She-Hulk Episode 2 strikes a great balance between important issues and sitcom hilarity

She-Hulk - Episode 2 Review


This is a spoiler-free review of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law Episode 2. Check out our She-Hulk series premiere review if you’re not caught up just yet!

She-Hulk: Attorney At Law shows no signs of slowing its hilarious momentum in Episode 2. The most recent chapter introduces an interesting conundrum for Jennifer Walters (Tatiana Maslany) but it’s nothing she can’t get through with a little help from her friends.
This week gives us more time with some of She-Hulk’s supporting characters, but it’s in the successful “meant to highlight how they’re going to get Jen through her trials” way rather than the “acting as a distraction from the overall story” way. Though, this does mean that you’ll see way less Bruce (Mark Ruffalo) in Episode 2. It’s Nikki (Ginger Gonzaga) and Pug’s (Josh Segarra) time to shine! Unfortunately for everyone, there’s also some Dennis (Drew Matthews) action sprinkled in there, too. (You’re doing amazing, Drew! We only want to fight your character!)
Jen may be better at controlling her Hulk than Bruce, but that doesn’t mean her world wasn’t completely turned upside down by the introduction of gamma radiation. Goodbye everyday lawyer, and welcome to the spotlight She-Hulk! Jen’s “under the radar” plans are out the window and suddenly she’s starting to realize that everyone’s a lot more interested in the big green gal than they are the extremely capable lawyer. That is, except for all the folks who can’t be involved with a “side show.”
We shift away from the origin story this week and start to showcase how much of a change Jen really went through in the premiere; the silliness of vigilantism in any universe; and the injustices that have been allowed to fly in the Marvel Cinematic Universe simply because it would take too much time to circle back and exonerate former villains who were put in their situations rather than choosing to be evil. And yes, that is your confirmation that Abomination makes his She-Hulk debut in this episode!
Anecdotally, Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth) is actually the second case where we’ve seen what happens to folks when the US Government plays fast and loose with their botched version of the Super Soldier Serum and doesn’t stick around to be responsible for the outcome. Or, in Isaiah Bradley’s (Carl Lumbly) case in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, the government’s outright punishment for following their own orders.
Rest assured that no matter how over the top a moment may seem, your lady friends have absolutely experienced it.
All of this is balanced with the sheer ridiculousness that sometimes comes with being a woman in society. Director Kat Coiro and writer Jessica Gao make a point to highlight the extremely silly situations ladies — hero or otherwise — find themselves in every day, continuing the extreme relatability of the series for anyone existing as a woman. While outlining all those individual instances would be a spoiler, rest assured that no matter how over the top a moment may seem, your lady friends have absolutely experienced it.
That balance is an important counter to the criticism that She-Hulk isn’t taking the MCU as seriously as it should. The conversation about the fact that superhero fare can be silly and fun notwithstanding, sitcoms have been tackling serious material while also being funny long before Jennifer Walters first walked into a courtroom. Humor can be an important tool in growth and exploration of difficult topics (up to and including the corruption of government and the perceived ownership of how women dress and express themselves), and She-Hulk continues to be another solid example of that.
The Essential She-Hulk Comics to Read Before the MCU SeriesWant to brush up on She-Hulk's Marvel lore before diving into the MCU series? These are the graphic novels you should read.Marvel-Verse: She-Hulk
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The Marvel-Verse graphic novels are a handy resource for quickly brushing up on various Marvel heroes. They're designed to be affordable and offer a greatest hits lineup from various Marvel Comics eras. In this case, Marvel-Verse: She-Hulk includes the character's original debut in 1979's Savage She-Hulk #1, along with issues from acclaimed She-Hulk creators like John Byrne and Dan Slott. It even includes a highly underrated She-Hulk tale from 1987's Solo Avengers #14. All in all, it's hard to go wrong with this book as a gateway into the world of She-Hulk. 
Sensational She-Hulk by John Byrne
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She-Hulk may be among the numerous Marvel heroes co-created by Stan Lee, but most fans would agree the character didn't truly come into her own until writer/artist John Byrne came along. Byrne's Sensational She-Hulk fundamentally reinvented the character in the 1980's. Rather than depicting She-Hulk as a carbon copy of her cousin, the series emphasized her comedic side. Byrne gave fans a version of Jen Walters who is loud, proud and fully in control of her Hulk side. 
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Years before Deadpool landed on the scene, Sensational She-Hulk took the novel approach of focusing on a character who knew she existed inside a comic, interacted with the reader and bickered with the storyteller, Duck Amuck-style. It's no stretch to say Byrne's influence on the character remains strong even decades later.
She-Hulk by Dan Slott
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If Byrne fundamentally overhauled She-Hulk's personality and place in the Marvel Universe, then Dan Slott brought her into the 21st Century. Slott's She-Hulk run sees Jen Walters take a role at the prestigious law firm Goodman, Lieber, Kurtzberg, & Holliway, where she brings her unique perspective to matters of superhuman law. When Spider-Man decides to sue J. Jonah Jameson for libel, there's only one lawyer to call.
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Slott's She-Hulk isn't as overtly meta as Byrne's Sensational She-Hulk, but it does mine the depths of Marvel lore for both comedic and dramatic effect. For instance, the series establishes that a version of Marvel Comics exists within the Marvel Universe, and all their comics are 100% factual accounts of real-life incidents.    
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This series is frequently hilarious, but it packs plenty of heart, as well. It brings Jen Walters back into the forefront alongside her Hulk persona, and also establishes a top-notch supporting cast. Slott's She-Hulk has become the standard by which all subsequent books are judged. This series, as much as any other, looks to be the inspiration behind the Disney+ show.
All-New Savage She-Hulk
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There was a period in the late '00s where the Marvel Universe was practically overflowing with new versions of Hulk and She-Hulk. Among that motley crew of gamma monsters was Lyra, a refugee from a future timeline who is revealed to be the daughter of Bruce Banner and Thundra. 
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All-New Savage She-Hulk chronicles Lyra's journey from the future into the present-day Marvel Universe. Her mission is to seek out and kill the world's greatest hero, in the hope that their death will change the future and prevent the extinction of her people. That quest puts her in the path of many a Marvel hero and villain, including Jen Walters.
Jen herself may only be a supporting character in this series, but it's well worth a read for anyone interested in a slightly different take on the She-Hulk concept. And thanks to writer Jeff Parker's witty style, the series does still scratch that comedic itch.
She-Hulk by Soule & Pulido
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After a series of status quo changes and an overall expansion of the Hulk family, Marvel brought She-Hulk back to basics with her 2014 series. In this volume, writer Charles Soule and artist Javier Pulido shift the focus back to Jen Walters' ongoing struggle to balance her professional and superhero lives. The big difference in this series is that Shulkie is now a solo lawyer with her own law firm. 
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There's a lot to love in this criminally short-lived series, whether it's Shulkie defending high-profile clients like Steve Rogers and Doctor Doom's son Kristoff Vernard or bonding with her friend Hellcat. Pulido's art, though somewhat divisive in the Marvel fandom, gives the series a look and vibe all its own. If you've read through all of Slott's She-Hulk and crave more superhero legal drama, this is the sequel you want (though it also stands perfectly well on its own).
This story originally appeared on: IGN - Author:Amelia Emberwing

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