This article contains spoilers for episode one of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law
Of the original Avengers, Hulk seemed to be the most tragic. Exposed to radiation against his will, forced to transform into an uncontrollable beast, hunted down by his girlfriend’s father. Things seemed rough for ol’ Bruce Banner. But after Avengers: Endgame, Bruce seems in better shape than the other five. Sure, Steve got to go back in time and get that dance, but now in his twilight years, he’s spending a lot more time spreading haemorrhoid cream on America’s ass. Clint’s past keeps preventing him from even enjoying a delightful Broadway musical. And Tony and Natasha are, well, dead.
In contrast, Bruce found a way to combine his two personas, allowing himself to be the most outgoing and gregarious version of his Banner persona while keeping his jade muscles. The only downside? A seemingly permanently disabled arm, broken after using the Infinity Stones to snap half of the world back into existence.
The first episode of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law catches up on Bruce’s life after Endgame and, all things considered, it’s even better. We first meet him again as Banner instead of “Smart Hulk”, riding in the car with his cousin Jen Walters, where he reveals a special device that allows him to control his transformations. After watching his cousin Jen Walters hulk out, a side effect of his gamma-irradiated blood mingling with hers during a car accident, Banner whisks her away to a secret lab on the Mexican coast.
As he helps Jen make sense of her new powers, Banner explains that he and Tony built the lab together — which explains the adjacent tiki bar. During the five year blip, Banner absconded to the lab to work out his problems with “the big guy,” who refused to come out after getting pummled by Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War. In one of the show’s genuinely whistful moments, he thinks back on the good times he had with his old friends, drinking with Tony and making fun of Steve.
Despite these looks backward, the episode also gives us a look at the Hulk’s MCU future. Thanks to the unique nature of Jen’s infection, Banner could use her blood to repair his broken arm, no longer needing the cast he had been wearing. And that may be good news, as he may be called into action again by the people of Sakaar, last seen in Thor: Ragnarok. In fact, it’s the sudden appearance of the Sakaaran space ship that causes Bruce and Jen to have their fateful crash. Also, there’s the matter of investigating the signal sent by Shang-Chi’s rings, as shown in the post-credit sequence to Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
In short, while his fellow founding Avengers have moved on to other things, Hulk remains an active part of the superhero world. And while Jen seems to have mastered the art of being a Hulk with much less difficulty, she’ll be sure to need her gamma-powered cousin sooner rather than later.