by Spencer Irwin
This article will contain SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
Recovering from a traumatic incident is a process that never quite ends. One can’t expect to ever be the exact same person again that they once were before the incident; instead, they have to learn to move forward and live with their new status quo. That seems to be the point Jen Walters has reached in Mariko Tamaki and Georges Duarte’s Hulk 7 — having come to terms with the fact that her life has changed, Jen’s now looking to figure out what, exactly, these changes mean and how they’ll fit into her life going forward.
Of course, Jen being Jen, her “changes” involve a transformation into a giant gray monster, and of course, Jen being Jen, she prefers to work out her issues through some gratuitous destruction rather than a trauma support group.
I love how Tamaki and Duarte don’t seem to condemn Jen’s decision to do so. It helps that she’s procured a location where she can Hulk-Out to her heart’s desire with no consequences, but even so, Jen understands her own mind and emotions, and knows what will work best for her. After the events of the first storyline, Jen’s come to terms with the fact that the she’ll “always be Hulk.” So now she has to figure out what it means to be this version of the Hulk; how it works, how it affects her emotions, and perhaps most importantly, how it fits into her work.
That’s where Oliver comes in. In the first storyline, Maise Brewn was an obvious reflection of Jen at that point in her journey: a woman whose life was stolen from her by trauma. Now that Jen’s moved forward, Oliver seems set to take over that role: he’s a man who’s become a monster over which he has little control and even less understanding. If Jen can help Oliver deal with the monster within, maybe she can do the same for herself.
However this pans out, it’s sure to be just the next step in Jen’s journey of recovery. Thankfully, Hulk 7 proves that this is a journey that doesn’t need to be endlessly traumatic or depressing. In many ways this is a notably lighter issue; Jen’s still cranky, but she doesn’t seemed as troubled, and is even rekindling her friendship with Hellcat. If the road to recovery is one that never quite ends, at least it’s good to know that it does get easier as it goes.
The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?