Welcome back to yet another From page to Screen focusing on She-Hulk: Attorney at Law. In the show’s first week, we looked at the differences between the comics’ and series’ versions of Jennifer Walters’ origin story. The following week, viewers got a live-action introduction to Jen’s new legal job, taken straight out of Dan Slott’s and Juan Bobillo’s 2004 She-Hulk run—Goodman, Lieber, Kurtzberg & Holliway (GLK&H). Episode 3 introduced a reimagined version of comic book villains, in its fourth week, the show decided to focus on Jen’s love life and, the following week, on Jen’s nemesis, Titania. Episode 6, being a “self-contained wedding episode” was approached as its own thing while referencing a lackluster comic arc where Jen ended up being engaged herself. As for episode 7, with the introduction of Man-Bull, El Águila, and Porcupine, we took a look at other She-Hulk villains that could be showing up down the line before heading into episode 8 which gave us the long-awaited Matt Murdock / Daredevil appearance, which bore some similarities with The Good Old Days story arc featured in the 2014/15 Charles Soule She-Hulk run.
The season finale was all about fourth wall breaking by doubling down on the few times Jen did just that in the previous episodes. She now literally breaks the fourth wall by breaking out of Disney+, going into the real Marvel Studios HQ all while demanding script changes from K.E.V.I.N., an in-joke for the Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige.
This, the breaking out not just to connect with the viewer/reader but going a step beyond and conversing with the creator itself, questioning his decisions and proposing something more to her liking, is fairly similar to what happened in the John Byrne’s The Sensational She-Hulk #37. Here, Jen, after getting into a dispute with the Living Eraser, mishandles his Dimensionizers and erases herself blaming Byrne for such a poor decision.
This serves as a prime example of the kind of impact that Byrne had on the character since, at the time Stan Lee wrote her first issue, 1980’s The Savage She-Hulk #1, her ability to step out of the comics wasn’t yet a thing. It wasn’t until Byrne’s iconic 1989 run that she truly became one of the most distinct Marvel characters by gaining such power. But instead of just breaking the fourth wall, Byrne’s She-Hulk made use of it. She tore pages apart so she could skip ahead to the villain more quickly and when things weren’t going her way she would request to basically skip over a fight she knew she would lose. She would even try to convince Byrne and the Marvel editors to change her looks whenever she felt her hair looked bad. The Sensational She-Hulk really made a tremendous contribution to both establishing a comic paradigm shift and dismantling comic book physics.
And the same can be said regarding the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Even if K.E.V.I.N. identified the programming error that allowed Jan to step out of the show into the real world, making sure to say to her that this was the last time she would be able to do that, there is no denying that the level of self-awareness the character may yet instill into the MCU is substantial. That is, if the other characters actually believe her on that, something that both She-Hulk: Attorney at Law and the comics hint at, as these panels from The Incredible Hulk #412 can attest to.
If Marvel Studios ever decides to introduce a character that is also in on the gag, much as Marvel Comics did with her boyfriend Wyatt Wingfoot and the Blonde Phantom that decided to make a comeback as a She-Hulk sidekick while breaking the fourth wall herself, in The Sensational She-Hulk #4, there are surely a number of possible contenders. Even if this may somehow make Jen’s powers feel less unique, in the context of the MCU it is a concept that will surely thrive. With the upcoming Avengers: Secret Wars, why not introduce the idea of a universe where every single Marvel character grew bitter and disgruntled by knowing their free will, their freedom to do otherwise, and the power of self-determination was in the hands of a random writers’ room on Marvel Studios HQ?
She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is now streaming, in its entirety, only on Disney+.