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She-Hulk: Attorney at Law
Witty, smart, irreverent, and eloquently biting, She-Hulk proves there's still life in Marvel after all this time.
Just when you think Marvel is getting all repetitive, they go and make something like this. Led by Rick & Morty alumnus Jessica Gao, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is the kind of raucous, horny, and poignantly funny series I didn’t expect Marvel to have in them. And yet, here we are. Four episodes into the nine-part Disney Plus series, She-Hulk might be the most daring Kevin Feige’s dream factory has produced so far.
Led by the hilarious Tatiana Maslany, it’s a series knowingly at war with itself. Jennifer Walters, She-Hulk herself, wants it to be something between Ally McBeal and Law & Order. The universe, especially that pesky sacred timeline thing, has other plans. So, in between venting directly at the audience, Walters has no choice but to adjust to a new Hulk-centric lifestyle. This includes dating while green, running a law division for the supernatural, and getting the toxic dudebro culture to take you seriously. Especially as they double down on your gender and superhero persona.
One of the things Marvel does so well, be that in comics or films, is how it talks of the mundane through the fantastical. Meaning, that big problems are really about small problems. Peter Parker is perpetually broke. Tony Stark is an alcoholic. Ant-Man is ridiculous.
For Walters, that problem touches upon half the planet. It, as the song ominously says, is a man’s world. And boy howdy do the men know it. Between dodging the snippy comments from her toxic co-workers and the cat-calling on the street, Walters must contend with a fandom led by a vocal chorus of man-babies.
In one of the funniest moments of the series, her reveal results in a montage of hysterically crying Youtubers and keyboard warriors screaming about why there has to be a woman Hulk now.
“You just gotta avoid situations that are scary and stressful,” Banner hulksplains.
“Great,” Walters sighs, “the two most common sensations women live with every day.”
Make no mistake, She-Hulk is funny, but it’s not here to take prisoners. It’s a show that’s going to make you uncomfortable as it makes you laugh.
Beyond social criticism, She-Hulk is intensely refreshing because it refuses to build towards something bigger. This is self-contained, for now, and the episodic nature lends itself perfectly to the material. There’s a “case-of-the-week” tone to everything, only now the cases have flying demons and a rogue Wong.
Yeah, Wong’s back, and the show can’t help but rib itself for the inclusion. “He’s like a Twitter shield for a week”, Walters quips.
Future episodes tease more character reveals, which Walters pre-emptively confides to the viewer. You get the sense the series tries to have its cake and all that. But, then again, Deadpool did the same thing, so it would be more than unfair to be upset now.
Yes, you could complain about some of the iffy effects and how not all the jokes land. (A few clunkers probably read better in the writer's room.) But they’re minor quibbles at this point. Instead, let’s celebrate what we have. A comic Marvel series that isn’t afraid to be unapologetic about what it is.
It’s not speaking for everyone, either. It doesn’t need to. This voice belongs to Jennifer. Warts and all. If it makes you upset, maybe it’s because she might be out of line, but she’s not wrong.