Comicbook: She-Hulk

The best argument for "going green" you've ever seen.

"She-Hulk has the potential to be our Wonder Woman. A powerful female with a strong moral center and a determination to do what's right. She's also a unique combination of brains and brawn. The ideal She-Hulk story is one that plays on both aspects of her make-up."

Once upon a time, there was Bruce Banner, whose gamma-irradiated blood made him the Incredible Hulk. He keeps going on about how you wouldn't like him when he's angry, but he's actually pretty damn popular. Marvel Comics, knowing as they do the power of a Distaff Counterpart, were quick to snag the name She-Hulk for trademark reasons. Thus, Bruce Banner's lawyerly cousin, Jennifer Walters, became gravely injured and received an emergency transfusion of his irradiated blood, becoming first The Savage, and then, eventually, The Sensational She-Hulk: "The Second Strongest One There Is". The character first appeared in Savage She-Hulk #1 (February, 1980), created by Stan Lee and John Buscema.

She-Hulk's Jekyll & Hyde tendencies are rather more subtle than the Hulk's. Jennifer Walters is a slightly timid, insecure lawyer who, under the effects of gamma radiation, can voluntarily transform into the seven-foot-tall green-skinned Amazonian Beauty. She-Hulk acts out the fantasies Jen finds too intimidating, becoming both a powerful warrior and a voluptuous flirtatious party girl. In fact, for a long time she was permanently stuck in her super-powered form and didn't mind at all, and friends and close allies regularly addressed her by her human name, thus implying — at least under most writers — that the only differences between the She-Hulk and Jennifer Walters personas were of physical nature. Retaining her human intelligence, she was able to pursue a successful career as a lawyer despite being a green-skinned space babe amazon, and had a much better control of her temper than her cousin (although, for Jennifer Walters, it is fear that is the trigger of Involuntary Shapeshifting, not anger). She's a sex symbol both within the Marvel Universe and without. Oh, and occasionally she had romantic/erotic dreams of Hercules. Literally, since Herc exists as a real person in the Marvel universe. About two decades after turning her into She-Hulk for good, the permanence of this state was reverted, and psychological problems that had never really been an issue before were introduced.

She's been a member of The Avengers as well as the Fantastic Four, The Defenders, Heroes for Hire, S.H.I.E.L.D. and created the "Lady Liberators", to take down the Red Hulk. Her solo title got cancelled (for the fourth time), but she rejoined the Fantastic Four. After Fall of the Hulks and WWH, she's joined her cousin in the team book Incredible Hulks (written by Greg Pak), the first time they've been on a team together. She also co-starred with the Hulk's daughter Lyra in the mini-series She-Hulks (written by Harrison Wilcox).

During She-Hulk's second run under John Byrne, she became completely Fourth Wall Savvy, and was once even Genre Savvy enough to run across advertisements trying to reach the next page. (Meanwhile, in a guest appearance in the parodistic Damage Control title, her medium awareness was parodied, depicting her as a crazy lunatic who believes she's a character in a comic book. And the same issue subverted that by having her react to a caption pointing this out. Too bad she's never been in a crossover with Deadpool, until... Marvel vs. Capcom 3) In her third solo run, when examining comics — which in Marvel canon are accounts of actual events, with an authenticity that is sufficiently great for them to be submitted as evidence in court — She-Hulk is asked if she possesses these abilities and she replies (while looking directly at the Fourth Wall) that of course she doesn't.

In modern comics, Jennifer Walters is one of three She-Hulks. One is Lyra, the daughter of Bruce Banner and Thundra, who comes from an alternate future; the third is Betty Ross Banner, who was turned into "Red She-Hulk" as the result of the Leader's machinations. Lyra was a student at Avengers Academy and assisted Doctor Strange during the Serpent War, while Betty was a member of a recent incarnation of The Defenders and briefly starred in her own solo series. Jennifer is appearing as a member of the FF (Future Foundation) title whose second volume was relaunched in Winter of 2012.

