Hulk may have far more experience in his superhero career than his cousin She-Hulk, but she learned a valuable lesson faster than he ever could.
Warning: Spoilers for She-Hulk #10Arguably the biggest distinction that separates the Hulk from his cousin She-Hulk is their stance on sidekicks. Both characters have had various characters as allies in their supporting cast, but only one of these characters has had a sidekick. While She-Hulk has never had a sidekick, the Hulk notoriously had Rick Jones as his right-hand man for years.
In addition to being Bruce Banner’s best friend, Rick Jones was an active participant on the battlefield, often during major Marvel events like the Kree-Skrull War. The same can’t be said for any of Jennifer Walters’ best friends, or any of her non-superhero friends for that matter. For the entirety of her nearly 45 years of existence in the Marvel Universe, She-Hulk has never had an actual sidekick. Not even She-Hulk’s current best friend, Hellcat, has officially become a sidekick for Jennifer in her hero career.
Why She-Hulk Has Never Had a Sidekick
Her lack of sidekicks is actually a deliberate choice on behalf of She-Hulk, according to an excerpt from She-Hulk #10 by Rainbow Rowell and Takeshi Miyazawa. The issue begins with Jen mourning over Jack of Hearts, presumed dead following the events of the previous issue’s ending. She and Jack started off merely partnering together, which quickly turned into friendship, which even more quickly turned into a romance. Seeing how this developing romance evolved into peril for her lover, She-Hulk says to herself, “This is why I go it alone. I can’t stand the collateral damage.”
This really puts into perspective the biggest downside to heroes having sidekicks. Sidekicks either force the hero to put someone else in danger, or sidekicks are simply a far more expendable version of the main hero, always prone to tragedy. It’s a common trope at this point, ranging as far as Bucky dying on Steve Rogers’ watch, or a handful of Robins dying on Batman’s watch over at DC. Even Rick Jones has knocked on death’s door a multitude of times while working beside the Hulk.
She-Hulk is aware of the average sidekick’s bad luck, and not just as a hero in the line of duty. Her status as a frequently meta hero adds validity to her statement. She especially recognizes how expendable they are because She-Hulk is always hyper-self-aware of her comic book surroundings, tropes and all. Until Jack of Hearts came into her heart, She-Hulk knew that having a sidekick was always a bad idea, but this looks like a lesson that her cousin Hulk still struggles to learn.
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