The Savage She-Hulk #1 (1980) – “The She-Hulk Lives” Retro Review

Written by: Stan Lee
Art by: John Buscema, Chic Stone, and Joe Rosen
Cover Price: 40¢
Release Date: February 10, 1980

I never really read much She-Hulk.  Being a DC guy, she wasn’t a character I knew much about especially since I didn’t even know a lot about the Hulk.  Well, now that we have started a Marvel podcast, I have found that I actually like She-Hulk way more than the Hulk and am glad that I have taken some time to get to know her.  For my first She-Hulk review, I’ve decided to go right to the beginning and review The Savage She-Hulk #1.  Here goes…

The issue opens with Bruce Banner arriving in Los Angeles hoping to find his cousin, Jennifer Walters.  Yep, this issue was “thrown out there” when Marvel got worried that CBS might debut a She-Hulk character on their Incredible Hulk television show and didn’t want anyone but them to have the rights so the Bruce Banner angle makes sense…plus, it is She-Hulk!


After finding her, Bruce tells his Hulk origin story (for those who didn’t know it yet), but the best part is meeting Jen.  She is smart (she’s a fancy lawyer), pretty and doesn’t take no guff!  We find out about the case she’s working on at the moment and while Bruce is worried about the consequences of defending a gangster in a murder trial, she isn’t so worried.  Well, she should be!

Jen and Bruce drive to her house but are ambushed by some thugs who shoot Jen down and while they get away, Bruce leaps into action.  Luckily, a doctor lives across the street and while he isn’t home, Bruce is able to break in a give Jen a transfusion.  Yep, right there in the guy’s at-home operating room!

While Bruce saves his cousin, she has unforeseen “consequences” of the transfusion.  It is no surprise that Bruce’s gamma-ray, Hulk blood causes Jen to Hulk out, but what is awesome is that she doesn’t lose her intelligence or herself at all.  Plus, she looks awesome!!!

It all happens when the hoods who tried to kill her return to finish the job.  All they do is trigger the first appearance of She-Hulk who spends most of the remaining panels chasing them and beating the crap out of them!  Jen gives the reader all the classics…ripping light poles out of the ground, destroying elevators, throwing tires.  The issue ends with Jen slipping back into the hospital as her normal self so that nobody is any the wiser of her brand new side persona.

This issue is a ton of fun.  You can’t help but love Jen from the get-go and even though things are a bit forced at times, I really enjoyed it.  I read it in the Marvel Masterworks book and David Anthony Kraft (who jumps in to write issue #2 and beyond) throws a bit of shade at this issue because of the forced nature and quick turnaround that made it happen.  I actually think Stan Lee did a great job for something so quick and John Buscema’s art is incredible.  Being a Marvel newb, I was not aware of how damn good he was.

Final Thoughts:

This was a great first issue of She-Hulk that hides the fact that it was rushed to press very well.  Yea, things are forced in a bit, but the reader learns enough about Jen Walters to fall in love with her and damn, does this issue look fantastic.  Don’t avoid this if you aren’t a fan of the Hulk, because this issue helps her stand on her on immediately.

9.4/10

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