(She) Hulk 2016 was the second wave of the Marvel Now initiative. 2012 started the first wave. It was a relaunch and not a reboot. Marvel used it to change up series with new characters, new costumes and more important: new creative teams.
I always liked Jennifer Walters a.k.a the She-Hulk. I was introduced to her by the Hulk cartoon series. She is the cousin of Bruce Banner, and she was badly injured. He gave her a blood infusion with his own blood and the She Hulk was born. Polar opposite to her cousin, Jennifer could control her transformations and enjoyed her life as the She-Hulk. So much so that she hardly changed. She became a successful lawyer and joined many of the Marvel teams. As the title suggests, Jennifer got deconstructed in 2015.
After suffering two traumatic events after Civil War II, Jennifer Walters tries to rebuild her life. Mentioning these two events will spoil you, so I’ll keep those to myself until the end of the review for those who want to know more.
Where she once was carefree and full of self esteem, she now is suffering from PTSD and depression. She no longer can change at will. The transformation hurts, she no longer can control herself and she is grey, just like the first Hulk.
Reconstructed follows her as she tries to rebuild her life and tries to cope with what happened. She gets a job at the law firm Ryu, Barber, Zucker & Scott. They mainly deal with super-powered people. One of her first clients is Maise Brewn, a woman who is being evicted because she has powers. Before her change, she was a yoga instructor. Her partner ordered a hit on her, because she objected to selling the business.
While recovering, the Terrigen Mist hit the world and she changed. The Terrigan Mist is what made the Inhumans and they unleashed it on Earth, creating many new super-powered people. In the mean time, mysterious murders start around the block she lives in. Jennifer now has to deal with this case, while trying to deal with her own trauma.
Before the trauma Jennifer Walters was fully in control and loved how she empowered she was as She-Hulk. The series before this did a great job fleshing out that part of her. Now we get a broken Jennifer. She controls her rage by watching cooking videos.
I am no stranger myself to mental issues and how to cope with them. It’s hard countering negative emotions and to keep positive. In my opinion Mariko Tamaki’s writing does a good job displaying those feelings. The world will always keep spinning, people will live their lives and nothing changes that. It’s hard to keep yourself standing while the world moves on and you have to deal with it.
Nico Leon is the artist and his work mirrors the writing. The world of Jennifer Walters looks like our world, nut with a splash of colour in the form of superpowers.
Spoiler alert for those interested: you have to do a little homework to understand some of the things in this series. I mentioned the Terrigan Mist, but also the conclusion of Civil War II where a certain baddie leaves Jennifer nearly dead and in a coma. And the killing of her cousin Bruce Banner by an Avenger breaks her, especially how the people vilify Bruce Banner and praise the one who killed him.
I am very glad I picked up this series, it gives new life to an already great character who was always underrated.
+ Great story and themes: building yourself up after you have been broken.
+ The artwork really reflects the tone of the series.
+ Everyone loves a good murder mystery.
+ The appearance of Patsy Walker, Jennifer’s BFF.
– Marvel has cancelled the series in 2018, Mariko Tamaki got to finish up her story line and that’s it.
– Not the easiest subject mater, it can be confrontational.
– You have to do some homework to understand everything and there are spoilers.