Hulk #2 comes at us with an emotional story that really caught me off guard – this is one of the better depression allegories I’ve read in quite some time.
Jen continues to re-integrate back into her life, and she references how normal things are beginning to feel again. Mariko Tamaki’s Jennifer Walters presents thoughts that examine her process of healing, and of her trying to keep the trauma and depression at bay. There’s a weary optimism as the pieces of her life start to fit together again.
The scene in the park was particularly powerful, and it presents a scenario that nearly every human can identify with: you’re having a fantastic day, and suddenly a small, nearly unnoticed event can bring everything to a crashing halt and just ruin your day. For someone trying to stifle the powers of a gamma-powered rage beast, this type of thing offers more peril than just a biting comment in the office.
This is where artist Nico Leon takes the forefront: the expressions of panic, terror, and anger that flash across Ms. Walter’s face are striking – the reader gets a jolt when Jen’s emotional state takes a sharp hit. That frantic energy coupled with the threat of a now truly savage She-Hulk establishes a powerful feeling of apprehension.
We also get to see more development in the Ms. Brewn part of the story, as Jen roasts the balls of the shitty landlord (figuratively speaking…thank God), and the mysterious figure talking to Brewn in the dark gets bolder.
This issue is better than the first as it strikes many emotional chords; as someone who has to take medication for depression and anxiety, I really identified with the conflicting feeling Jen is juggling, and how she is desperately trying to keep her demons at bay. Tamaki, in this issue, presents a tour de force. I hope this series can maintain this striking emotional core as it progresses.