Rarely has the ‘Essential’ label been less appropriately applied. 1980-1982’s She-Hulk series is only really of interest for those who want to see where their favourite, Jen Walters, originated. Of all the female heroes introduced in the period 1977-1980 to secure Marvel’s copyrights, She-Hulk’s stories are the worst, and the others aren’t exactly good.

Stan Lee and John Buscema provide an origin story that is at least serviceable, if not particularly great, and that first issue provides Buscema’s nice cover, which certainly is a striking image. After that, David Anthony Kraft and Mike Vosburg take over, and it’s hard to escape the conclusion of a reviewer for a previous incarnation of Slings and Arrows that neither particularly cares about what they are doing. Vosburg’s artwork is competent, but never anything much more than that. Kraft’s stories are not particularly interesting, and his villains are pedestrian, or ludicrous, or often both. The worst example of a villain is the particularly rubbish Man-Elephant. She-Hulk gets framed for murder, angsts a lot, threatens to really show the world what she’s like, and goes through a lot of identical dresses (see sample image). The run does slightly improve towards the end, with hints of the character that She-Hulk would become under the rather more skilful stewardship of John Byrne, and later Dan Slott. But even the best stories here aren’t really very good.

Subsequently to this, and with even less justification, this material was given the Marvel Masterworks treatment. Volume 2 of that includes one story that’s omitted here, a team-up with the Thing, but as that is probably the worst She-Hulk story ever, its absence here is no loss.

In general, don’t bother.