going against She-Hulk for a few rounds. And i actually like The Word as the ultimate personal trainer ("One more rep. No seriously, i command it."). My problem is more that she and her her father are both underdeveloped character-wise. The Word is about as uninteresting a cult leader as you can get, and Ultima is mainly motivated by jealousy over the boy.
Posted by: fnord12 | July 1, 2013 10:40 PM
Fnord: yeah I wasn't expecting her to fight Thor or Galactus (well not without a ton of upgrades that tend to happen with comic book characters with longevity), but it would be neat (even in a mutant sort of way) to see an increase in "strength will over time". As for depictions: that really is all based on writers who care generally. Good writers can make a terrible idea awesome (I've seen people praising a Stilt-Man story on here) and a horrible writer can likewise make a good idea into garbage. Honestly it would have been neat to maybe someone like "The Word" (or even "The Voice" if you go back to that lame-o you mentioned) as a good behind-the-scenes villain (like an evil cable news commentator who can easily sway influence with his voice; like Purple Man without the super-theromones) with Ultima as a backup, but unfortunately those types of things require imagination...
Posted by: Ataru320 | July 2, 2013 6:32 PM
I wonder if the "Lunatik" misspelling is a deliberate reference to the Defenders character Kraft wrote.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | July 5, 2013 4:24 PM
I'm going to have to disagree here. I think giving the she-hulk the ability to control her transformations led to the cancellation of the series and ultimately turning the character into a semi-serious character.
When Jen had her "anger problem", her greatest enemy was her own temper. As she pointed out in issue 4, she is swept along by her rage and is ready to lash out at anything and everything. It was this internal struggle with herself that would have kept the character interesting in much the same way that the Hulk character endured all of these decades.
In issue 7 we saw that she was ruining away from the cops because she was trying to protect them from her own temper. She stated that she was afraid of what she might do to them if she lost her temper.
If they continued with that concept, I think the character would have worked.
Posted by: Tiff | November 4, 2014 3:56 AM
I think in terms of reaching the comics audience at the time, the biggest obstacle was the fact that this character was (correctly) seen as a derivative of the Hulk. Most fans didn't want Marvel to go down the path of Supergirl, Krypto, etc.., and readers looking for strong female characters didn't want to see characters that were just pale imitations of male characters. I think the book was already struggling sales-wise and that's why we see so much thrashing and experimentation in this series, trying to find something that would click with an audience and distinguish the character from the Hulk.
It's also worth noting that the standard status quo for the Hulk was getting stale enough at this time that we're not too far off from Bill Mantlo giving the Hulk Bruce Banner's intelligence for an extended number of years, followed by the mindless/crossroads period, followed by the separation of Hulk and Banner, followed by the grey Hulk, and then again an intelligent green Hulk. We don't see a "classic" Hulk again for decades. In retrospect maybe that does mean that there would have been room for a "Savage" She-Hulk, but it definitely seems like a status quo that Marvel had lost faith in for both characters.
Personally i think it worked out because where David Anthony Kraft lands with this series is pretty much where Roger Stern and John Byrne pick the character up, to great long term success. But of course your mileage may vary.
Posted by: fnord12 | November 4, 2014 8:05 AM
Directed here from the Werewolf-By-Night thread; seriously, just get White Rabbit to control the "bun brigade" and they'd be a massive threat to the entire Marvel Universe...or at least Plant-Man's carrot garden. (and trust me, by threatening a character created by a co-creator of Superman, you're really going up in the world)
Posted by: Ataru320 | January 4, 2015 8:32 PM
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