In this review of Sensational She-Hulk #1, Rainbow Rowell continues her story of Jennifer Walters finding herself with new friends and new love.
Sensational She-Hulk (2023) #1
Written By: Rainbow Rowell
Art By: Andrés Genolet
Main Cover By: Jen Bartel
Variant Covers By: Adi Granov, Skottie Young, Adam Hughes, Mirka Andolfo, Leirix Li, Rian Gonzales, Lucas Werneck, and Gisele Legace
Page Count: 36 Pages
Release Date: October 18, 2023
Note: This Review Contains Spoilers
When we left things in She-Hulk #15, She-Hulk and the Punch Club fought off a horde of aliens that was hellbent on destroying New York City. Jack of Hearts also assisted by absorbing the energy of the nuclear bomb that the Scoundrel planted. Before leaving, Jack, completely filled with radiation, gave Jen a huge kiss, before flying off into space. It was seemingly the end of Jen’s adventure. But as series editor Nick Lowe stated, “Punch Club 4-eva!” This leads us to Sensational She-Hulk #1.
Sensational She-Hulk #1 – The Story
Sensational She-Hulk #1 picks some time after the events of the last run. Jack and Jen and loving one each other and the Punch Club is still a thing. However, Rowell presents a Jennifer Walters who is more comfortable and confident with herself. The smiles Andrés Genolet creates in the first few pages of the issue look more sincere than any I’ve seen on She-Hulk in a while. And I say this as someone who has read a lot of She-Hulk in his time. As Jen heads to the office, she does She-Hulk things. But as you read Rowell’s words in the panels, the confidence level is high. This is definitely due to her being in a different type of love with Jack…
***Sidebar statement***Thank goodness to all that is well and good. Any relationship is better than whatever that was She-Hulk had with Thor.***End sidebar statement***
More positive things exist in She-Hulk’s world. Mallory Book is no longer Jen Walter’s boss. She’s now Jen Walter’s legal partner at the law offices of Book & Walters. While this is all fine and dandy, the most important thing in these pages is Mallory’s and Andy’s relationship is out in the open. The panel of those two gazing (the best Andy can) into each other’s eyes is something I never expected in all my years of reading anything concerning Mallory Book. While this is a concern in Jen’s thoughts, I frankly want more of this. Mallory continues to evolve under Rainbow Rowell’s pen.
Can We Just fight?
The Punch Club continues to do Punch Club things. Sensational She-Hulk #1 presents a new pickle, however – unwanted tension. Carl Creel, the Absorbing Man, wants to join his wife in the club. Ben Grimm is having none of it considering his history with Titania’s husband. If you focus on the back and forth too much, however, you miss something. As Ben and Mary argue over which significant others could participate in the club, Jen makes a somewhat concerning statement – Jack isn’t her significant other. They are not into labels. One would have to wonder if Jack shares the same thoughts.
Things don’t get quite better once Jack arrives to join in the Punch Club fun as well. Absorbing Man quickly attacks his fellow newbie. In the end, everyone leaves in an awkward manner. Initially, Jack is oblivious to Jen’s demeanor, but quickly realizes something’s wrong when she just tells him she’ll see him later at home. The look says it all and Jack flies away.
What Up, Cuz…
Jen doesn’t have much time to sulk in her feelings. As she walks down the street, a voice in the alley catches her attention. It’s her cousin Bruce Banner – the Incredible Hulk.
I haven’t been keeping up with what’s going on in the pages of Phillip Kennedy Johnson’s run. I’m away that Bruce has been having it out with the heroes again. I’m not certain if I need to read up with it to follow along. Issue #2 hopefully will tell us more.
It took me a minute to come around to Rowell’s handling of She-Hulk when her run first begin. I struggled to grasp her pace. I also had a hard understanding where she was trying to take the character. Jen suffered a lot creatively in The Avengers run. Yet, being the fan I am, I kept the bar high when the first issue was release. By the time issue #15 released, Rowell had me hooked. In fact, the entire creative team did.
I like Rowell’s approach in picking up Jen’s story. Some time has passed. Yet time hasn’t passed too much for the characters (and the readers) to forget the events of the previous run. Hopefully, this also means that we might get some answer left opened at the end of #15. Will the Scoundrel make a return? What about the aliens who hired him?
While things might seem confusing for new readers, it shouldn’t be hard to catch up. It seems Rowell’s story piggybacks off the last arc only. Definitely take advantage of the editor’s notes as there is at least one to point readers in the right direction.
Artistic-wise, I saw Andrés Genolet’s art as the weakest of the artists on the title when he first came aboard in issue #11. Needless to say, I am happy he’s staying aboard in the new run. His pencils along with colors from Dee Cunniffe have maintained the vividness that has followed the series from the start. Here’s hoping they stick around for the long run.
Readers were also treated to a back-up story from Jessica Gao, the showrunner from the Disney+ series. Gao presented a nice, short feature with Jen supposedly doing a favor for her dad and showing a friend’s son a day in the life of superheroing. Unfortunately, she finds out that this is the wrong friend’s kid. He wanted to shadow her as a lawyer, not Hulk mode.
All in all, Sensational She-Hulk #1 does a great job in picking things up right where the previous run left off. Like other fans, it concerned me when I didn’t see an issue #16 solicited. But I’m happy for the reason why. It is also great having the original team from the final arc back together for the new series. For those who followed the first run, it feels like it never ended. For new readers, there is not a lot lost if you want to catch up. I’m just happy my favorite green bombshell is back.
Enjoy this review of The Sensational She-Hulk #1? Find more reviews here. Want to own a copy & support The Comic Book Spot? You can do so by purchasing this issue digitally on Comixology through Amazon or a physical copy of the title through Things From Another World.