Green Genes: She-Hulk vs The Hulk

The tale of the tape on Peter David’s Green Goliaths past and present

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SHE-HULK #23
cover by
Mike Deodato

By Ben Morse For years, mention of the name "Peter David" conjured up immediate images of Marvel's raging emerald behemoth, the Hulk, but these days the writer would prefer to be linked to the jade giant's shapelier and markedly friendlier cousin as the new monthly scribe on SHE-HULK (Peter—and Marvel.com—would also like you to remember that he writes X-FACTOR, also monthly, but that's a story for another day). Now nearly a decade removed from his legendary 11-year run writing INCREDIBLE HULK, David has thrown himself into Shulkie's adventures with renewed vigor alongside artist Shawn Moll.

Peter David's
INCREDIBLE HULK
featuring the Pantheon

In their first issue, David and Moll apparently had Shulkie alter ego Jen Walters suffer a broken neck at the hands of the Absorbing Man in her new gig as a bounty hunter—and survive the experience! Even more shocking: with Jen out of action, She-Hulk still emerged from nearby to continue the fight! Those mysteries will be answered on November 21 when SHE-HULK #23 smashes onto stands, but in the meantime, we ran She-Hulk up against David's seminal moments on INCREDIBLE HULK in several key categories to get an idea what the writer has in store for the Savage, Sensational She-Hulk. POWER & SKILLS THE HULK While he hadn't quite reached Sentry-shattering "World War Hulk" levels of brute force yet, those who got on the bad side of Bruce Banner's monstrous alter ego during David's INCREDIBLE HULK tenure couldn't afford to sneeze at the beast—because if he sneezed back it caused a sonic boom. Over David's 11 years, the Hulk fluctuated from his classic savage green form, able to carry billions of tons and leap thousands of miles, to a less powerful but still formidable gray incarnation, to an intelligent green version between the two—but with the added

SHE-HULK #23
Interior Art by
Shawn Moll

leverage of a big ol' gun—and back to savage and crazy strong again. SHE-HULK While not quite as powerful as her cousin, Jen Walters remains a force to be reckoned with in her gamma-irradiated form. Her strength increased significantly recently after training off-world to battle the Champion during SHE-HULK #8 by previous writer Dan Slott. She-Hulk has since settled back down to her usual power levels, but unlike her male counterpart, who spent most of his David-penned adventures on the run, Jen trained in hand-to-hand combat with Captain America during her time as an Avenger and thus possesses formidable fighting skills to draw on as a bounty hunter—yes, she could kick Boba Fett's ass. PERSONALITY THE HULK Prior to being penned by David, the Hulk's persona generally swung between pissed off loner and child-like simpleton. David delved into Banner's fractured psyche several times, the first resulting in irritable Vegas enforcer "Joe Fix-It"—picture Tony Soprano with gray skin and a physique that would make Lou Ferrigno go, "Damn."

SHE-HULK #23
Interior Art by
Shawn Moll

Once he jumped back to the green side of the fence, Bruce regained his considerable intelligence and his personality actually became more confident and carefree, allowing him to actually be social and not get kicked out of the movies (provided he didn't sit in front and block the entire theater). SHE-HULK Aside from a brief "Savage" period early on, She-Hulk has always been more uninhibited than uncontrollable, known as the Marvel Universe's biggest party girl. After spending more time as down-to-earth Jen Walters of late, the glamorous green gal has toned down her act a bit, but not much. As seen in SHE-HULK #22, David's first issue as regular writer, an unseen event recently occurred that has given Shulkie more of an edge and dulled her carefree social tendencies a bit. Said event may also have been what split Jen and She-Hulk into two distinct entities, but we'll have to wait until SHE-HULK #23 to find out. ALTER EGO THE HULK Brilliant physicist Bruce Banner, alter ego of The Hulk, didn't get a lot of screen time during the David era of INCREDIBLE HULK. As "Joe Fix-It," Banner showed up as a counterbalance to the Hulk's boorishness, coming out during the daytime and trying