Like her male counterpart, She-Hulk has appeared in Ultimate Marvel, though as always with an Ultimate Universe counterpart, there are some changes: Jennifer Walters is still involved, but not as She-Hulk; in this continuity, Jennifer Walters is no relative of Banner's and is, instead, a female scientist who manages to create an "improved" version of the Hulk serum that doesn't affect the subject's mind. However, it is Betty Ross who steals the serum and uses it to become She-Hulk.

  • Savage She-Hulk (1980)
  • The Sensational She-Hulk (1989)
  • She-Hulk (2004)
  • She-Hulks (2011)
  • She-Hulk (2014)

Video Games

Western Animation

She-Hulk provides examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: A lampshade was hung on it in the penultimate issue of Dan Slott's run, in which the characters were forced under threat of death to give the reader a high speed run-through of how all the arcs were intended to have worked out, before being interrupted by the Civil War and World War Hulk crossover events.
  • Action Girl: Originally, She-Hulk was really just a brawler but due to her time on various superhero teams she has picked up a lot of fighting skills — such that she effortlessly disabled a mugger, while still in regular human form.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: She's gamma green.
  • Amazonian Beauty: Jennifer is the Marvel Universe's standout example, and she has company in Red She-Hulk and Lyra. The only notable exception was in Sensational She-Hulk #16 (Vol. 1, May 1990), where Jen temporarily assumed a Grey She-Hulk form. She's even taller and even more muscular, but is quite Gonk and uses a speech pattern similar to that of her cousin. In many respects, it's like the anti-Grey Hulk/Joe Fixit.
  • Amoral Attorney: Averted, although facing a seven-foot tall Amazon with green skin on a witness stand can be very intimidating...
  • Anti-Hero Substitute: Both subverted and played straight. Right after Jen's ongoing series was cancelled, All-New Savage She-Hulk was announced, with Lyra — daughter of Hulk and Thundra from an alternate universe — as a main protagonist. People were pissed, because it looked like we were going to get a Darker and Edgier replacement of Jen. However, as the comics ended, both She-Hulks became very good friends, Jen kept her name and become something like a Mentor for Lyra. Even when Jen was mysteriously Put on a Bus Lyra chose to look for her, rather than simply take her place. However, at the same time Jeph Loeb created Red She-Hulk, though she's more of a villain.
    • Though Lyra still calls herself the "Savage She-Hulk". Jen is the "Sensational She-Hulk".
    • And the new ongoing sees Jen and Lyra team up.
    • And Red She-Hulk after her reveal as Betty Ross Banner has undergone a Heel-Face Turn of sorts, even joining Hulk's Badass Family/Badass Crew.
  • Apathetic Citizens: Titania, armed with the gem of infinite power, destroyed the Timely Plaza in her quest for revenge against She-Hulk. It became a war zone, and everybody escaped... except the guys in a comic book store nearby. They are Genre Savvy enough to realize that no character is ever hurt during a superhero fight, except perhaps a charismatic character, to boost sales.
  • Archnemesis: Supervillainess Titania, a fellow Amazonian Beauty and longstanding foe of Jen's. Notably, she may be the only female on Earth to rival She-Hulk in terms of power and durability (she, like Jen, can also augment her strength level through rigorous, prolonged weight-lifting training). See also: Evil Counterpart.
  • Badass Family: She's Bruce Banner's cousin. As Hulk, Bruce has at least two kids with Caiera that survived the destruction of Sakaar and somehow made their way to Earth, and one with Thundra.
  • Between My Legs: The cover of Savage She-Hulk #2.
  • Berserk Button: She's very protective of her cousin and can go in a rage if something happens to him. Like when she found out Iron Man and his team had exiled him into space.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: She's a lot nicer than Bruce, but also scary when she is angry.
  • Boobs of Steel: The bustiest superheroine in the Marvel universe, she is also one of, if not the strongest woman in the Marvel universe.
  • Boxing Lessons for Superman: While she was training to fight the Champion. Even more relevant to the trope, she trained in her human form, so that when she Hulked Out, she would be exponentially stronger.
