Over a decade has now passed since The Incredible Hulk was released in 2008 and marked the only appearance of Edward Norton's Bruce Banner. The early MCU blockbuster sent Banner on the run from the government who were hot on his tail as Thunderbolt Ross sought after the Hulk.
But ultimately Tim Roth's Emil Blonsky, aka Abomination, proved to be the climactic threat as the soldier, became a monster after taking a super-soldier serum in his struggle to take on the Hulk. Years may have passed since then - in which time Mark Ruffalo has replaced Norton as Banner - but Phase 4 has brought about the long-awaited return of Abomination.
The Incredible Hulk villain was originally promised to return in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law and even made a surprise cameo in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings as Abomination took on Wong in the ring of an underground fight club. After making many appearances in the marketing run-up to the Disney+ series, Abomination finally returned to the MCU with the latest episode.
Warning - The rest of this article contains spoilers for She-Hulk: Attorney at Law Episode 2.
Obviously, Abomination is currently behind bars for his past destructive actions, and with Jennifer Walters, aka She-Hulk, having been hired to lead the superhuman law division at GLK&H, the lawyer-turned-superhero was assigned Blonsky as her first client. Despite some resistance, she eventually agreed to meet with him, and their interaction led to some surprising revelations.
How She-Hulk Sets Up Abomination's Twist
The interaction between Walters and Blonsky in She-Hulk Episode 2 led to a major departure from his first appearance The Incredible Hulk, as the veteran soldier was portrayed as a victim of the government as opposed to an all-out villain. Blonsky points out that not only was he following orders and had his actions impacted by the super-soldier serum, but he also believed he was taking out a threat:
Blonsky: "He was the Hulk, wasn't he? You know I tried to kill him, so let's get that out the way. It wasn't personal really. I was under direct orders from your government."
Walters: "But then you went on a destructive rampage in Harlem, that wasn't sanctioned by the government."
Blonsky: "Yeah because they pumped me full of that super-soldier serum."
Walters: "The serum that the government gave you caused your subsequent actions?"
Blonsky: "I was a highly decorated soldier. You know I was sent on a mission to take out a threat. I thought I was the good guy. I thought I was going to be Captain bloody America. And now that very threat, your cousin, is held up as some kind of hero, and I'm locked up in here. Where's the justice in that Jen?"
Blonsky also revealed the journey he has been on over the last 16 years to "[transform] himself" both physically and spiritually as he now chooses not to turn into the Abomination:
Blonsky: "You won't be seeing much of him about, I've completely transformed myself. Physically, obviously, but also spiritually."
Walters: "Does that mean that you can't turn into the Abomination anymore or that you won't?"
Blonsky: "No, no. It means that I choose not to. I'm simply Emil now, Russian-born, British-raised, Royal Marines Commando on loan to the US government."
The previously portrayed villain went on to share the remorse he feels for his actions, having written poems to each of his victims to express regret, of which Bruce Banner received one:
Walters: "I understand your point. But the parole board's going to need to know you feel some remorse for your actions to even consider release."
Blonsky: "Absolutely I do. I have here various haiku I've written to each of my victims expressing the sorrow."
But is Blonsky telling the truth?
Where is She-Hulk Taking Abomination?
While Blonsky can wax poetic about how he has reformed, at the end of the day, he still lied about his situation.
A news report from later in the episode references the events of Shang-Chi as Abomination was shown taking on Wong in the Golden Daggers Club - a fight that was filmed in hilarious fashion. The reporter described Abomination as having broken out of prison, and yet Shang-Chi already confirmed Wong was the one to have freed him from his cell.
Emil made it clear to Jen that he had given up his Abomination persona, yet his recent cameo on the big screen suggests that he isn't ready to leave his alter ego behind just yet. Why would he need to participate in underground fighting rings if he'd truly gone straight?
Blonsky could have simply pulled a ruse to convince Jen to get him off the hook, but maybe that's just what She-Hulk's final moments wanted viewers to think.
One question that is raised, for example, is why the Sorcerer Supreme is now so close with Abomination to the point he broke him out of prison to take him to a criminal fight club? That question will undoubtedly be answered next week as Wong presumably enters the picture, but the sorcerer putting his trust in Blonsky may indicate his story to be at least partially legitimate and not a fully concocted narrative.
She-Hulk could be setting Blonsky up to me more of an anti-hero in the MCU going forward, wanting to reform but constantly being sucked back into self-destructive (and destructive in general) tendencies.
Perhaps the reason behind the change may be down to 2024's Thunderbolts, of which Abomination is expected to be a member. The MCU has already made a point of redeeming some morally questionable members of the team including Zemo, Taskmaster, US Agent, and now Abomination, possibly in the hopes of making them likable protagonists.
Whatever the plan for Abomination may be, trailers have already shown Emil Blonsky leading a support group for super-powered individuals. With that in mind, Walters will clearly find a way to ensure his release from prison that leads to him continuing his transformative journey in the free world. Or maybe this is all a ruse that will force She-Hulk to take on Abomination by the end of the season.
The first two episodes of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law are streaming now, exclusively on Disney+.