She-Hulk: Attorney at Law episode 1 debuted on Disney Plus today, and it may have answered an age-old question related to the character: is She-Hulk stronger than the Hulk?
The first episode of the show rushes through the character’s origin story — rather than Jessica Walters undergoing a blood transfusion using her cousin Bruce Banner’s blood, which is how she becomes She-Hulk in the comics, the pair are involved in a car accident that sees her ingesting a lethal dose of Hulk blood instead. From there, Banner whisks her to a beachside retreat he developed alongside Tony Stark, which is where he learned to control his alter-ego and become “Smart Hulk.”
However, Jessica picks up the whole Hulk thing a lot faster than her cousin did, with no alter-ego being present in her transformation. Unlike Banner, who had to learn how to suppress the Hulk side of him in order to become Smart Hulk, Jessica almost immediately gets into the swing of things. Her swift transition to becoming a fully-functioning Hulk also leads to her wanting to immediately retreat to her lawyer life, which is when she gets involved in a physical confrontation with her cousin. It’s She-Hulk vs. Hulk, but who comes out on top in episode 1?
Is She-Hulk stronger than Hulk in the MCU?
She-Hulk appears to be a number of steps ahead of the regular Hulk in the first episode of Attorney at Law, to the point where she’s arguably stronger than her cousin. When Bruce is showing Jessica through a number of training exercises, she seems to handily outdo him, and in their fight she frequently gains the upper hand.
One pivotal moment shows Hulk knocking her off her feet with his Thunderclap. At first, she struggles to recreate the iconic move, but quickly manages to pull off an even stronger version of her own. The fight ends with neither She-Hulk nor Hulk properly getting the better of the other, as they both destroy the bar during their scuffle — though it’s clear that Jessica matches Banner’s strength despite her having spent little time as a Hulk.
The reality is that the original Hulk character has had his strength considerably reduced compared to his portrayal in the comics. In the comics, She-Hulk herself concedes that Banner’s Hulk is stronger than her — in World War Hulk #1, she states that Hulk “smashes about a thousand times harder” than her. She’s also beaten by her cousin in Immortal Hulk, despite her having received a substantial power increase during this comic run. In the MCU, Mark Ruffalo’s take on the Hulk has been a complete side-character and mainly used as comic relief.
There are still a number of episodes to go in the She-Hulk: Attorney at Law series, so Banner’s Hulk could still show that he’s the stronger of the two. However, considering that She-Hulk doesn’t really have a reason to fight her cousin again, it’s arguably unlikely that the two will square up again.