  • Bronze Age: She-Hulk was created firmly in the Bronze Age. She shares this with Spider-Woman and Ms. Marvel, since Distaff Counterparts were all the rage in that era.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Often as an actual lawyer at that. She's also worked for a Bunny Ears Law Firm.
  • Clothing Damage: Frequently. A rather (in)famous panel from the Sensational She-Hulk graphic novel has her wearing a shredded top after getting shot at by several soldiers - in a truly amazing victory for Getting Crap Past the Radar, her nipples are clearly visible, barely covered by what's left of the shirt. The inker revealed that he added them in without John Byrne's approval and that deadline crunch was most likely the reason they weren't caught.
  • Cosmetic Award: Titania, armed with the gem of infinite power, is too much for She-Hulk, but can't see her when she's in human form, because of an enchantment of the Scarlet Witch. So, how can she beat her? She requested the aid of fanboys at a comic book store, who figured out the working of the gems and received a glitzy and glamorous No-Prize.
  • Courtroom Antics: When at her best, Jennifer basically fills the role of Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law set in the Marvel Universe.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: In the 2014 comic, Jennifer is denied a bonus by her bosses who brag about their expensive rainforest Madripoor table, and quits when they tell her flat out they didn't hire her for her skill as a lawyer, but because of her presumed super hero connections. Jen gives them a good telling off for this.
    • This isn't the first time this has happened to her, though it was much more sympathetic last time since her boss wanted to use her position as an Avenger, so he could take custody of his misguided super-villain granddaughter from prison. Jen is angry, but decides to forgive him.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Shortly before the start of Sensational She-Hulk, She-Hulk was "gene-locked" following the events of her graphic novel, resulting in her permanently being big and green. She was completely unfazed by this — but when Dan Slott took on the 3rd run of her solo title, he retconned the condition to being a purely psychological one. Either way, she likes being a superstrong, sexy, vivacious bombshell. Go figure.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Jen sometimes exhibits signs of this. She's usually this mostly when she's in a group (usually the Avengers or Lady Liberators).
  • Depending on the Artist: During her Savage incarnation, she was statuesque with the vague hint of muscle tone but with wild hair. Under John Byrne she morphed into a green super model with massive 80s hair. During Dan Slott's run, Juan Bobillo gave her more bulk but because of his style, she often appeared pudgy rather than muscular. When PAD took over the title, Jen was consistently shown to be both tall and impressively muscular in her Hulk form — a trend which has been followed since the discontinuation of her solo title.
  • Depending on the Writer: She's been an exact female copy of the Hulk, a Fourth Wall Breaker, Fun Personified, and even downright serious.
  • Distaff Counterpart:
    • Supposedly, She-Hulk was spawned as a direct consequence of a The Benny Hill Show clip that involved a woman getting big and green and bursting out of her clothes — She-Hulk being the response to ensure they had a copyright on the character. But Comic Book Resources has debunked this story.
    • The rumor at the time was that CBS was planning a spin-off of the wildly successful Hulk series based on a female version of the Hulk. Marvel assumed CBS would still have to pay royalties, until The Benny Hill Show sketch came along (again, as noted above, this has been debunked, mainly because the Benny Hill sketch appeared one year after She-Hulk's debut). When Marvel's lawyers confirmed that Marvel wouldn't see a red cent from CBS should they go forward with their plans, they couldn't rush the first issue of She-Hulk out fast enough. The whole thing ended up being moot anyway, since CBS didn't go through with the spin-off for fear of being labeled "The Superhero Network".
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Zigzagged, much like the rest of her costume. When she puts an uniform on in advance, she usually wears them.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Her transformation sequence in the 90s cartoon. "Lighting my fire", indeed.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: In the 2014 She-Hulk, Jen hangs out in a lawyer bar to drown her sorrows after losing a really high paying job. Considering she was still lucid after two doubles, she may have more work than most given her gamma-enhanced metabolism.
