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Marvel Comics To Read Before You See She-Hulk: Attorney At Law

As the She-Hulk, Jennifer Walters has had a long, strange journey to the small screen. For over 40 years, She-Hulk has broken barriers — and the fourth wall ... and other things — in Marvel Comics, joining up with the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, A-Force, and the Heroes for Hire. She also fights supervillains in a solo capacity and serves justice in her day job as an attorney.

She-Hulk was created in 1980 to protect future TV and film rights and to prevent CBS from producing a female-led spinoff of the popular 1977 TV series "The Incredible Hulk" without Marvel's creative control. Now, the decades-long wait for an actual She-Hulk TV series is over with the release of "She-Hulk: Attorney at Law" on Disney+. Starring Tatiana Maslany ("Orphan Black") as the jade giantess, the series also introduces viewers to a bevy of colorful Marvel Comics characters like the Wrecking Crew, Titania, and "The Fabulous" Frog-Man.

Some Marvel Cinematic Universe fans may be eager to explore She-Hulk's comic book origins before tuning in. For those folks, we present this guide to comics you should check out before you watch "She-Hulk: Attorney at Law" on Disney+. Read on and find out what makes She-Hulk so sensational.

She-Hulk's origin story

"The She-Hulk lives!" With those opening words, a smashing new superhero is born. Written by the legendary Stan Lee and illustrated by John Buscema, 1980's "The Savage She-Hulk" #1 is the first appearance of Jennifer Walters, a criminal lawyer in Los Angeles. Jennifer is also the younger cousin of Bruce Banner, better known as The Incredible Hulk. On the run from the law, Bruce reconnects with Jennifer, who is preparing a case against local crime boss Nick Trask. The gangster's goons critically injure Jennifer in a drive-by shooting, and Bruce administers an impromptu blood transfusion.

But Bruce's gamma-irradiated blood doesn't just save Jennifer's life — it also transforms her into She-Hulk whenever she gets angry. As She-Hulk, Jennifer shares some powers with Bruce, including super strength and a giant green appearance, though She-Hulk luckily retains her intelligence and personality when she transforms. "The Savage She-Hulk" #1 establishes Jennifer Walters as a capable and dynamic heroine even before her blood transfusion. And unlike her tormented cousin, Jennifer immediately finds her transformation powerful and liberating, as it gives her the strength to fight back against her attackers and bring them to justice. "You called me a She-Hulk," Jennifer tells one of the would-be assassins as she hurls a hospital bed at him. "And a She-Hulk, I'll be!"

The Wrecking Crew vs. The Defenders

"She-Hulk: Attorney at Law" will see our heroine take on the live-action version of the Wrecking Crew, one of Marvel Comics' most dependable teams of super-heavies. The team takes its name from their leader, the Wrecker, who first appears in "Thor" #148 as a crowbar-wielding criminal accidentally given magical powers by Karnilla the Norn queen. Years later, Len Wein and Sal Buscema introduced Wrecker's teammates in "The Defenders" #17-19, pitting them against the heroes Doctor Strange, Luke Cage, and Jennifer's cousin, The Hulk.

In the middle of a jailbreak, the Wrecker urges three fellow inmates to hold onto his crowbar during an electrical storm. When lightning strikes the bar, they are imbued with Wrecker's power and become Thunderball, Bulldozer, and Piledriver. As the Wrecking Crew, the team terrorizes New York City in pursuit of a gamma bomb created by Thunderball in his previous occupation as a nuclear physicist. The Defenders save the day thanks to Bruce Banner's scientific genius, but the Wrecking Crew don't stay down for long. Together, they have fought almost every major superhero in the Marvel Universe, including the Avengers, the Runaways, the Punisher, and even a teenage Jean Grey of the X-Men.

The Fabulous Frog-Man leaps into action

First, there was Batman. Then there was Spider-Man. Now, here comes ... Frog-Man. Created by J.M. DeMatteis and Kerry Gammill in 1982's "Marvel Team-Up" #121, this colorful character makes his MCU debut in "She-Hulk: Attorney at Law." While the main plot ostensibly centers on Spider-Man and the Human Torch as they battle the sticky-fingered supervillain Speed Demon, Frog-Man is the beating — or rather, ribbiting — heart of the story.

Young Eugene Patilio is the son of the Leap Frog, a retired supervillain now languishing in obscurity. After witnessing Spider-Man and the Human Torch in action, Eugene retrieves one of his father's discarded costumes from storage and christens himself Frog-Man. Eugene wants to redeem his family's name as a superhero, but without any training or powers, his attempts to hop around the city on spring-loaded "flippers" only lead to chaos. The unlikely hero eventually helps save the day, winning the respect of both Spider-Man and his father. Awkward but well-intentioned, Frog-Man is a recurring hero in the Marvel Universe, teaming up with Spider-Man again and even gaining his own animal-themed archenemy – the White Rabbit. Frog-Man and She-Hulk both know one thing — it's not easy being green.

