For all the talk of Civil War II’s effect on the Marvel Universe, one major aspect has been overlooked. Civil War II is having a MAJOR impact on Marvel’s Hulk properties.
The series kicked off with a vision of Thanos attacking Earth. In the effort to stop The Mad Titan, War Machine is killed. The death is the catalyst for Civil War’s primary conflict. Iron Man and Captain Marvel choose opposing sides on what to do about an Inhuman who can see the future.
Jennifer Walters, the Sensational She-Hulk is left comatose in the attack as well. The premiere issue ends with her flat-lining and hanging to life by a thread. When we see her again in Civil War II #4, Jen’s completely changed. No longer bright green, her skin is a dull gray marred with glowing green scars. And she is pissed.
It’s understandable, though. Her cousin, Bruce Banner, has been assassinated. Banner has been cured of The Hulk for sometime. In story, Amadeus Cho drained Banner’s cells of the Gamma Radiation poisoning his body. Cho took on the radiation himself, and has since been the “Totally Awesome Hulk”. Cho’s series has focused on his concerns that he may one day lose control of his Hulk. In The Totally Awesome Hulk #8, Bruce tells Cho it won’t happen. Bruce’s Hulk was a reflection of the darker aspects of his personality, and Cho didn’t have those.
Later that month, in Civil War II #3, the Inhuman Ulysses had a vision of Bruce Banner Hulking out and causing mass murder. Iron Man and Captain Marvel agree to confront Banner to stave off the massacre. As Banner becomes more and more stressed, though, an arrow flies through the air. Hawkeye, perched in a tree and of his own accord, assassinates Banner. He claims he saw his eyes flicker green. He claims no one but him was capable of seeing it.
The Jen we see in Civil War II #4 has just found out that Hawkeye not only assassinated Banner, but is found not guilty at trial. The arrow was designed by Banner himself. Banner had asked Clint to kill him because he was the only one who could live with it afterwards. We already saw how Cho dealt with the loss in Totally Awesome Hulk #9, when he talks down a SHIELD assault team, then mocks them.
But Jen might be having a more profound way of dealing with this. In an interview with The AV Club, Marvel just announced she’s getting a new on-going series, simply titled Hulk and landing in December. By Mariko Tamaki (Skin, TMNT: Casey and April) and Nico Leon (Spider-Man, All-New Inhumans) the new series promises to address Jen’s PTSD and the struggle with her cousin’s death. It’s an interesting development. We’ve seen comic characters increasingly deal with real world problems like PTSD over the years. How does a Hulk deal with it though?
Most notable though is what a year it’s shaping up for Marvel’s Hulk franchise. Banner’s death is a key turning point for Civil War II. Amadeus Cho’s on-going presumably continues, and he’s a headliner in Marvel’s much hyped Champions series. And now She-Hulk, no stranger to series’ herself, gets a new on-going. This is all just before Hulk jumps over to Thor’s side of the MCU for Thor: Ragnarok, which is expected to incorporate elements of the highly regarded Planet Hulk saga.
She-Hulk’s previous series’ were met with near universal acclaim and are regarded as classics. Sadly, the sales numbers never really seemed to support that, leading inevitably to cancellation. With it’s new take and Marvel focusing on it’s Hulk properties, could this be Jen’s time to shine? We’ll have to wait to find out when Hulk #1 drops in December.