Attorney at Law Gets Savagely Self-Referential

ytsfreeSeptember 3, 2022

In She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, the Marvel Cinematic Universe series currently streaming on Thursdays on Disney+, it’s no secret that the exploits of Tatiana Maslany’s Jen Walters, A.K.A. She-Hulk, are inspired by the appearances she has made in the panels of Marvel Comics. However, while many Marvel Comics runs of She-Hulk have informed the show, there are quite a few elements of the TV adaptation that are directly inspired by the character’s debut run, The Savage She-Hulk by David Anthony Kraft and Mike Vosburg, and this week’s episode was all about cheeky references to the Jade Giantess’s 2D intro to the Marvel Universe.

As the story goes, Stan Lee had received word that due to the success of The Incredible Hulk and The Bionic Woman television series that Hollywood executives were planning to create a female version of the Hulk. But Lee, who wanted to ensure that any rights to a female Hulk would remain with Marvel, quickly developed a new member of Gamma irradiated family to grace the pages of Marvel Comics, She-Hulk, debuting in 1980’s The Savage She-Hulk.


One of the most obvious allusions to The Savage She-Hulk in the MCU adaptation was a line of dialogue in the third episode of the series, “The People vs. Emil Blonsky.” As Jen is leaving the location where her client, Emil Blonsky, is being incarcerated, several reporters surround her. One of them asks if her powers were the result of a “Mafia hit gone wrong,” a reference to the first issue of Savage She-Hulk, written by Stan Lee and illustrated by John Buscma and Chic Stone, the origins of the Marvel Comics incarnation of She-Hulk are revealed. In this issue, Bruce Banner is visiting his cousin, Jen Walters, in Los Angeles. Soon, a pair of mafia hit-men shoot Walters, who is working on a case against their boss. In order to save her life, Banner must perform an emergency blood transfusion, giving her the powers of She-Hulk in the process.

Related: Marvel’s Best Live-Action TV Shows, Ranked

She-Hulk’s Dennis Bukowski Is a Deep Cut

But there are more references to Savage She-Hulk in the show. In Savage She-Hulk #2 by David Anthony Kraft, Mike Vosburg, Chic Stone, Costanza, and Sharen, the title’s supporting cast is introduced. This includes Dennis “Buck” Bukowski, an assistant district attorney. While he becomes a more reasonable person later on in the series, he begins as an arrogant chauvinist who causes many problems for Jen and She-Hulk.

In She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, Bukowski is played by Drew Matthews. In the third episode of the first season, “The People vs. Emil Blonsky,” Matthews seeks representation from Shulkie’s new firm after a shape-shifting Asgardian Light Elf grifts him.

In the final scenes of “The People vs. Emil Blonsky,” She-Hulk is confronted by the Wrecking Crew, who have been sent in order to acquire a sample of her blood. While this could lead to many possible subplots, its worth noting that the Savage She-Hulk features a long-term story in which a blood sample from She-Hulk is stolen and ultimately used to transform friend-of-a-friend Ralphie Hutchins into a series of antagonistic monsters.


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