  • Effortless Amazonian Lift: As a Running Gag, no less.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Do not call her "Shulkie". She even gets mad at Ben Grimm for calling her that. (And him she likes.)
  • End of Series Awareness:
  • Evil Counterpart: Titania and Red She-Hulk. However, Titania didn't start out as evil at all (at least according to her flashback arc), just severely victimized, out of options, severely personality-changed by Doctor Doom's machine, and had fallen into bad company. It was later that she turned into a murderous asshole. Red She-Hulk also started out nice, but had experiments performed on her mind that turned her much nastier than she used to be. Insane, arrogant, and possibly ruthless, but turns out she is more of an Anti-Hero as shown in her own series. Subverted with Lyra, who is a neutral or anti-hero counterpart trying to turn good, and turns stronger the calmer she gets, rather than angrier.
  • Fanservice: Provides the page image! But she's not very happy about it. All other She-Hulks count as well.
  • Fan Disservice: Red She-Hulk when she goes all out Hulk, becoming just as big as her father when he's the Red Hulk and her straight hair becoming very frizzy. She still keeps her costume with absolute cleavage in this form.
  • Fun Personified: The Dan Slott series, and the current She-Hulks run is also a lot of fun. Basically like an improved version of Loeb's Hulk run.
  • Genius Bruiser: Jen, who helps pioneer the field of superhuman law when she's not kicking butt. Pug, a supporting character from Slott's run, also counts. He paid for law school by working as a bouncer, and it shows.
  • Genre Savvy: Varying from Deadpan Snarker to outright No Fourth Wall, depending on the series and the writer.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: Lampshaded. When she was working as a SHIELD agent after Civil War, they captured the Abomination, and reported to the new head of SHIELD, a man standing in the shadows. Who complains that it is a shame that a $900,000,000 airship apparently can't have good illumination, and steps to the light. This man, as everybody should have already known by then, is Tony Stark.
  • Hero Does Public Service: In one story Jen volunteers with Green Cross (an organization devoted to helping victims of the Hulk's actions) to clean up the town that she herself trashed during one of her own rampages. Initially, she works incognito, but ultimately comes out as She-Hulk to expose a woman who's trying to use She-Hulk's actions to cover up her murdering her husband.
  • Hilarity Sues: Her third series, written by Dan Slott, began as Harvey Birdman in the Marvel Universe. Hercules was sued for battery, Starfox for sexual harassment, and J. Jonah Jameson for libel, among others. Charles Soule's series in 2014 returned to the world of superhero law for several plots, starting with Doctor Doom's son claiming political asylum in the USA.
  • The Heroine: Of the Lady Liberators.
  • Hulking Out: Not as much or as often as the Trope Namer, but it does happen. She used to be just like her cousin in every way but the vocabulary but this was revealed to be caused by a degenerative blood disease. Once Morbius treated it, Jen's transformations became easier for her to control.
  • I Just Want to Be Beautiful: The 2011 run of She-Hulk showed that Jennifer may have issues concerning her normal body. She regards her regular appearance as 'plain' and 'boring', and is surprised when men would rather spend time with the mousy little brunette than her Statuesque Stunner form.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Unlike Bruce Banner, who does not want to turn into Hulk and wants to be normal, being She-Hulk has several advantages for Jennifer Walters: power, beauty, fame, an adventurous life, keeps her intellect and personality, etc. So, when she can, she stays as She-Hulk all the time, and when she can't, she does whatever it takes to return to that permanent state.
  • Ivy League for Everyone: Averted, and how. Jen went to UCLA Law, which is consistently ranked #15 or #16 among U.S. law schools and is the best law school in Southern California.
  • Knuckle Cracking: In the 2014 title, Jennifer does this along with a Pre Ass Kicking One Liner.
  • The Lad-ette: Bluntly and unapologetically sexual, loves to beat up evildoers, and in some versions also fond of booze and partying.
  • Leotard of Power: A purple and white one is her most common attire unless she's in a courtroom.
