Review: The Savage She-Hulk #1

The Savage She-Hulk #1 cover
Cover by John Buscema

The Savage She-Hulk #1
Published and © by Marvel, February 1980

Title: “The She-Hulk Lives”
Synopsis: When henchmen gun down lawyer Jennifer Walters, cousin Bruce Banner saves her life with a “surprisingly” transformative blood transfusion.

Writer: Stan Lee
Penciler: John Buscema
Inker: Chic Stone

Review: According to this issue’s “Bullpen Bulletins,” Savage She-Hulk #1 was Marvel headman Stan Lee’s first new comic since 1972. (Of course, this was lost on this reviewer at age nine, since every new Marvel comic carried the “Stan Lee presents” tagline.) At this point in his career, Lee was more of a character himself than a writer, but his storytelling chops are still mostly intact. He gives She-Hulk a decent origin story – though one marred by coincidence and logic leaps. John Buscema’s work here is just OK; his drawing is solid but his storytelling is rather bland.

Grade: B-

Second opinion: “Whereas Spider-Woman has managed to rise above its derivative origins, She-Hulk remained as embarrassing as its concept is.” – David W. Cutler, FantaCo’s Chronicle’s Series Annual #1, 1983 … “(John Buscema’s) heart didn’t seem to be in it.” – Pierre Comtois, “Marvel Comics in the 1980s: An Issue By Issue Field Guide to a Pop Culture Phenomenon” 2014 … “Competent.” – The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide (second edition), 2003

Cool factor: Stan Lee does a good job of infusing She-Hulk with some potential – especially given she’s a derivative character.
Not-so-cool factor: What kind of idiot gives a loved one an infusion of his own gamma-irradiated blood? And Bruce Banner is supposed to be a smart guy?

Notable: First appearance of She-Hulk. … Topped the “TCR Top 100 Comic Books” sales list in The Comic Reader #177, February 1980.

Character quotable: “You called me a She-Hulk! And a She-Hulk I’ll be!” – A recently transformed Jennifer Walters, making Marvel’s trademark lawyers very happy

Editor’s note: This review was originally published by Comics Bronze Age on March 24, 2010.

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