SHE-HULK #23
Interior Art by
Shawn Moll

to clean up the messes his dark side created at night and also attempting to create new problems that would keep him caged or out of trouble. Upon becoming green and intelligent, Hulk remained in Hulk form permanently, albeit with a kicked-up version of Banner's personality. SHE-HULK Interestingly, Jen Walters had rarely played a prominent role in She-Hulk's adventures over the years, but that changed when Slott took the reins, a trend David looks to continue. Under Slott, Jen worked a full-time job at the prestigious law firm of Goodman, Lieber, Kurtzberg & Holliway, specializing in superhuman law and getting to showcase her brains and wit as opposed to just her muscles and…assets. However, SHE-HULK #22 revealed that aforementioned mysterious incident (okay, just buy SHE-HULK #23 already) had forced Jen out of GLK & H's main branch and into work for their bail bonds affiliate Freeman Bonding Inc. SUPPORTING CAST THE HULK With David pulling the strings, The Hulk's supporting cast swelled to its largest ever and featured a number of characters new and old who flourished outside INCREDIBLE HULK—as well as a couple never seen again who may or may not have been replaced by Skrulls (them's the breaks). While in Vegas, "Joe Fix-It" became more than friends with the vivacious Marlo, who would later become longtime Hulk sidekick Rick Jones' betrothed after Banner got his smarts back and reconciled with

SHE-HULK #23
Interior Art by
Shawn Moll

wife Betty. During his later years on the book, David created the Pantheon, an organization of long-lived warriors who took their names from the heroes of Greek myth which Hulk took control of for a time before the group fell apart and vanished into obscurity. SHE-HULK The Jade Giantess got her first legitimate supporting cast beyond the other Avengers courtesy of Dan Slott when he re-launched SHE-HULK in 2004. Jen shared the hallowed hallways of GLK & H with quirky mentor Holden Holliway, roommate and would-be love interest Augustus "Pug" Pugliese, arrogant rival attorney Mallory Book and Awesome Andy, a reprogrammed Mad Thinker android who served as an office worker, among others. Time-lost cowboy and Avenger Two-Gun Kid joined the unorthodox "family" after Jen won his freedom during a time travel case. With SHE-HULK #22, David jettisoned Shulkie's entire support network, with her only shoulder to lean on now apparently and inexplicably none other than Jen Walters. ENEMIES THE HULK The hyper-intelligent leader and freakishly strong Abomination, both products of the same gamma radiation that birthed The Hulk, have always stood heads above (and in Leader's case that's one big freakin' head) the rest of Big Green's rogues gallery. David showed great affinity for the Leader early on in his INCREDIBLE HULK opus, but later fazed him out and rarely used the Abomination. David did create new challenges for his protagonist, like alien warriors the Troyjan and rogue Pantheon

SHE-HULK:
Now you're playing
with power!

leader Agamemmnon, but his crowning achievement in new villainy had to be the Maestro, a tyrannical Hulk from a possible future co-created with artist George Perez in the HULK: FUTURE IMPERFECT mini-series. SHE-HULK When it comes to archfoes, She-Hulk draws the short end of the gamma rod, generally going up against menaces carried over from her days with the Avengers and Fantastic Four or borrowed from other Marvel heroes. However, one Marvel Universe baddie considers tormenting poor Jen to be her life's goal, and that's Titania. Unfortunately for our heroine, Titania's one of the few female gladiators who can nearly match her in strength. David brought Titania back into Jen's life in SHE-HULK #22, along with her equally crooked husband, the Absorbing Man. Still at microscopic size from their last battle, Titania slipped into She-Hulk's ear to mess with her equilibrium while her hubbie did the damage on the outside, breaking Jen Walters' neck along the way. What does Peter David have planned next for She-Hulk and Jen Walters? If you weren't already planning on snagging SHE-HULK #23, in stores November 21, get your head examined and hit the comic shop!

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