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She-Hulk #161

by Michael D on January 10, 2018

Writer: Mariko Tamaki
Artist: Jahnoy Lindsay
Colorist: Federico Blee
Publisher: Marvel

            Mariko Tamaki dives deeper into Jennifer Walters psyche to great effect in this month’s She-Hulk #161. Her run on the character has definitely been different compared to past runs. It’s been slow burn with an emphasis on overcoming trauma. Luckily, the PTSD aspect has been handled very well, especially in this issue. Unfortunately, the action and art work aren’t quite up to par with the character work and the issue suffers because of it.

            I’ve always been a fan of the Leader. He is a ridiculous villain who can act as a great foil to Hulk’s brawn. Here, he represents one half of how Jennifer interprets strength, which is through control. That might be either self-control or control over other people and situations. Robyn represents the much more simple representation, the power to crush your enemies. The issue consists almost entirely of the battle between the now hulked-out Robyn and She-Hulk. This battle is more of a battle within Jennifer’s psyche than the physical battle actually happening. She struggles with her new Hulk persona and what true strength means. The main conflict is whether or not she should she give in to Hulk and crush Robyn or keep control.

            The inner conflict is done very well. It is easily the most compelling part of the issue. At one point she even retreats inside her psyche. Hey, I didn’t say it was subtle but it did work. This dream-like segment in particular looks great. Lindsay’s art shined in these parts but it’s a shame to say that it didn’t translate to the rest of the issue. It’s especially disappointing to see the great art sandwiched in-between so-so art. The action lacks any weight, the panels felt flat and Robyn’s character design left a lot to be desired. The action wasn't bad but it wasn't particularly interesting. 

            In the end, Jennifer makes some real character progression, finally coming to a realization about needing help to overcome what she is currently dealing with. The realization is handled well and feels earned.  I was disappointed to hear that Tamaki’s run was coming to a close but I feel as though she has a nice conclusion in store for us.

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