  • Like Brother and Sister: With Bruce Banner/The Hulk. She's really protective of him too (though he usually can take care of himself). She-Hulk beat the crap out of Iron Man after she found out he exiled Bruce into deep space.
  • Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex: One boyfriend, the unpowered John, did not like the idea of coitus with the superpowered She-Hulk.
    Jen: And if things get too... you know, just use the safe word.
    John: No kidding. I've got a few more "safe words," like "Ow!" and "Dear God!" and "Crushed pelvis."
  • Medium Awareness: Limited (almost) entirely to her run in Sensational She-Hulk under the auspices of John Byrne.
  • Monster Modesty: Jen is a rare Fanservice version of this trope.
  • Most Common Superpower: One issue of Dan Slott's run established in court of law that she has the largest breasts of any MU heroine. Whether or not this is an Informed Attribute is something that varies.
  • Ms. Fanservice: she provides the page image for Fanservice. That says a lot.
  • Mugging the Monster: A rather humorous example happened to her after the Stamford disaster. An angry mob of anti-superhero protestors had formed outside of the courthouse where she — as Jennifer — was defending two surviving members of the New Warriors. One guy recognized her and grabbed her, shouting "I've got She-Hulk!" Then she turned into her large, green size, and said, "Okay, you've got She-Hulk. Now what?"
  • My Horse Is a Motorbike: The time-displaced Western hero Two-Gun Kid receives a sky-cycle as a gift from his descendant Hawkeye via Video Will. The Kid explicitly compares it to a horse.
  • Mythology Gag: The fact that Betty Ross is the Ultimate Marvel version of She-Hulk could be seen as this, since she actually did spend a brief period of time as a gamma-empowered entity called the Harpy, which can basically be described as, well, She-Hulk as a harpy with the ability to fire energy blasts. She's also gone on to become the Red Hulk version of She-Hulk in the mainstream verse as well.
  • Never Live It Down: Despite likely being the genuinely nicest hero on the planet, people everywhere (writers, readers, in-universe characters) keep focusing on her somewhat promiscuous sex life.
  • No Guy Wants an Amazon: Somewhat perversely, despite She-Hulk racking up the notches on the bedpost, she ends up marrying Captain John Jameson, who expresses a genuine dislike of her being She-Hulk (see Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex above for a typical bedtime conversation between them). Jen was kind of a hypocrite, since she also had problems with his Man-wolf form because Captain John Jameson mauled one of her co-workers while in said transformation.
    • Her co-worker Pug — who had a pretty serious crush/unrequited love thing going on — regularly seemed uncomfortable with Jennifer when she was in her She-Hulk form, actively encouraging her to remain in her normal human form. Possibly a reversal of "Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex" concerns.
  • Occult Law Firm: Goodman, Lieber, Kurtzberg & Holliway specialised in supernatural law, and employed lots of different superhumans, including speedsters as messengers.
  • Omnidisciplinary Lawyer: In the Marvel Universe, Jennifer Walters, the She-Hulk, specializes in superhero law, but that includes criminal cases, civil rights law, civil suits and anything else that might come up.
  • Parental Substitute: Bruce Banner invoked this trope with Jen and Lyra — after a brief talk with his daughter he has decided that, coming from a world where men and women live separately, she doesn't need a father, but has serious issues about Parental Abandonment on her mother's side, so he asked Jen to become her legal guardian and help her get a normal life.
  • Pillars of Moral Character:
    • Arguably the kindest and most idealistic superheroine in the Marvel Universe, along with Meggan and Kitty Pryde. This includes working as a (considerably less well-paid than corporate) public defense attorney, consistently trying to make the system work for particularly vulnerable groups in society, and running her own disaster relief organization. This on top of her general unpaid rescue work, and being one of the very least murder-happy heroes on the planet. However, her temper can get the best of her at times.
    • A time-policing court once sentenced her to erasure from history, saying that in any case where she thought herself invaluable some other super-strong heroine could have filled in. The counter argument came in the form of her clients. She-Hulk is rather fungible, but Jen Walters is completely irreplaceable.