She-Hulk and Hulk share a family reunion

"She-Hulk: Attorney at Law" explores the close bond between Jennifer and her cousin Bruce (played by Mark Ruffalo), with Bruce mentoring Jennifer in all things Hulk-related ("Spandex is your best friend!" and so forth). In "Savage She-Hulk" #1, Bruce leaves Jennifer after he gives her a blood transplant because he's wanted by the law, unintentionally leaving her alone to navigate her new life as a superhero.

Jennifer and Bruce have a much-needed family reunion in "The Incredible Hulk" #282 from 1982, written by Rocket Raccoon co-creator Bill Mantlo and illustrated by Sal Buscema, the brother of She-Hulk co-creator John Buscema. Taking refuge at the Avengers Mansion with his friends, Bruce is welcomed with open, green, and muscular arms by his cousin. Unlike Bruce, Jennifer is thankful for her transformation, telling him that it enabled her to reclaim her agency after her shooting and to later become an Avenger. "Cousin, we're not monsters!" she insists. "We've got a great gift — the power and the ability to do good!" She assuages Bruce's guilty conscience in time for them to team up against the robot Arsenal the Living Weapon as he lays siege to the mansion. "The Incredible Hulk" #282 proves that the family that Hulk-out together stays together.

Jennifer is stuck as She-Hulk ... forever?

She-Hulk is one of a kind, as writer-artist John Byrne illustrates in the 1985 Marvel graphic novel "The Sensational She-Hulk." In this special one-shot story, rogue SHIELD agents in Mandroid armor rudely interrupt date night for She-Hulk and her boyfriend Wyatt Wingfoot. Abducted and taken aboard a SHIELD Helicarrier, Jennifer and Wyatt are harassed by the creepy Agent Dooley, whose body is possessed by a horde of evil, sentient cockroaches. In the ensuing chaos, the Helicarrier crashes, and She-Hulk absorbs a highly concentrated amount of radiation while stopping the ship's atomic pile from vaporizing the nearest city.

As a standalone graphic novel, "The Sensational She-Hulk" pushes the envelope for both cheesecake art emphasizing She-Hulk's statuesque figure and creepy-crawly horror straight out of a "Tales from the Crypt" comic book. But the story had lasting effects for Jennifer, who learns from Reed Richards that the extra radiation she absorbed in the crash has seemingly left her trapped in her transformed She-Hulk state forever. Jennifer's response: "So what's the bad news?" Though she would eventually regain the ability to change back to her human form, this graphic novel cements one of She-Hulk's defining character traits; unlike many of her fellow "monstrous" superheroes — like The Thing or her cousin Bruce — Jennifer loves being She-Hulk and fully embraces it.

She-Hulk's battle against the tabloids

Tatiana Maslany's Jennifer Walters has an uneasy brush with fame in "She-Hulk: Attorney at Law," as the trailer shows her blowing up on social media and greeted by the flashing cameras of the paparazzi. In the comics, She-Hulk has a complicated relationship with the media and crosses hairs with the publishers of the tabloid "The Naked Truth" in "Fantastic Four" #275 from 1985.

Written and illustrated by John Byrne, the issue begins with Jennifer sunbathing on the Baxter Building roof when a helicopter suddenly flies by and startles her. The photographer onboard snaps a photo of a "wardrobe malfunction," and Jennifer must flex all her muscles as a lawyer and a superhero to stop the tabloid from printing the picture without her consent. In one excellent sight gag, She-Hulk shows off her strength by crushing the safe containing the sleazy publisher's "filthy money" into a tiny metal ball. A memorable twist ending proves that with She-Hulk, you always bet on green.

She-Hulk fights Titania in front of the Supreme Court

Titania (Jameela Jamil) makes a memorable entrance in the "She-Hulk: Attorney at Law" trailer by crashing through the wall of Jennifer's courtroom during a trial. A longtime foe of She-Hulk's in the comics, Titania pulled a similar stunt in 1988's "Solo Avengers" #14. The backup story, "Court Costs!" by Chris Claremont and Alan Davis, takes Jennifer to the United States Supreme Court to argue against the Mutant Registration Act, a long-running subplot in Claremont's "X-Men" comics. Already nervous, she completely loses her poise when Titania picks a fight on the courthouse steps. Jennifer has to interrupt the trial to stop her — over and over again. Titania can take a hit, but she can't take a hint.

"Court Costs!" is a perfect distillation of She-Hulk and Titania's indestructible rivalry; She-Hulk punches Titania straight through a car on one page, so Titania can return to drop a bus on her on another page. The comic successfully mixes the high stakes of the Supreme Court case with slapstick violence right out of a "Looney Tunes" cartoon.

She-Hulk breaks the fourth wall

One of the most pause-worthy moments of the "She-Hulk: Attorney at Law" trailer is She-Hulk stopping to address the viewer directly before she and Bruce do a confused double take. Comic book readers in 1989 experienced a similar surprise with "The Sensational She-Hulk" #1, written and illustrated by John Byrne. After a wild night at the circus in which she is hypnotized into performing as "Glamazonia, the Strongest Woman Alive," She-Hulk interrogates the supervillain Ringmaster about the identity of his mysterious employer. Looking directly at the audience, she sighs, "You readers will probably find out on the next page..."

John Byrne's influential run on "The Sensational She-Hulk" is an enduring entry-point for the hero and a love letter to the comics medium. Strong, sly, and appropriately sensational, She-Hulk's hyper-awareness of the reader and her own existence as a fictional comic book character was a stylistic breakthrough. Enticing the audience through intimidation on the cover, tearing through blank pages, and even arguing with her "creator," She-Hulk broke the fourth wall long before Deadpool — who debuted in 1991, two years after "Sensational She-Hulk" #1 was published — made it cool.

The titanic tale of Titania

"Who, in all the universe, in all of creation ... who hates She-Hulk the most?" There can be only one answer — She-Hulk's longtime rival, Titania. But what makes Titania tick? "She-Hulk" #10 by Dan Slott and Paul Pelletier catches up with the super-strong supervillain at her lowest point, lying in the mud after a devastating punch from Jennifer sends her flying.

Her story unfolds in flashback. Born Mary MacPherran, but cruelly nicknamed "Skeeter" due to her small stature, the eventual Titania dreamed about living an adventurous life like the ones she read about in comic books. After the Beyonder uproots her hometown of Denver, Colorado, to make up part of his "Battleworld" — as originally depicted in the 1984 "Secret Wars" event — Doctor Doom gives Mary metahuman strength and durability with alien technology, turning her into Titania. Battleworld introduces Titania to her greatest love — her husband, the Absorbing Man — and her biggest enemy, She-Hulk. But all the strength in the world isn't enough to crush Mary's insecurity. Reflecting on all her past losses, Titania prepares to make another deal with the devil by accepting one of the Infinity Stones. Viewers eager to learn the comic book history behind Jameela Jamil's live-action interpretation of Titania should seek this issue out.

She-Hulk takes on her cousin's enemy, Abomination

Bruce Banner has faced some terrifying foes during his time as The Incredible Hulk. His greatest enemy is arguably Emil Blonsky, the gamma-irradiated former spy known as Abomination. After their many clashes over the years, it was inevitable that Abomination would cross paths with Bruce's cousin and ally, She-Hulk. "She-Hulk: Attorney at Law" puts Jennifer in the awkward position of Emil's defense attorney, but in the comics, they've had a different kind of stare down.

When the Illuminati deem The Hulk too dangerous to live on Earth and banish him to outer space, Jennifer struggles to find peace of mind on a planet without a Hulk. In 2005's "She-Hulk" #15 by Dan Slott and Rick Burchett, the arc appropriately titled "Planet Without a Hulk" follows Jennifer as she works with SHIELD to deal with "Hulk-level" threats such as Abomination, who is gleefully stomping his way across Reno, Nevada. Abomination is quick to mock Jennifer, insisting that with the Hulk gone, she's no match for him. But while She-Hulk may lack her cousin's raw strength, she has training, intelligence, and a super-powered therapist on call. What follows is a witty, action-packed display of everything that makes She-Hulk an engaging and complex heroine.

She-Hulk faces Daredevil in court

With Charlie Cox reprising the role of Matt Murdock in "She-Hulk: Attorney at Law," fans may wonder if She-Hulk and Daredevil — two brilliant lawyers moonlighting as superheroes — ever faced each other in court? The answer is yes, obviously.

In 2014's "She-Hulk" #8-10 by author and real-life attorney Charles Soule and artist Javier Pulido, Jennifer and Matt are pit against each other in the trial of the century. And Jennifer's client is none other than Captain America himself, Steve Rogers. A deathbed confession about a mysterious incident in 1940 leads to Steve being charged with a wrongful death suit, and Jennifer faces the biggest challenge of her professional career. Can she defeat Daredevil in court and prove Captain America innocent? And what information does Daredevil have that will shock Jennifer to her core? Soule's sharp, incisive writing and Pulido's dynamic artwork turn the courtroom into a different kind of battlefield, with the three-issue story arc delivering surprises — and an exciting chase scene between She-Hulk and Daredevil across the Los Angeles skyline — right until the very last page.

A new beginning for She-Hulk, and a new mystery

She's savage. She's sensational. She's She-Hulk. Jennifer Walters has helmed several solo books in her 40-year (in real-world time) career as a superhero, with her latest series launching in 2022. Presented by Rainbow Rowell and Rogê Antônio, "She-Hulk" #1 is a new beginning for the green-skinned glamazon in more ways than one.

In this run, Jennifer moves into her friend's penthouse apartment, lawyers for a new firm, and is ready to live large. She even blows off steam with her frenemy Titania in a super-powered fight club down at a local construction site. But the past catches up with her in an unexpected way. Her old Avengers teammate, Jack of Hearts — long believed dead and missing chunks of his memory — shows up at her door looking for help. What follows is a charming, cameo-studded, candy-colored mystery sparkling with Jennifer's trademark wit and sophisticated storytelling from Rowell, Antônio, and Luca Maresca. Viewers who are excited to see "She-Hulk: Attorney at Law" and eager to take a crash course in She-Hulkology should check out the 2022 "She-Hulk" comic book series. It's a smashing success.