December 1, 2022

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

Noteworthy Issues: Savage She-Hulk #2 (December, 1979)

Jen Walters has to stop a runaway car because she hasn't met a supervillain yet.

The She-Hulk’s first appearance was actually the last time Stan Lee did any superhero creation for quite some time, and it’s a charming little tale involving Jen Walters mostly defending herself against gunmen who somehow do not realize the small women they tried to murder in her hospital bed is also the large green woman that emerges from the bed to attack them.

But Stan and artist John Buscema were only there for the first issue as the series was then picked up by a different writer and penciler, even if inker Chic Stone stuck around.

Issue:  Savage She-Hulk #2, December 1979

Writer:  David Kraft

Artists:  Mike Vosburg and Chic Stone

The Plot:  Mobster Nick Trask hasn’t given up on silencing attorney Jen Walters, but the Savage She-Hulk has other problems.

Commentary:  Remember what I said above about how charming the Stan Lee-penned origin story was?  Well, apparently, someone figured it needed more of that patented Marvel tragic backstory because that comes along with this second issue.

One of the things I noticed in this issue was how the series was actually giving Jen Walters a supporting cast full of characters I can’t say I had ever heard of before.  To be fair, most of my exposure to the She-Hulk comes from her various times in the Avengers, and some of the character’s trademarks, like the ability to break the fourth wall and argue with the writers while being a more comedic sort of character, haven’t kicked in yet.  All that is coming, to be sure, but it hasn’t happened yet.  Instead, this is still something of a standard superhero story with the noteworthy exception to the fact there aren’t really any supervillains on display.  I am sure they are coming, but instead this issue gives Jen the aforementioned supporting cast.  There’s her father the local sheriff.  Her next door neighbor is the doctor whose office Bruce Banner used to give Jen that gamma-irradiated blood transfusion where he apparently lives with his wife and mustachioed adult son Zapper, and then there’s Jen’s good friend Jill, who might be into magazine publishing but has nothing better to do than drive her friend around all day as Jen is still apparently healing from that bullet wound.  Jen even has her own J Jonah Jameson in the form of misogynistic assistant DA Dennis “Buck” Bukowski, a nemesis in court who will swear to bring the She-Hulk in for something that isn’t even the She-Hulk’s fault.

By the by…I kinda hope Zapper isn’t supposed to be a love interest for Jen.  His look has…not aged well.  Let’s just leave it at that, and the look also is what makes me think I know why he still seems to be living with his parents.

However, as Jen is still building her case against Trask, he sends people to sabotage the breaks of her car, but when Jill decides to use it to go pick up some paperwork, it’s up to the She-Hulk to stop the fast moving car before Jill gets killed.  Jen just needs to knock Zapper out as she transforms for…some reason.

Cripes, the She-Hulk has the worst secret identity in comics if she keeps changing form in front of other people that somehow never figure out the two characters are the same woman.

But I hope you, hypothetical reader, can see what I mean by a standard superhero story without the villains.  Jen has gamma-powered strength and speed, but rather than fight other monsters, her first mission seems to be gunmen running away from her and her second is a speeding car with no brakes.  In point of fact, the image from the cover does come up as she pushes a bus to block traffic just for the purposes of catching the speeding car in order to save Jill’s life, a task she could have easily accomplished were it not for Buck Bukowski, thinking he was somehow saving Jen’s life since it was Jen’s car, ramming She-Hulk in the leg at the exact right time to cause She-Hulk to miss the car, causing the car to plummet over the side of the highway overpass they were all on to Jill’s death.

Yes, it can’t be a Marvel book without the hero feeling extreme guilt over an unprevented tragedy, and like other Marvel heroes who have that, Jen still somehow thinks it’s her fault despite the fact she didn’t ram herself in the leg.  And naturally, Bukoswki also thinks She-Hulk is responsible.

Now, granted, She-Hulk’s intelligence level is still a little vague at this point.  She can speak in complete sentences, but the series hasn’t quite established yet how much of her personality is still Jen Walters and how much of it is something else as is the case of Bruce Banner.  But this is some advancement, and I am still curious to see where it goes from here.  The series managed to retain the simple, Silver Age charm of the first issue, so that may be something to observe going forward if nothing else to see how long that lasts.

Grade:  B-

%d bloggers like this: