she-hulk

Thicker Than Water

New She-Hulk footage finally fixes her bizarre origin story

Bruce Banner would know better.

Marvel Studios

She-Hulk was a hero born out of necessity. Stan Lee saw the success of The Incredible Hulk as a television series and feared the show would introduce a female version. So to get ahead of the curve, he decided to write one into the comics. That way, if a female Hulk was ever introduced to the series, Marvel Comics would own the rights.

Because of this, She-Hulk’s origin story wound up feeling pretty rushed. Within the first pages of Savage She-Hulk #1, Dr. Bruce Banner infuses his cousin with some of his blood after an injury, causing her to Hulk out. But the upcoming MCU series She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is taking another approach. Here’s what the revised history is — and why it’s so much better.

In Savage She-Hulk #1, a gunshot from a crime boss causes Jennifer Walters to bleed out mere moments after she realizes her cousin Bruce Banner is actually The Incredible Hulk. Working quickly, Banner takes her home and starts infusing his blood into hers after remembering they have the same blood type.

Bruce Banner is a scientist who has dedicated his life to gamma radiation, so logically, he’d realize his blood would have unwanted effects on Jennifer, right? Shouldn’t he have gone to the hospital instead? Blood banks had been around for decades, and irradiated blood could be just as dangerous as letting her bleed out — if not more so.

Bruce saves — and changes — his cousin’s life with a blood transfusion in Savage She-Hulk #1. Marvel Comics

In an exclusive featurette for Entertainment Tonight, there are images of Jennifer (Tatiana Maslany) and Bruce (Mark Ruffalo) getting into a car crash. Then Jennifer sees an eerie green substance coursing through her veins. In case it wasn’t clear that the origin story is totally different, Maslany says, “Jennifer Walters is an attorney who has accidentally taken in the Hulk's blood.”

The most important word here is “accidentally.”

Looking back, it’s obvious why the Marvel Cinematic Universe had to change her origin story. It may be a distant memory now, but in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk (which is technically canon, by the way), Edward Norton’s Bruce accidentally dropped some of his blood into a bottle of soda, causing the unsuspecting drinker — Stan Lee’s cameo character — to get gamma sickness.

Canonically, Bruce knows his blood is dangerous if ingested, so there’s no way he would ever purposefully give his cousin a transfusion.

Jennifer realizes she’s got Hulk blood in her veins in the ET featurette. Marvel Studios

So how does she accidentally “take in” Hulk blood? Somehow, the two are involved in a car crash, and she’s somehow exposed to Bruce Banner’s blood. Either his blood gets into one of her open wounds, or it gets in her mouth, nostrils, or eyes. Maybe it’s all of the above? In any case, it looks like Hulk blood operates under similar rules as zombie blood; The infection can get into your system in a myriad of ways. And for Jen, a car crash seemingly causes those unlikely circumstances.

Bruce seems unconscious in the shots that are shown, which is a bit odd. Typically, injuries trigger his transformation into Hulk. But the status quo has been a bit wonky ever since Avengers: Infinity War when Hulk and Bruce went through some personal issues. In his Bruce form, however, that just means he’s that much more likely to bleed — and bleed a lot. Depending on the severity of the crash, it’s totally possible that there are enough injuries and blood to cross-contaminate superpowers.

It’s a wildly unlikely coincidence, to be sure, but it’s still more believable than the world’s most brilliant biochemist pumping his own dangerously irradiated blood into an unsuspecting cousin.

She-Hulk: Attorney at Law premieres on Disney+ on August 17.