Another All-New Marvel Now title launches, and this time it’s one of my favourite characters in all of comics, She-Hulk. I’m a big Shulkie fan, and in fact, I would say I prefer her to her more famous, incredible, indestructible cousin. Dan Slott’s run with the character is one of my favourite series’ ever, and I also enjoyed Peter David’s more serious run. I fell off track with She-Hulk during the introduction of Red She-Hulk and Savage She-Hulk, but after a fun tenure as a member of the FF, this relaunch takes Jennifer Walters back to what she does best for me, being a superhero lawyer that, unlike Daredevil, actually does some lawyering from time to time.
This first issue reminds me a lot of Slott’s tenure, but I think Charles Soule brings enough of his own take to it that it doesn’t feel like a rip-off. Soule’s sense of humour is different than Slott’s, and most interestingly of all, Soule himself is an actual New York City Attorney, so even though the storyline here is full of made up superhero guff, he knows the actual law behind it, and can make it all feel real, even with a 7-foot tall green woman in the middle of it.
The issue begins with She-Hulk in her day job as an Attorney for Paine & Luckberg LLP, about to receive her yearly review and find out just how big her bonus is. One thing I did notice throughout this issue was that, even when in her day job, She-Hulk was staying green, can she not go back to just being Jen Walters anymore? Did I miss something? She-Hulk goes in for her review in a very confident state of mind, she’s put in nearly 3,000 billable hours after all. But surprisingly, she’s not getting a bonus at all this year. Why is this? Well, she wasn’t actually hired to be an Attorney, she was hired more for her superhero connections, so she could get Paine & Luckberg working with the likes of Tony Stark, Reed Richards and Danny Rand. These two douchebag bosses aren’t valuing Jen as a Lawyer, just as a superhero. She-Hulk is understandably pissed at this, so before they can fire her, she quits, and then comes back in to destroy their priceless Madripoor table with a single finger.
Now without a job, Jen goes to drown her sorrows in a bar, and because this is a ‘lawyer bar’, she is approached by a woman who needs legal help. It turns out that She-Hulk is uniquely qualified to help this woman out, as the man she is trying to sue is Tony Stark. The woman is the widow of Dr Jonas Harrow (an old Spider-Man villain who was killed by The Hood in Bendis’ New Avengers), and Harrow is alleging that Tony Stark stole the idea of Repulsor Technology from him. She-Hulk heads to Stark Tower to talk to Tony, but as soon as she mentions the word ‘lawsuit’, she is directed to ‘Legal’, who turns out to be a lone, creepy bald man who pretty much stops Jen in her tracks and tells her not to waste her time with this case. The best scene here was Legal’s history of the various Stark companies, which was not only funny, but true, and shows the kind of accuracy Soule is going for in this book. Most people don’t want to remember Stark-Fujikawa or Stark Solutions, but the law has to, and so does Soule. Jen is not perturbed however, and does decide to go to court, but Legal is once again ahead of her and is able to delay and change the proceedings, mostly because of She-Hulk’s relationship with Tony.
You can see what the clear theme of this series is going to be, and it’s how Jen Walters is able to balance being a Lawyer with her superhero life. She’s fired for not leaning on her connections at the start of the issue, and then when she does try to, it gets her in even more trouble. First, Legal is able to use it against her, and later, after finding an important piece of evidence in Harrow’s garage and taking it back to Tony, she gets into a fight with some Robots. Even fellow Avengers can’t get a face to face when the law is involved. After fighting her way through the Robots (interestingly, this fight is entirely off-panel, there’s almost no action in this issue), Jen finally gets to meet with Tony and show him that Stark Industries really did steal from Harrow and get him to write the widow a big fat cheque.
Earlier in the issue, Legal says he is neither good nor bad, only legal, and that applies to Tony Stark here, he’s not the villain of the story, but his outsourcing was, the person who stole the Repulsor idea in the first place was a corrupt employee he never met and was later fired. Soule is not going to have She-Hulk go up against traditional super-villains here, and that’s very exciting indeed. The issue ends with She-Hulk back at the bar, where she is once again met by Mrs Harrow, who writes her lawyer a generous cheque herself, which allows Jen to set up her own Law Firm where she can just get on with the job.
Javier Pulido’s art is a huge part of why this comic worked, he’s got a great, classic style that fits the more comedic moments perfectly, but he can also do action if it ever comes to that. He gives She-Hulk a lot of personality in her face and body language, and you buy her as both a superhero and an attorney. His layouts are also exciting and different throughout, and, much like Soule’s writing, the attention to detail is spot on, such as the newly-rich Mrs Harrow sporting a trendier haircut at the end of this issue. Kevin Wada’s excellent cover also demonstrates the central theme and conflict of the character, with Lawyer Jen sheepishly walking out of a hole in the shape of She-Hulk.
Make no mistake, this is not a traditional superhero comic, as I said, there is little to no action here. Instead, this is a legal drama in a superhero world. If you liked Dan Slott’s run, definitely check this out, and if you (or someone else you know) is a fan of TV shows like The Good Wife, then this is in that same wheelhouse. I can’t wait to see what future cases Soule has in store for She-Hulk, this issue was only the beginning.