She-Hulk was one of the many, many Marvel Studios shows teased by Disney+ as coming in the next few years. Tatiana Maslany will play lawyer Jennifer Walters, who transforms into the heroic Jade Giantess. But since the character has never appeared in live-action before, many casual fans are unfamiliar with the ins and out of She-Hulk lore. Is she just a female version of the Hulk? Well, there are many ways in which Jen Walters is very much like her famous cousin Bruce Banner, and many ways in which she is not. Here are all the ways She-Hulk stands apart from her “always angry” male counterpart.
Different Origin Stories
The Hulk got his powers via a terrible accident involving gamma radiation. Back in the Hulk’s first issue in 1962, Dr. Bruce Banner was caught in the wake of a gamma bomb explosion on a test site, which transformed him into the Hulk whenever he got angry. When it came to She-Hulk, she was intentionally exposed to gamma-irradiated matter, although the circumstances for this were also tragic.
Banner’s cousin Jennifer Walters wasn’t a scientist at all, but instead a successful criminal lawyer. While getting a gangster to testify before witnesses during a trial against his boss, Jennifer was shot by her client’s former cohorts. Only her cousin Bruce had a matching blood type. Despite the risk of his mutated blood, he gave her a blood transfusion. This saved Jennifer’s life, and it also gave her a significant portion of her cousin’s powers.
Casual fans may view the two Hulks’ power sets as identical. They are both big, green behemoths who are pretty invulnerable, and could survive a mountain falling on them. However, there are a few key differences. Bruce Banner is rarely in control when Hulking out, and usually loses his intelligence. There have been stretches of his career when he does retain his mental faculties while in Hulk form, but he almost always reverts to his rampaging, low-intellect incarnation.
She-Hulk’s gamma exposure was a bit more diluted than her cousin’s. She has almost always retained some intellect and control while in her big green persona. She did lose many of her inhibitions though, and become known as a party gal among the superhero set. She-Hulk could party hard in a way that her human self never could.
For a long time, Jen could control her transformations into Hulk form at will, something Bruce could rarely do. Years later, Jennifer started to believe that she couldn’t transform back into her ordinary form. That was discovered to be psychosomatic, linked to her desire to be She-Hulk at all times. In recent years, She-Hulk has begun to lose her intellect more the angrier she gets, just like Bruce. But she also gets stronger and physically bigger as a result.
Emo Hulk vs. Hilarious Hulk
Ever since Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created the Hulk, he hasn’t been much of a barrel of laughs. Most of the humor in an average Incredible Hulk comic book came at the expense of the Jade Giant. His story was the closest Marvel Comics had to a tragedy. But his cousin Jennifer is totally different in this regard.
Ever since the late ‘80s, She-Hulk has regularly found humor in any situation. In fact, the cover to her second series featured her telling the readers that if they didn’t buy her comics, she would to rip up all their X-Men books. She was breaking the fourth wall long before Deadpool.
Smashing vs. Fighting Skills
Bruce’s Hulk is one of the most physically powerful beings in the Marvel universe, and certainly qualifies as the strongest Avenger (sorry Thor). But his usefulness in combat mainly comes from his ability to simply smash through anything; he is not know for any particular fighting skills. Jennifer, on the other hand, received training in combat by the best. Not just her Avengers teammate Captain America, but also that other famous green lady from Marvel, Gamora. Additionally, when Jen trains in her human form, she finds that she becomes stronger when later Hulking out. So far, that’s not a trait her bespectacled cousin Bruce shares.
Loner vs. Team Player
Most MCU fans know the Hulk as a stalwart member of the Avengers; he was a founding member of the team in the comics as well. But he left by the second issue, and didn’t rejoin until after the movies had come out decades later. The only other group Hulk ever belonged to was the original Defenders, which described themselves a “non team.” In other words, working together only in emergencies. He just wasn’t ever really a joiner.
She-Hulk, on the other hand, is a lucky charm for many teams in the Marvel Universe. She’s primarily been a member of the Avengers, but she has also been a key member of the Fantastic Four, the Defenders, and even S.H.I.E.L.D. Once, she even offered to serve as the X-Men’s legal representation. This makes her the complete opposite of her rampaging cousin, who never sticks around any team for long.
Of course, the MCU is famous for changing things up from the comics. We’ll see if this holds true for She-Hulk as well, when her series premieres on Disney+ in 2022.