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Review – Hulk #5

Published on April 28th, 2017 | Updated on April 28th, 2017 | By FanFest

It has been five issues, and it’s still jarring to see Jen looking like a normal person. She-Hulk has always been confident and in control of her transformation, and rarely left it, even when working as a lawyer. This series has been something entirely different for Jen. While it breaks my heart to see such a fun, optimistic superhero laid so low, it’s been a fascinating look at her character.

Hulk #5 opens with a flashback to immediately after “Civil War II” ended, when Jen was still in the hospital. After hallucinating Bruce Banner, who tries to insist that, “Everything’s going to be okay,” she seemingly loses control of her Hulk side. It’s safe to assume she has not fully transformed since that day. This scene puts the rest of the series in perspective.

It then jumps back to the present, where Jen is currently dealing with her client, Maise, and an enormous goo monster. It turns out Maise is not the only tenant of her building that is a little odd. All of them chase Jen up to the roof to confront her, saying that they are safe in this building with this monster to protect them. It is a great way to parallel Jen’s current struggle. Being She-Hulk used to feel safe for her, but now that’s gone.

Mariko Tamaki has taken Jen on a fascinating journey since the end of the Civil War storyline, and it’s also a realistic one. While we may not have to deal with giant goo monsters in the real world, there is still trauma and hardship. Even people who are typically happy, confident and optimistic can suffer a tragedy that leaves them fractured. It can be hard to pick up those pieces, even for someone with super powers. Throughout the entire issue, Jen is trying to convince other people that everything is fine—that she is fine, that the world is safe, that there is hope—but her words are hollow, and everyone knows it. Sometimes the right thing to do is admit when you’re not okay, and Jen finally reaches that moment in this issue.

Unfortunately, that comes with some devastating consequences when you’re the Hulk.

Every inch of Hulk #5 is stunning, thanks to the team of Nico Leon, Matt Milla and Andrew Crossley. But there is one page that stands out to me. When Maise and the other tenants confront Jen on the roof of their building, the walls are covered with subtle moments of sadness. It is easy to miss if you are not taking the time to look, but it is incredibly powerful to see. Depression and fear are not always big moments, they can be small and difficult to notice at first glance.

Hulk continues to be an important story to tell, and I applaud the entire team’s dedication to its difficult and delicate subject matter. I only wish I didn’t have to wait another month to see what happens next!

*Images taken from Marvel’s Hulk #5

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