HULK #7 shows us how Jennifer Walters deals with the consequences of the second Marvel Civil War. In the aftermath of “Civil War II” and the death of her cousin, Bruce Banner, Jennifer has been changed fundamentally. Rather than the bright green, fully articulate She-Hulk, Jennifer is now gray, aggressive, and simple-minded. Jennifer is now the Hulk. Caution: there will be spoilers ahead!

Support Groups and Hulk Coups

In HULK #7, we find Jennifer having a riveting Friday night — sitting in a trauma support group in a church’s basement. As one man describes a date gone wrong, Jennifer thinks only about how this isn’t too much different from what superheroes do. Just sitting around, talking about their problems and how it affects them. Oh yeah, and how the coffee sucks.

Image from HULK #7. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

READ: Want to get into the Hulk? Check out our essential reading guide!

Lawyering Up

On the plus side, Jennifer at least uses her knowledge of the law in order to make sure she Hulks out safely. While her new Hulk persona may be more savage than what she’s used to, Jennifer still thinks like a lawyer. She’s still rational and has people’s best interests at mind. In HULK #7, she doesn’t put anyone in harm’s way or cause financial destruction. Instead, she goes to a client’s abandoned construction site.

Image from HULK #7. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

When Hellcat finds Jennifer, the two have a quaint heart-to-heart. Jennifer confides in Patsy that although she’s been She-Hulk her entire superhero career, being this Hulk feels different. She’s going through changes she cannot explain; she feels more like Bruce did. She knows she loses control when she Hulks out, something which has never been an issue for her. Jennifer is no longer the She-Hulk, but something different. She’s gray and scarred, confused about what she’s feeling.

Can HULK #7 relate to real life?

HULK #7 shows the human side of being Hulk. With Jennifer attending trauma meetings and having talks with Patsy while cracking open some cold ones, it really makes you connect with her. These are situations people find themselves in every day, events that everyone can connect with. While Jennifer’s problems are that of a superhero’s, they’re problems that are normal to her. When she can’t get herself to talk about her issues with a support group, she’s able to talk completely openly with her best friend. Small moments like these in comics are what make them grounded amongst superpowers and cosmic threats. They help keep them relatable to the average reader.

With HULK #7, Jennifer’s conflicts over her new Hulk abilities is metaphorical for all sorts of life changes. As she says that she’ll “always be a Hulk,” she’s “not the same Hulk.” While in real life we’re not dealing with becoming the Hulk, I can see this as a metaphor for so many other things. For instance, puberty. As someone’s body goes through physical changes, they’re not sure if they’re actually changing as a person. They’re the same, but different. This could even be seen as a stand-in for one of society’s largest social movements — transgender rights. While Jennifer isn’t exactly changing genders, she’s physically becoming a new person while staying the same person emotionally. It isn’t seen as a bad thing: it’s just that she’ll always be a Hulk no matter what, even when physical representation is different.

READ: Hellcat’s series might have come to an end, but what were our retrospective thoughts?

Does Social Media Consume Us?

I particularly like the set-up for the rest of the arc established in HULK #7. With the underground Monster drug creating these large green monsters, I can see a larger epidemic at hand. I especially like how Mariko Tamaki uses the social media angle, with the Monster drug being a viral trend. It’s a take on social media literally turning us into “monsters.” At one point, Jennifer tunes into her favorite online vlogging and baking show. Behind the scenes, we see the vlogger is obsessed with making his show perfect and landing a TV deal; his massive subscriber base consumed him. When his cake was laced with the Monster drug, and he literally became a monster, I saw that as a metaphor for how today’s social-media obsessed society can consume someone. People see the likes, the subscribers, and the attention, and get consumed by it.

Hulking Art

Georges Duarte’s art in HULK #7 is also done well with nice, thick strokes in his penciling. With that, every character and object is able to stand out. Their bold outlines differentiate them from the background and really pulls you into the panel. The same goes for Matt Milla’s coloring, with simple, mostly one-tone colors filling in each object. In HULK #7, the characters and objects in the forefront are more brightly colored than the background. This helps them pop even more. The combination of Duarte and Milla’s works create a simple yet stunning look for HULK #7.

Image from HULK #7. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

You Won’t Want to Get Mad At This Book

I really enjoyed HULK #7. There’s a lot to unbox in terms of double meanings and metaphors. There seem to be a lot of parallels to real life issues in Jessica’s transformation and the transformation of those with Monster. Even without diving too into the deeper meaning, the story is fun as we find Jennifer adapting to her new persona. The art pairs well with the story, making it simple and easy to follow. Be sure to check out HULK #7! I’ll sure be following it through the rest of the arc.

HULK #7 by Mariko Tamaki
The plot of HULK #7 has far deeper implications than at first glance, providing insightful social commentary and metaphors. Jennifer is humanized through her personal struggles in her inner monologues and interactions with others. The art compliments the story with a simple yet effective look, with striking lines and popping colors.
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