The Call To Action
Episode 1 of She-Hulk: Attorney At Law starts with Jennifer being told how amazing she is at her job, following an impassioned speech to her colleagues about power and civic duty. Jen is preparing a speech for a big court case; she’s actually been handpicked to go against GLK and she’s well on her way to becoming a district attorney.
We then jump back and see exactly what’s led up to this point. Specifically, how Jen is actually part of the Hulk family. She’s Bruce’s cousin, and they head off on a road-trip together. Suddenly, a strange ship (which we later learn is Sakaaran in origin) appears and both Bruce and Jennifer crash their car and begin bleeding out.
After saving Bruce from the car, Jen pulls her cousin to safety but there’s a problem. Jen cut her arm getting out the car and Bruce is also bleeding. That blood gets inside Jen’s cut and as a result, she gains powers.
As she rushes away, guttural screams echoing through the forest, Jen stumbles into a nearby rest-stop where a bunch of women start doing her makeup and getting her patched up. When she’s harassed by a bunch of men outside – a direct juxtaposition to the caring women – she gets angry and turns into She-Hulk. Before she can strike, Jen is saved by her cousin, who brings her off to a secluded cabin.
They’re in Mexico, in a beach house lab that Tony Stark actually built him several years back. Bruce explains that during the blip he was working in seclusion here. As Jen takes a look around, Bruce Banner explains how they’re different. Jen then questions Hulk’s smugness calling himself Smart Hulk.
Banner tells Jen she needs to control her Hulk form, explaining that this is a multi-year journey to come to terms with her condition. That is, until she turns into She-Hulk and Banner learns that there’s no alter-ego inside her, she’s just strong… because. Apparently it’s all settled in now but she begrudgingly agrees to let Bruce teach her.
Now, the crux of their conversation centers on Jen being worried she may not be able to transform back into human form. Only, the next scene she’s… in her human form.
Banner starts teaching her the crucial tactics needed to take this seriously, but of course she doesn’t. In fact, this is where we get that montage we saw in the trailer, only this time Banner beats Jen with the boulder throwing and Jen mocks him by growling “men!” repeatedly.
The pair do eventually head back to the bar and drink, complete with a whole litany of belches for good measure. Still, Jen refuses to be a superhero and calls Banner a cautionary tale. She doesn’t want to stick around and apparently a jeep can stop Hulk, as he flies backwards and tumbles through some rocks when she puts her foot down on the accelerator.
The two Hulks eventually fight but when Jen breaks the bar, they’re forced to fix it back up again. Eventually Jen decides to go back to her old life, calling Bruce wrong and having never Hulked out since.
This brings us back into the present, as Jen stands up and prepares her closing statement in court. This is the same one she was practicing at the start of the episode. However, a supervillain called Titania heads in and begins smashing the place up. Jen is forced to transform and save the day – which she does without an issue – before nonchalantly turning back into human form and telling the Judge she’s ready to give her closing statement.
The Episode Review
Wonky CGI aside, She-Hulk: Attorney At Law is a bit of a mess. Jennifer Walters’ character is certainly quirky and there are some nice elements here, including the attempt to bring in a sitcom-esque style to the MCU. Those parts are certainly a nice inclusion, although the comedy is still hit or miss. However, there two distinct problems with this series that really stand out.
The first, comes from the male characters and belittling of men. This trend has been a common occurrence recently but She-Hulk is all over that like a rash. Every single male character is either belittled or made out to be a horrible character – including heroes that aren’t even on screen – in order to elevate Jen’s She-Hulk.
Whether it be the juxtaposition between the women inside the restroom being super caring while the men belittle her outside, or Dennis in the courtroom, all the way across to Banner himself – they’re all simply here to elevate Jennifer Walters’ character.
The problem is, there’s nothing to elevate because Jen’s character is basically a Mary Sue. For those unaware, a Mary sue is a fictional character portrayed as unrealistically free of weaknesses. Now, this may change later on down the line but so far there have been absolutely no weaknesses shown for Jen, unless you count her impatience and unwillingness to be a superhero as flaws. She may not be stronger than Bruce (given the boulder throwing) but she is better than him in every other sense.
What the MCU have done with Hulk’s character is such a shame. She-Hulk could have been a great inclusion to the MCU, complete with bulging muscles and a towering frame, but instead we get Smart Hulk who can shrug off bullets and stop a behemoth rampaging through New York…but can’t stop a jeep from driving into him?
There is some promise here and a possibility that the show evolves into portraying Jen’s nonchalance as a big flaw, something she needs to get over and become humble, embracing this superhero shtick and respecting male and female alike but based on this first episode, this one gets off to a rather rocky start.