Short Box: The Savage She-Hulk Omnibus


The Savage She-Hulk Omnibus HC

Release: Apr 20, 2022

Cover: Apr 2022

The trend continues with another comic – or collection of comics – that I’m not particularly wowed by.

She-Hulk has been one of my favorite characters for over 40 years. Loved her second series, really like her current series, and have mostly enjoyed the runs she’s had in between. Loved her in the Avengers, loved her in the FF. I had some minor quibbles with the show, but overall I loved her in her Disney+ series.

So as I read through this collection of her first series, I still love her, I’m just not that fond of the book she finds herself in.

I only ever had one issue of this series back when it was still on the stands – #19 – and while it seems like somewhere along the line I read #6, as it seemed familiar, I really only know Shulkie through her appearances in other books, having really gotten to know her in Avengers.

I’ve previously read the first issue, which was written by Stan Lee, and was exactly what you would expect a comic written* by Stan in 1980 – for the purposes of securing a trademark on a character, as there had been some concern that CBS might be introducing a woman Hulk on The Incredible Hulk – so I had higher hopes for the non-Stan issues that followed.

One of the biggest problems with it so far – I’m only part of the way through – is that everyone in the cast outside of Jen herself is…kind of awful? I mean, Zapper is an okay guy, I guess, despite the hairdo and pornstache, but everyone else is just kind of…there, with no real personality other than being kind of antagonistic towards everyone else.

But speaking of Jen, it’s clear that the writer doesn’t fully have a handle on who she is, in either form, and she is in many ways very different from the Jen that I got to know not long after this series ended.

But by far the biggest problem is in the way events unfold. It seems silly to ask for verisimilitude in a comic about a woman who turns into a bigger, green, super-strong version of herself as the result of a transfusion of gamma-irradiated blood, but there are limits to how much cartoon logic is acceptable. this book constantly has me saying, “That’s not how anything works.” Even back then I would have been rolling my eyes.

Add in Three’s Company-style miscommunications and characters lacking any sort of common sense and it makes for a frustrating debut for one of my favorite characters.

John Buscema provided the art on the first issue, and I wish he’d continued on. Vosburg’s work is serviceable, but he seems to be shooting for a John Buscema-esque Marvel house style, but lands somewhere closer to Sal Buscema, which would be good except that he misses the mark there, too. At times it brings to mind the later work of Carmine Infantino, of which I was never a fan.

Still, it’s interesting to go back and see the early days of one of my favorites, and I’ll close out with a couple of letters written in by readers.

I definitely wouldn’t go that far, but I don’t totally disagree based on what I’ve seen, though with the benefit of hindsight, I know how great she really is.
See how unoriginal the incels who, unaware of Shulkie’s existence prior to the Disney+ show, were when they were complaining about the MCU becoming the MSheU? Pretty sure I saw this same line used a couple of times in Twitter rants about the show.

*”Written” by Stan Lee.
I imagine the process went something like:
Stan Lee: (Calling John Buscema) John! We need a lady Hulk! Make a comic about her!
John Buscema: Okay, Stan. (Proceeds to plot and draw the first issue, leaving notes in the margins for Stan.)
Stan Lee: (Writes dialogue based on Buscema’s notes) I’ve done it again!

Born and raised in the sparsely populated Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Jon Maki developed an enduring love for comics at an early age.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *