SHE-HULK: HER FIRST TWELVE STORIES FROM THE 1980s

This weekend’s light-hearted, escapist superhero blog post from Balladeer’s Blog will look at the first twelve adventures of the She-Hulk.

sh 1SAVAGE SHE-HULK Vol 1 #1 (February 1980)

Title: The She-Hulk Lives

Villain: Gangster Nick Trask

Synopsis: Bruce Banner drifts into Los Angeles. Wearying of his life as a fugitive, he seeks out his cousin Jennifer Walters, an attorney. While Bruce is asking Jennifer for whatever legal help or advice she can give him, gangster Nick Trask has some of his goons shoot Jen because one of the clients she is defending is a man that Trask framed for murder. 

she hulk picJennifer is bleeding out and will die before any ambulance can arrive, so Bruce breaks into a nearby doctor’s office and uses some of the equipment inside to donate some of his own blood to Jen to save her life. An ambulance gets Jennifer and Bruce to a hospital and she stabilizes.

The authorities start to get suspicious of Bruce so he slips away before they realize who he is. Nick Trask has 3 more goons visit Jennifer’s hospital room to finish her off. Their attempt to murder her fuels enough of a metabolic change to trigger her first transformation into She-Hulk.

After easily defeating the trio of hitmen, She-Hulk transforms back into Jennifer Walters, who pretends she has no idea what happened or where the big green woman came from. As news of a “She-Hulk” spreads, Jennifer ponders how she will deal with her new plight. 

sh 2SAVAGE SHE-HULK Vol 1 #2 (March 1980)

Title: Deathrace

Villains: Nick Trask and She-Droid

Synopsis: This issue picks up the next day. Jennifer’s friend Jill Stevens drops her off at the courthouse right after picking her up at the hospital. In court she moves for her client Lou Monkton (the man framed for murder by Nick Trask) to be released on bail but the opposing counsel, Assistant District Attorney Dennis Bukowski, successfully argues that he be held without bail.

Dennis, nicknamed Buck, needles Jennifer about this out in the court parking lot. (So, if they depict this guy as a jerk on the tv show it’s because he was a jerk in the comic books, too.) Jill drives Jen to the jail to visit with the three Trask thugs who tried to kill her at the hospital. She talks two of the three into turning State’s Evidence against Nick Trask but the third is too frightened to. 

father and jenNext, Jen has Jill drive her to see her father, Sheriff Morris Walters, about her efforts to prove Nick Trask framed her client. We learn that Trask had Jennifer’s mother killed years earlier but her father was never able to prove it.

Foolishly, Jennifer now has Jill drive her to Nick’s office on Ventura Boulevard. While confronting the gangster chief she idiotically tells him she has two of his goons turning State’s Evidence against him. Trask implies that Jen may end up as dead as her mother.

As Jill and Jennifer arrive at Jen’s home (she lives in the family house where her parents raised her) they are invited to a barbecue by the neighbors, the Ridges. The son of that family, named Danny, is interested in Jennifer romantically but she feels awkward about it because she used to babysit him when she was a teenager.

sh pictureNick Trask’s men accidentally kill Jill Stevens while trying to kill Jennifer, whose fury transforms her into She-Hulk, almost witnessed by Danny Ridge. She-Hulk fails to save Jill and also winds up battling several police when Dennis Bukowski mistakenly tells them that it was She-Hulk who killed Jill Stevens.

Our heroine succeeds in escaping, and eventually turns back into Jen Walters. The next day, Jennifer appears in court to use the sworn statements of the former Trask thugs turned State’s Evidence as proof that her client Lou Monkton is innocent.

The judge frees Jen’s client and, out in the parking lot, she gloats and needles Dennis Bukowski to get back at him. Meanwhile, at Nick Trask’s HQ we see that he has assembled stolen Stark Industries material to use as a She-Droid against this She-Hulk on the loose.

sh 3SAVAGE SHE-HULK Vol 1 #3 (April 1980)

Title: She-Hulk Murders Lady Lawyer

Villain: She-Droid

Synopsis: The newspapers are full of stories about She-Hulk being a murderer because of Dennis Bukowski’s idiotic statement that the green woman killed Jill Stevens. 

Nick Trask has his She-Droid painted green and strategically sics her on people he wants killed, hitting and running so quickly that just the green color and muscular form can be made out. This makes the public think She-Hulk killed all the victims – the thugs who turned State’s Evidence against him, a truck hijacker named Jake who got out of line with Trask, and Weasel, Jake’s friend.

sh newspaperJennifer Walters is in hiding at a beach house on Zuma Beach to try keeping her safe while she compiles evidence against Nick Trask for the District Attorney’s office. (The legal antics in She-Hulk stories were always nonsensical, but it’s just a comic book.)

Danny Ridge drops by the Beach House to hang out with Jennifer and they see her father, Sheriff Morris Walters, on the news asking for information about the “serial killer” She-Hulk and asking the beast to turn herself in. Jen is so upset that she nearly turns into She-Hulk again but prevents it.

Danny has seen and heard enough to realize that Jen is really She-Hulk, so she confides in him about everything that’s happened to her in recent weeks. Meanwhile, Lou Monkton has been taken prisoner by Trask and his men.

she droidNick has Lou call Jennifer and pretend he has additional evidence that she can use against Trask and wants to meet with her. She gives him the location of the beach house. Now Trask knows where Jennifer Walters is hiding and sends the She-Droid to kill her.

She-Droid breaks into the beach house and tries to kill Jen and Danny. Jennifer turns into She-Hulk and, after a monumental battle she destroys the android. She recognizes some of She-Droid’s component parts from Nick Trask’s HQ when she visited him there in issue #2. The furious She-Hulk vows revenge on Trask. 

sh 4SAVAGE SHE-HULK Vol 1 #4 (May 1980)

Title: My Father … My Foe

Villains: Nick Trask and Sheriff Morris Walters

Synopsis: We pick up right where the previous issue left off. She-Hulk is still ranting about what she wants to do to Nick Trask, when Danny Ridge approaches her. In these early stories, though Jennifer and She-Hulk shared the same memories, She-Hulk was always intensely angry and barely in control at times.

danny and she hulk

She-Hulk roughing up Gabe Kaplan.

She threatens Danny about trying to touch her and also tells him to call her She-Hulk, not Jen. She wants to go to Nick Trask’s HQ and Danny offers to driver her there in his car so that she won’t be spotted by the cops or anybody else. She agrees.   

Cut to Trask’s HQ, where we readers learn that Nick had been observing She-Droid’s entire attack through the cameras in the android’s eyes. He saw Jennifer Walters transform into She-Hulk and devises a plan to kill both her AND her father in one night.

she hulk faceTrask sends some of his thugs to abduct Sheriff Morris Walters and bring him back to their lair. They accomplish this and Jennifer’s father is bound to a chair while Nick Trask addresses him. We learn that Trask was trying to kill Morris a while back but his wife got killed by mistake.

He realizes that the sheriff has no idea that She-Hulk is his own daughter. Nick proposes that they both want She-Hulk taken out, so they should work together to do that. He demonstrates more of his stolen Stark International technology, like torso armor and a strap-on cannon that fires energy rays.

she hulk ragingMeanwhile, Danny and She-Hulk have arrived in the night-darkened alley near Trask’s headquarters. She-Hulk goes inside and snaps at Danny when he tries to talk her out of it. Danny stays a bit behind as our heroine proceeds into Nick’s lair.

Danny is grabbed from behind by Dennis Bukowski, the macho and obnoxious Assistant District Attorney whom Jennifer Walters has been working with to compile evidence against Trask. Dennis saw Danny’s car driving away from the beach house and followed it.

Back inside, Sheriff Walters agrees to use the stolen Stark tech against She-Hulk at the first opportunity. Suddenly, Trask, his goons and the sheriff realize our heroine is busting into the hideout. Nick leaves Sheriff Walters alone, wearing the Stark tech, while he and his men retreat to an underground level. Once down there, Trask pushes a button and seals the entrances to his HQ with solid steel panels.

she hulk vs fatherDanny and Bukowski had ventured inside the place and are now also sealed in the building like She-Hulk and her father. Our heroine battles the sheriff while he attacks her over and over with the cannon’s energy blasts, which knock her around. Jennifer is aware enough of what is going on to make her alter ego refrain from killing her father.

Down below, Nick Trask is watching the battle on viewscreens with his men and Lou Monkton, still his captive. Trask boasts that the energy-cannon is booby-trapped to destroy Sheriff Morris, so both he and She-Hulk will die tonight. Next he shows Monkton something crucial to his master plan, but we readers don’t get to see it yet.

sh in actionBack at the battle, She-Hulk throws a forklift through a wall, making a hole for Danny and Bukowski to escape through. As her fight with her father continues, She-Hulk realizes that the weapon he’s wearing is on the verge of exploding.

She rips it off her father’s body and throws him to safety outside through the same hole Danny and Dennis used. Next, she throws herself on the energy cannon like she’s falling on a grenade and smothers the massive explosion from the booby-trapped weapon.   

The next day, as Jennifer Walters, she visits with her father and they express their love for each other, but he remains unaware that she is really She-Hulk. 

sh 5SAVAGE SHE-HULK Vol 1 #5 (June 1980)

Title: Breaking Point (Despite the title on the cover.)

Villains: Nick Trask and the Silver Serpent

Synopsis: This issue picks up an unknown number of days later. She-Hulk is using her massive strength to save innocent bystanders trying to cross a bridge during an earthquake. After they have all reached safety, she turns back into Jen and goes home. 

As lawyer Jennifer Walters, our heroine appears at a press conference speaking on behalf of her clients at Roxxon Oil. Oil has been disappearing from their refineries but the government suspects they are lying in order to run up prices.

sh splash pageNOTE: Yep, it’s comic book lawyering, in which Jen can be handling criminal cases for a while, then corporate law or whatever other type of story the writers want to do. 

At any rate, Jennifer is still working with Assistant District Attorney Dennis Bukowski on building a case against gangster Nick Travis. Dennis, always a needling prick, taunts her about how naive she is by being conned into defending a dubious corporation like Roxxon Oil, who are often villains in Marvel Comics stories

While discussing her dual life with Danny Ridge that night, Jen mentions how her transformations seem to be getting more and more unpredictable. Danny takes a blood sample from her, offering to have it anonymously analyzed by a friend at UCLA. Our heroine gets a phone tip from Lou Monkton about which Roxxon refinery will be hit that night and goes off into the night to investigate.

As She-Hulk, she discovers that Roxxon’s tanks have been getting drained from underground by Nick Trask himself in a high-tech burrowing vehicle called the Silver Serpent, more of his stolen Stark International technology. She-Hulk battles Trask in the Silver Serpent and he taunts her that he knows she is really Jennifer Walters and he’ll expose her if she doesn’t stop investigating him. 

silver serpentConveniently, during the clash, She-Hulk causes so much damage to the Silver Serpent that Nick loses control of it and dies, giving Jennifer her revenge on the man who killed her mother AND her friend Jill Stevens.

Soon, Jen clears her clients at Roxxon Oil, who weren’t the actual villains for once. Even better, she provided evidence linking Trask’s criminal front businesses to the stolen oil caper, so the dead gangster’s entire organization will go down.

Bukowski still tries to obnoxiously needle Jen even though she once again came out on top. 

sh 6SAVAGE SHE-HULK Vol 1 #6 (July 1980)

Title: Enter: The Invincible Iron Man

Villain: Iron Man

Synopsis: This issue picks up an unknown number of weeks later. Jennifer Walters has had herself appointed Special Prosecutor by the State of California, which is investigating all of the Stark International technology that has now been tied to the criminal operations of the late gangster Nick Trask.

Tony, in his Iron Man armor, flies to California to look into the matter himself. He consults with Sheriff Walters to get some facts on the case. Jen, visiting her father, mistakenly thinks that Tony Stark sent his “bodyguard” Iron Man to lean on her father to go easy on Stark International. (The world did not know Tony IS Iron Man back then.)

She serves Iron Man a subpoena (again, just ignore the wildly inaccurate legal proceedings, it’s just a comic book) and, before Iron Man and her father can correct Jennifer’s mistaken assumptions, her anger at Stark International has triggered the start of a transformation into She-Hulk.

im vs shJen pretends to storm out of her father’s office in a huff and takes shelter while she turns into her green alter ego. Passersby panic at the sight of the She-Hulk and, drawn by the pandemonium in the streets, Iron Man attacks the wanted She-Hulk.

After a lengthy, destructive battle, She-Hulk and Iron Man try to reason with each other. (It turns out both of their mothers were named Martha. I’m KIDDING!) She-Hulk spends the rest of this issue trying to convince Iron Man that she is innocent of the murders she is accused of.

Iron Man simultaneously tries to prove to her that Nick Trask was using STOLEN Stark International technology and that Tony was not in cahoots with the late gangster. Both of them convince the other, and the rest of Nick Trask’s organization is brought down in court, simultaneously clearing Tony Stark.

At UCLA, Danny Ridge and his friend have gotten Jen’s anonymous blood sample cycled into the process for testing. Now they have to wait.

sh 7SAVAGE SHE-HULK Vol 1 #7 (August 1980)

Title: Richard Rory … Winner

Villains: The Padres of La Hacienda

Synopsis: This issue picks up an unknown amount of time after the previous one. In Las Vegas, we join Richard Rory, one of Steve Gerber’s most annoying self-insert characters, second only to Jack Norris. Gerber introduced him in his Man-Thing stories, then carried him over to Omega the Unknown.  

Subsequent writers for some reason revived the character in the pages of the Defenders and now Rory shows up here in She-Hulk. Richard wins a million and a half dollars gambling in Vegas and spends a few days living it up, including taking a limo to Los Angeles and staying at a plush hotel.

sh on the runWhile in Los Angeles, he witnesses a She-Hulk rampage in the streets. Our heroine is alarmed because she suddenly turned into She-Hulk with no warning. After clashing with cops she manages to lose them.

When she turns back into Jennifer Walters, she runs into Richard Rory, explaining her tattered clothing by claiming she was a victim of She-Hulk’s rampage. Richard talks her into a date that night. The two click on their date and he tells her all about his experiences with various superheroes.

Rory even convinces Jen to accompany him that weekend on a flight to Florida where he wants to buy some swamp land to use as a private reserve where he can secretly let the mindless monster the Man-Thing live in peace.

While helping Richard, Jennifer gets lost in the Everglades and turns into She-Hulk when she gets attacked by an alligator. Still lost, she treks along until she gets attacked by the purple-skinned ogres who were once Spanish Padres with Ponce de Leon centuries earlier.

man thingNOTE: This carries on a storyline from the old Man-Thing series. The Padres had been with de Leon’s Conquistadors during his search for the Fountain of Youth. The fathers got separated from de Leon’s main party, but actually found the Fountain of Youth.

              They drank from the fountain, which transformed them into purple-skinned, immortal monsters. Too late they realized that you’re not supposed to drink from the Fountain of Youth, you are supposed to immerse yourself in it.

              The clergymen had the rest of their party bathe in the fountain’s waters. All of them have since lived in that secluded part of the Everglades in a mansion and courtyard called La Hacienda. The Padres, in their purple forms, continued tending to the spiritual needs of their “flock” during the hundreds of years since then.

sh vs padresBack to the story, She-Hulk is the first outsider that the monstrous Padres have seen since the Man-Thing years earlier. They approach her, trying to talk to her, but she thinks they’re attacking and fights all of them.

At length, one of the purple ogres uncorks a flask of chemicals which serve to paralyze She-Hulk completely. They carry her, immobile but conscious, to La Hacienda. Once there they immerse her in the waters of the Fountain of Youth and tell her she will have eternal youth and will live with them in La Hacienda forever.

sh 8SAVAGE SHE-HULK Vol 1 #8 (September 1980)

Title: Among the Ogres

Villains: The Padres of La Hacienda

Synopsis: We pick up right where we left off last time around. She-Hulk, still paralyzed by the Padre Ogres’ chemicals, is immersed in the waters of the Fountain of Youth.

The effect of the waters is not just eternal youth, apparently, but tranquility. She-Hulk becomes so relaxed that she turns into Jennifer Walters before her treatment is complete.

sh 8 splIn her normal, calmer form, she lets the ogres explain themselves and she, in turn, discusses being She-Hulk. The Padres tell the mellowed-out Jennifer that if she lives with them forever in La Hacienda, regularly bathing in the waters from the Fountain of Youth, she will never become She-Hulk again.

Jen, under the tranquilizing effect of the waters, accepts the offer and settles in with the other residents of La Hacienda, most of them over 400 years old.

Meanwhile, Richard Rory, still unable to find Jennifer in the swamp, decides to enlist the aid of his old friend the Man-Thing. He goes deeper into the Everglades, counting on the mindless creature’s empathic nature to be drawn to his familiar emotional aura.

Back at La Hacienda, Jennifer is hanging out with the passive, Eloi-type residents. They are so mellowed out that they don’t even try to help one of their own when an alligator manages to snap her up in its jaws.

jen and peopleOur heroine, less exposed to the waters of the Fountain of Youth, is shocked by the indifference of the people to the woman’s death. She rallies a few listless fellow residents to start building a barricade to prevent alligators from wandering onto the grounds.

The ogres are outraged by such activity and call a public meeting to decide on a punishment for Jennifer for breaking the rules of La Hacienda by advocating activity beyond contemplation. Jen displays her eloquence by penetrating the haze of unconcern that these people have lived in for centuries.

By the time she is done with her impassioned speech, even the ogres agree that the time has come to abandon their pointless lifestyle. Everyone in La Hacienda unite to block off the waters of the Fountain of Youth so that they can never bathe in them again. They then tell Jen that, as she has “freed” them, she is free to leave.

Back out in the swamp, our heroine tries to link up again with Richard Rory, but encounters his friend the Man-Thing first. Unprepared for the full impact of the creature’s grotesque appearance, she panics and turns into She-Hulk.

mt vs shThe Man-Thing and She-Hulk fight it out for a long time, until, finally, She-Hulk’s never-ending rage overwhelms the sensitive, empathic nature of Man-Thing and it collapses, unconscious. Our heroine treks on, trying to find her way out of the Everglades.

Eventually, tired out, she turns back into Jennifer Walters and comes across Richard.

Epilogue: It turns out Rory cannot buy the land he wanted, so he instead buys the radio station where he worked as a disc jockey during his Man-Thing days. He and Jen spend the night together and he takes her to the airport the next day. She flies off back to Los Angeles. 

sh 9SAVAGE SHE-HULK Vol 1 #9 (October 1980)

Title: The Power of the Word

Villains: The Word and Ultima

Synopsis: Back in Los Angeles, Jennifer is picked up at the airport by Danny Ridge, the medical student she used to babysit when she was a teenager. On the drive to their neighborhood, they discuss her trip to Florida and Danny is jealous over Jen’s praise of Richard Rory.

The two argue, with Danny getting reminded that Jennifer still thinks of him as a kid because she is so much older than he is. Jen’s agitation makes her turn into She-Hulk and she threatens Danny to get him to shut up.

He drops her off at her place, where no sooner is she in the door than her phone is ringing. It is Dennis Bukowski, cockily telling her he’s been trying to get her for hours. As a favor, he’s referring a legal case to her – a worried mother and father want legal help to retrieve their son from a cult run by the popular minister who calls himself the Word.

The next day is Monday, and at UCLA, med student Danny Ridge at last hears back from his friend about what was secretly Jennifer’s blood sample. His friend tells him that the doctors there kept referring the sample up the line because of how puzzling it was.

morbius in human formA specialist at UCLA wants to talk to Danny about the sample. That specialist – the former Living Vampire Dr. Michael Morbius, recently restored to normal in the pages of Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #38 (January 1980). (Morbius was featured in a recent movie here in the real world.)

Though cured of his vampiric nature – for a few years, anyway – Morbius is still in custody awaiting trial. Because of his expertise he is being permitted to work at UCLA in the meantime, always accompanied by multiple guards.

Michael Morbius informs Danny that he MUST reveal whose blood was in that sample he provided. Morbius has determined that they suffer from a very exotic form of blood disease and may soon die.

Meanwhile, Jennifer Walters meets with the parents who want their son out of the cult led by the Word. Hours later, Jennifer goes to the cult’s compound at the top of a hill. If she can get their son to sign paperwork swearing that he is being held there against his will she can help.

Before she’s allowed to see Randolph, the young man whose parents hired her, Jennifer has to endure assorted sales pitches for the cult and sit through a lecture by the Word himself. He addresses a huge audience (Jennifer among them) and rehashes his mystical gift – his words can enthrall and even empower.

ultimaTo prove that last bit he calls out his daughter, Ultima, making her very first appearance. Ultima is as villainous as her father and has developed super-strength over a lifetime of being exposed to his Magick Voice. (It’s a comic book. Just go with it.)

After Ultima dazzles the audience by effortlessly lifting cars and such, the “mass” is over and Jennifer meets with Randolph. She gets him to sign the legal paperwork when suddenly they are intruded on by Ultima. The villainess chases Jen around the night-darkened compound, and Jennifer turns into She-Hulk.

After a knock-down, drag-out fight between She-Hulk and Ultima, our heroine emerges triumphant and leaps over the walls of the compound, carrying the signed legal documents with her.

sh 10SAVAGE SHE-HULK Vol 1 #10 (November 1980)

Title: War of the Word

Villains: Ultima and the Word

Synopsis: She-Hulk reaches the highway just as the sun is coming up. She grabs a ride on a passing vehicle but she’s pretty noticeable so before long the authorities are informed and our heroine is fighting the cops again.

She gets away and reaches home, where she collapses on her bed. While sleeping she turns back into Jennifer Walters. Hours later she is awakened by Danny Ridge knocking on her door. He tells her what Dr. Morbius said about her blood sample and urges her to go see him immediately.

turning she hulkJen insists she must file the paperwork from Randolph today. They argue around and around, but in the end Jennifer insists she will file the paperwork to help Randolph and his parents, the Harrisons. THEN she will go see Dr. Morbius.

After filing the papers and updating the Harrisons on their case, the steadily weakening Jen goes to dinner with Danny on their way to see Morbius. At the restaurant a phone is brought to their table. It’s Dennis Bukowski, telling Jennifer that the Word has used his enthrallment powers to force every level of the legal system to grant him a hearing regarding Randolph’s sworn statement THE VERY NEXT DAY.

Again, Jen puts off going to see Morbius so she can prepare for court tomorrow. Obviously in court the Word uses his powers to control everyone and even enthralls Randolph into claiming Jennifer fabricated his signed statement.

sh vs uJen has to leave the court before she transforms. When she becomes She-Hulk, Ultima finds her and attacks her. Their destructive clash goes on and on, until eventually an accident during the fight causes Ultima to become paralyzed, unable to talk or have muscular coordination.

The Word actually does love his daughter, and seeing her like this, he dissolves his cult, takes a vow of silence and withdraws with her back to the cult compound to help take care of her from now on. She-Hulk leaves the scene and Danny Ridge follows her, only to find her passed out on the floor from her blood disease.

NOTE: In the future, Ultima gets her powers back and takes on the Thing and the Human Torch.

sh 11SAVAGE SHE-HULK Vol 1 #11 (December 1980) 

Title: In the Shadow of Death

Villains: A vigilante mob

Synopsis: Danny is struggling to drag the heavy, weak She-Hulk to his car. The police are still combing the area for her after her battle with Ultima. As the cops close in on them, She-Hulk whispers to Danny to escape before the police arrive. She will try to get away separately.

sh collapsesDanny does get away, but She-Hulk is too weak to do so and winds up collapsing again. The police pick her up, place her in a paddy wagon and drive off with her. They haul her into a cell in her unsuspecting father’s jailhouse.

Sheriff Walters is delighted that She-Hulk – whom he still mistakenly believes is a killer – has been captured. When She-Hulk wakes up he exchanges heated words with her, unaware she’s really his daughter Jennifer.

A large police contingent is coming to take her away to a maximum security facility. Before they arrive, our heroine musters up every last shred of strength that she can and breaks out. Obnoxious Dennis Bukowski is driving up to the Sheriff’s office and She-Hulk forces him out of his car and drives off in it.

morbius faceAt UCLA a huge demonstration has broken out to protest the mass murderer Michael Morbius’ presence on the staff. Among the crowd are several loved ones of various victims killed by Morbius over the years when he was in his vampiric existence.

Danny fights his way through to Dr. Morbius and helps him against a knife-wielding father of one of his late victims. Morbius knows he deserves to die but pleads with the man to let him save the life of Danny’s friend Jennifer first. The man refuses but cops arrive to defuse the situation and the father runs off.

She-Hulk, struggling all the way, has nearly reached UCLA when she pauses to save the life of an elderly woman who is nearly hit by a truck. At last reaching Morbius’ laboratory she is placed on a bed and given the serum he perfected for her. For the cliffhanger ending, Michael and Danny watch She-Hulk’s unconscious form to see if she recovers.

sh 12SAVAGE SHE-HULK Vol 1 #12 (January 1981)

Title: Reason and Rage

Villain: Gemini

Synopsis: After an agonizing wait, we learn that our heroine will be okay. AND, as an added bonus, Morbius’ cure for her blood disease will also allow her to control her transformations into She-Hulk and back at will.

This brings a certain stability back into Jen’s life and as events unfold in the days ahead, she agrees to represent Dr. Morbius in court for the killings he committed while blood-crazed from his vampiric form.

sh spl p againNOTE: If you’re not familiar with Morbius, he was an old Spider-Man foe who was called the Living Vampire because he was not one of the undead. He was a creation of science gone wrong. Long ago when Dr. Michael Morbius injected himself with a serum developed from the blood of vampire bats, he hoped it would cure his own rare blood disease.

           Instead, it transformed him into a batlike humanoid with superhuman strength and an uncontrollable thirst for blood. Because he was a “science-based” vampire, crucifixes, garlic, Holy Water, etc had no effect on him. An object through the heart would kill him, though. Morbius was also featured in that recent movie and in the 1970s clashed with Blade the Vampire Slayer.

In the lead-up to the trial, Jennifer gets mocked by her usual rival – cocky Assistant District Attorney Dennis Bukowski, who will be prosecuting Morbius. Plus, her own father, Sheriff Morris Walters, disgustedly disowns her for representing a killer like Michael Morbius. (So, it never occurred to him that she might wind up defending some very unappealing people some day?)

jen waltersAt last the day of Morbius’ trial arrives. Tensions are high and remain high through the lengthy court case, with many families of his dead victims demonstrating outside the courthouse. Jennifer absorbs the resentment from the public as best she can and ultimately persuades the jury to find Morbius guilty of involuntary manslaughter instead of the 1st degree murder charge that Bukowski was trying for.

Michael will still go to prison, just not as long. To his credit, Morbius still feels that he deserves whatever bad things come his way for the rest of his life for the killings he committed while crazed for blood.   

Meanwhile, the mourning father who tried to stab Morbius last issue has teamed up with his wife to try to hire a hitman to kill Morbius for them. The first guy just takes their money and laughs at them, knowing they can’t complain to the police that they tried to hire a killer who tricked them.

gemini 2The second figure that the aggrieved parents recruit turns out to be the costumed supervillain called Gemini.

NOTE: This is not the original Gemini from the original supervillain team called Zodiac. This is the Gemini from the second supervillain team called Zodiac. That second team was formed by Nick Fury’s evil brother Jake, who was the costumed villain Scorpio from the original Zodiac team.

           After a few battles between Zodiac and the Avengers, Jake Fury was missing and presumed dead for years. He resurfaced as the creator of an all-new Zodiac team with different superpowers, but their attempt at world conquest was defeated by the Defenders, and Scorpio/ Jake Fury killed himself rather than be captured.

defenders 48Back to the story: Gemini has been lying low on the West Coast since fleeing S.H.I.E.L.D. custody following the 2nd Zodiac’s defeat at the hands of the Defenders (Hulk, Valkyrie, Nighthawk, Hellcat and Moon Knight).

Gemini can split into two separate bodies capable of functioning independently. One of them abducts Michael Morbius and the other abducts Jennifer Walters, whom the vigilante parents want dead for defending Morbius in court.

At a lonely cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the parents hold a “trial” of their own and declare Michael and Jen deserving of the death penalty. Morbius, not wanting Jennifer to suffer for defending him, leaps off the cliff, begging the parents to spare Jen since he is accepting their death sentence.

The vigilante parents are so far gone with their own hatred that they order their hireling Gemini to save Morbius from his fall so they can see him die at their own hands. With Gemini and the vengeful parents down below securing Morbius, the bound Jennifer has been left up by the cliff.

sh vs gShe is finally recovered enough from the chloroform that Gemini used when capturing her that she is able to turn into She-Hulk, who defeats Gemini and succeeds in making the vengeful parents realize their own approach is wrong. Morbius had a trial and will serve his sentence. Going beyond that is too much.

The parents sadly agree. They say that they used to live for their late daughter, then lived to see her killer punished and now will go on living for themselves.

Epilogue: She-Hulk reaches her home, turns back into Jennifer Walters and is greeted inside by Danny Ridge, who jokes around with her. She’s not in the mood and they argue again. Jen still can’t think of him as anything but the little boy she babysat for, but he’s in love with her.

Danny at last leaves, sad and angry. Jen mourns the potential loss of Danny as a friend and ponders her future.

*** And that’s She-Hulk’s first twelve adventures! If you want to know what came next:

— Richard Rory wound up blowing all his money, lost his radio station and moved to California to resume his relationship with Jennifer Walters.

— In a kinky touch, She-Hulk did not find Danny Ridge too young, and he became her romantic partner while Jennifer and Richard pursued their own romance.

— Jen’s problems with her father continued and he even pursued legal action against her to evict her from the family home. 

sh radius— She-Hulk continued accumulating her own Rogues Gallery of supervillain foes, like Microwave, the Grappler, the Man-Elephant, the Brute, Shade, Radius and others. Sales decreased to the point where the She-Hulk comic book was canceled with issue #25 (February 1982). In that final issue her father learned that Jennifer was She-Hulk and they reconciled.

— By this point She-Hulk had been cleared of murder charges and resolved to spend her life mostly as the She-Hulk and not Jennifer Walters. She eventually joined the Avengers and had other stretches of time with her own comic book series over the years.

FOR MY LOOK AT THE VERY FIRST APPEARANCE OF GAMORA CLICK HERE.

FOR MY LOOK AT THE EARLY STORIES OF THE SUPERHEROINE TIGRA CLICK HERE.

FOR MY LOOK AT SATANA THE DEVIL’S DAUGHTER CLICK HERE.

FOR MY LOOK AT THE 1970s ADVENTURES OF MANTIS WHEN SHE WAS WITH THE AVENGERS INSTEAD OF THE GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY CLICK HERE

15 Comments

Filed under Superheroes

15 responses to “SHE-HULK: HER FIRST TWELVE STORIES FROM THE 1980s

  1. DUDE!!!!!!!! HOW, HOW have I never heard of this!!!! I LOVED The Incredible Hulk when I was little. WHAT?!!! I think I’ve spent half my life under a rock! You just gifted tons of joy and a huge smile!!! Read bits there and there. Loved Your, “It’s a comic book. Go with it.” 🤣🤣🤣 Too awesome! Thank You for once again broadening my world, Captain Balladeer!!! Cheers and Rock on! 😃🤗

  2. ¿HASTA CUANDO…?

    PROXIMA HUELGA INDEFINIDA POR LA CENSURA EN WORDPRESS

  3. The depth into these comics is impressive every time, probably to many readers, and particularly, in some cases, to those with no previous exposure. As with many things, the ‘back story’ gives weight, or value.

  4. I’ve been keeping an eye on the upcoming “She-Hulk” series on Disney+ ― the CGI looks pretty bad in the trailers but I’m still planning to watch it, mainly because Jennifer Walters/She-Hulk is being played by Tatiana Maslany and she was amazing in “Orphan Black” and the recent “Perry Mason” series on HBO …

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s