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Hulk #1

Writer Mariko Tamaki
Artist Nico Leon
Color Artist Matt Milla
Published by Marvel Comic

2016 was a rough year. Regardless of your politics, this was an ugly election season. Someone killed fifty people in a Florida nightclub. We’re never getting another Prince song, or a Bowie song, or a George Michael song. And now we’ve lost Leia. None of us are watching the Ball drop Saturday night without wincing a little bit at our scars.

So let’s end the year by checking in with a woman who might have had it worse than you. Jennifer Walters lost her smart Charles Soule lawyer book last year and her feisty A-Force team book earlier this year. Thanos put her in a coma, and when she woke up, her friend Hawkeye had killed her cousin, the Incredible Hulk.

This book is about how she’s choosing to start over.

She’s dropped the “She” from “She-Hulk,” taking the name back just like Thor, Hawkeye, and Captain Marvel have. She’s gone back to work in a good law firm, still handling weird cases but maybe a little less wacky than Dan Slott or Charles Soule had in mind for her. And she’s trying so hard not to get angry. That means trying to lose herself in the anonymous New York crowd. That means smiling at the kind-but-thoughtless comments from people who think they know her. That means a cheerful internal monologue… but that also means a harsh rebuttal.

Because it’s nice to hear that everything’s going to be okay. But it’s not. Not really. And Jenn knows that. As she explains to a client, good lawyers don’t promise to win cases. Good lawyers promise to do their best, and then they do, and maybe they win.

This book is a beautiful meditation on trauma and recovery. There’s no punching, but the internal tension keeps the reader on the edge, scanning for green. And along the way, we get a model about how to grieve our year. It might not be okay next year; it wasn’t okay this year. But we’re going to do our best, and we’re going to take care of ourselves, and we’re going to take care of each other.

Ultimate Comics has Hulk #1 with two variant covers. You’re going to love it. Come on down and send this dumpster fire of a year off in style. And let’s start over together.

-MATT CONNER for Ultimate Comics