She-Hulk Episode 2: The Weird MCU History of Abomination and Hulk
In episode 2 of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, Jennifer Walters (Tatiana Maslany), after losing her job as an assistant district attorney due to an incident of Hulking out in court, soon finds herself offered a new position with a firm that wants to defend enhanced humans and other super-powered beings. Desperate for a gig, she takes the job – and then finds out there are two caveats.
First, her boss wants her to perform her duties in her She-Hulk form, thinking it will serve as both great marketing and publicity that will attract clients and attention. Second, she is already assigned her first client: former Royal Marine Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth), known in both the Marvel print and screen universes as the Abomination.
Blonsky made his Marvel Comics debut in 1967 but first appeared on the screen in 2008’s The Incredible Hulk. Assigned to take down the Hulk by General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross (William Hurt), he first gains exceptional strength and speed when given a dose of super-soldier serum. When that is later combined with Bruce Banner’s gamma-radiated blood, Blonsky violently expands into the monstrous, reptilian, super-sized creature known as the Abomination.
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Hulk has only ever had one villain to himself. Called the Abomination (Tim Roth), the evil Hulk from 2008’s The Incredible Hulk eventually made his way into MCU continuity via Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. You know, despite fighting Ed Norton at first, instead of Mark Ruffalo. The MCU! What can you do.
Much like Spider-Man and Sony, Marvel shares the rights to solo Hulk films with Universal. It’s why the development of beloved stories like World War Hulk have stalled, plus, why one of the strongest Avengers has mostly been on the sidelines. However, Universal’s movie rights are set to expire in June 2023. It’s a good sign that Ruffalo and Roth have made so many cameos so far, because fans still remain hopeful that Disney will acquire the rights to the Hulk franchise, much like they did the X-Men and the Fantastic Four from Fox Studios.
Ready for his next outing, Tim Roth will be reprising his role as Emil Blonsky throughout the She-Hulk Disney+ series. Over just three appearances in the MCU so far since 2008, he’s had rock-like skin, saw fish fins added onto his head, and he’s been imprisoned multiple times. Is there a larger plan for the Abomination? Let’s explore the character’s apparent change of heart in Episode Two of She-Hulk.
Who Is the Abomination?
Emil Blonsky was originally the leader of a special forces team that was tasked by General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross to track down and capture the Hulk. In The Incredible Hulk, his team is easily defeated, and Blonsky agrees to undergo a similar process to what turned Bruce Banner big and green. After receiving advanced strength, speed, and durability, Blonsky slowly begins to lose his mind. Eventually, he injects himself with some of the Hulk’s blood, and his deformed skeleton grows into a monstrous beast called the Abomination. He rampages through Harlem, but Hulk is able to defeat him in a final showdown.
Following his arrest, the MCU didn’t see Blonsky back on the big screen until nearly 13 years later. In the meantime, Hulk joined the Avengers, was forced to fight in a coliseum on the planet Sakaar for the amusement of The Grandmaster, and even helped take down Thanos. When the Abomination made a cameo in Shang-Chi last year, he was not only seemingly free from his imprisonment, but also buddies with Wong from Doctor Strange. This cameo really confused fans. Even worse, his upcoming appearance in She-Hulk hasn’t made putting the pieces together any easier for us.
Why is The Abomination in Jail in She-Hulk?
As a lawyer for superhero-related cases, She-Hulk has defended many innocent heroes before in the comics. She’s set to have the same job in the She-Hulk series, tasked with defending Blonsky—a villain held in some kind of supermax prison. “He was built in to be such a big part of the show,” She-Hulk writer Jessica Gao told Comicbook.com about including Abomination. “Because everything in Marvel is connected, that was actually why he then was put in Shang-Chi because he was in our show. That way, it was kind of to seed him so that people can get excited but also remember him, and it kind of forced people to go, ‘Oh, I should go back and check in on him and remember who he is and what all of that was about.’
Blonsky appeared to have mellowed out in Shang-Chi, and yet here he is—back behind whatever superhero-repellent glass they always use that is strong enough to hold these guys back. He still seems pretty chill in She-Hulk, but we’re suspicious. If he’s in government custody once again by the end of the series, that also presents a window for him to appear in the supervillain-only team, The Thunderbolts, come Summer 2024. Kevin Feige, if you’re listening, a little rematch with the Hulk couldn’t hurt, either!