She-Hulk: Why The Origin Of Jen Walters' Powers Was Altered For The MCU
A better fit.
Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is heading towards it's conclusion, with She-Hulk: Attorney-At-Law, the final series and second last entry in Phase Four overall, debuting the first of it's nine episodes. The series, starring Tatiana Maslany as Jennifer Walters/She-Hulk has earned mostly positive reviews so far, with both fans and critics praising the show for successfully capturing the feel of the She-Hulk character from the comics.
However, there is one way in which She-Hulk: Attorney-At-Law is not one hundred percent comic book accurate. While the reason why Jennifer Walters gains her She-Hulk powers is somewhat similar, the events surrounding her transformation have been significantly altered. In the past, fans have frowned upon the MCU changing the origins of other characters, such as Ms. Marvel, in the case of She-Hulk, the changes work.
Let's take a look back at She-Hulk's comic book origin, why it wouldn't have worked for the MCU, and why the changes better serve the MCU's story and version of the character.
She-Hulk's comic beginning
In the comics Jennifer Walters, aside from being the cousin and childhood confidant of Bruce Banner, is also the daughter of William Morris Walters, an L.A County Sheriff. William's activities as Sheriff regularly put him at odds with undesirables in the area, including local Crime Boss Nicholas Trask. As revenge against William for his interference in several plots, Trask has Jennifer shot.
Fortunately, the shooting coincides with Bruce visiting Jen to reveal his transformation into the Hulk as his reason for having kept his distance from her and her side of the family. As the cousins share a blood type, Bruce gives Jen an emergency transfusion of his own blood to keep her alive long enough to get her to the hospital. Later, when Trask's goons break into Jen's Hospital room to finish the job after word spreads of her survival, Jen discovers that the Gamma Radiation in Bruce's blood has given her the ability to transform into a Hulk-like creature herself. However, unlike Bruce, Jen retains her own personality and intelligence in She-Hulk form.
Why She-Hulk's comic origin wouldn't have worked for the MCU
In the comics, Bruce giving Jen a transfusion of his blood was a spur of the moment, Hail Mary decision made in the hope of saving his cousin's life. It is also important to note that, prior to the She-Hulk origin story, the comics had no precedent for what would happen to someone exposed to Bruce's Gamma Irradiated blood. Jen's transformation into She-Hulk was the first example of such an exposure occurring.
The MCU, however, does have unpleasant examples of what can happen to anyone exposed to Bruce's blood. In The Incredible Hulk, an elderly man falls gravely ill with Gamma sickness after drinking soda contaminated with Bruce's blood. Later in the film, an injection of Bruce's blood is responsible for transforming Emil Blonsky into The Abomination, as well as an accidental exposure to the blood mutating Samuel Sterns.
Bruce has seen the horrors that exposure to his blood can cause, and would never risk those things happening to someone he loved. Given the MCU's version of events, the idea of Bruce willingly giving Jennifer a transfusion of his blood doesn't make sense.
Why the MCU's Origin works better
She-Hulk: Attorney-At-Law introduces a new take on She-Hulk's origin. While undertaking a roadtrip with Bruce, the unexpected arrival of a Sakaran ship causes Jen to swerve and crash the car. While pulling Bruce free of the wreck, a drop of his blood enters a cut on Jen's arm, leading to her transformation into She-Hulk. Given what Bruce already knows about his blood in the MCU, having Jen become accidentally exposed is a much more plausible scenario than Bruce exposing her willingly through a transfusion. In fact, all that spared Jen from the tragedies of Blonsky and Sterns is the fact that she shares a rare genetic anomaly with Bruce that allows them to more easily metabolise Gamma.
Besides that, She-Hulk's comic origin has been looked upon unfavorably by modern reviewers for having Jen as somewhat of a bystander in the origin of her powers, needing a male savior in the form of Bruce before she can accomplish anything. The MCU origin removes any chance of that unfortunate interpretation, positioning Jen as the hero of her own story right from the start.
We can't wait to see what else the series has in store!
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