  • Power Fist: Sasha Martin, Holden's granddaughter and Jen's temporary ward, has an alien gauntlet permanently fixed over her left hand. It is able to conjure giant hands made out of Hard Light.
  • Promotion to Parent: Holden is able to get his underage granddaughter Sasha (a.k.a. "Southpaw") out of a supervillain prison on the condition that she remain in Jen's custody.
  • Punch Clock Hero: Jen is the retained legal counsel for Luke Cage and Jessica Jones and for their team, the Mighty Avengers. Which means she also joins them in battle should the need arise.
  • Really Gets Around: Jen has unapologetically slept with a great many people, including Hercules and Iron Man. This is generally played for laughs. For example, when called to testify in a trial, this involved a list of her past sexual partners. It was several meters long, and involved hundreds of entries...
    • Though the double standards do piss her off. She once asked Iron Man why no one gave him crap for sleeping around (Iron Man being a male example of this trope)... while in bed with him.
    • And then there's the ongoing Flame War about whether she had sex with the Juggernaut, which has been retconned out and brought back in a number of times. In this case it's because Juggernaut has repeatedly tried to kill Bruce/The Hulk and many felt it was out of character for her. Especially considering that when she found out that Iron Man exiled Hulk into space after having slept with Stark, she got really angry and beat the crap out of him. Wolverine, another character who Really Gets Around, actually refused Jen's advances on the basis that "He didn't want Juggernaut's sloppy seconds," although considering that Wolvie is much worse than she is, and has also tried to murder her cousin/isn't really much different from Juggernaut, according to the writer, this was simply Rule of Funny. Then again, Wolverine and Hulk are Vitriolic Best Buds.
      • It was later found out that a parallel universe version of Jen had slept with the Juggernaut.
  • The Rival: Her relationship with Red She-Hulk/Betty Ross has progressed to this. They also act as Good Cop (Jen) and Bad Cop (Red) over in Incredible Hulks.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: "Legal", the only name given to Tony Stark's legal troubleshooter, has glasses that cast reflections when other people's don't.
  • She's Got Legs: At seven feet tall, a good majority of Jennifer's height is in her gorgeous green gams, and the artists work that.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In the Leader arc during the Dan Slott run, the Leader is drawn by Ty Templeton to look very like Anthony Ainley, who played the somewhat analogous Master in Doctor Who.
    • In one Javier Solido-drawn issue of the Charles Soule run, we see that the emblem of Latveria's national airline looks suspiciously like the "Devil's Eyes" symbol from Grendel.
  • Statuesque Stunner: Jennifer, Red-She-Hulk, and Lyra all qualify.
  • Super Strength: Potentially the strongest known woman in the Marvel Universe when sufficiently enraged.
  • Tough Act to Follow: The Marvel Now! series follows on the much praised Dan Slott run, and shares more than a few elements with it in terms of story. Unfortunately many found that it lacked the humour, art and action that made that series a success.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Invoked. She-Hulk was brought before the Living Tribunal to decide a very important thing: he had found a new Ultimate universe, and was considering erasing the Marvel Universe and replacing it with this new one. She-Hulk's defense, at its core, was that her universe was more fun. They told her: she narrated a great cosmic story... in less than one page. Justified, as the Registrator was about to explode.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Much more averse to resorting to killing in combat than virtually any Marvel superhero around.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Odd case with Red She-Hulk. Jen gets along with Betty Ross just fine, but when she turns into Red, they start trading insults back and forth.
  • Will Not Tell a Lie: She's a very honest individual.
  • You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry: Inverted with Lyra, Who in order to keep her under control was engineered to actually get weaker the angrier she gets. Making her the one Hulk you 'would' like when she is angry.

Alternative Title(s):

She Hulk