Consider me among the fans disappointed that Charles Soule’s She-Hulk series will be cancelled in the new year. Where else are you going to find gripping courtroom drama written by a real, practicing attorney? At least involving superheroes?
I’ve always been interested in the legal profession ever since I discovered John Grisham novels as a wayward teen in my high school library. And while She-Hulk comics have had courtroom theatrics before, there has just been something special about Soule’s work that rings true. He makes all the legalese and complex legal problems entertaining and easy to understand, while mixing in some clever superhero angles to all of it, from Tony Stark’s lawyers to this story about somebody suing Captain America.
Soule’s voice is one of authenticity, and it has made this comic a critical darling.
But sales are sales, and She-Hulk will be cancelled. What a bummer.
At least She-Hulk #9 and the current storyline are really good. A death-bed accusation has led to civil charges against Steve Rogers (who is an old man now, due to losing the Super Soldier Serum in his veins). An old acquaintance from the 1930s claims that Steve got his brother killed by gangsters in LA. All three of them were being held captive, and Steve was trying to talk the gangsters into letting them go. But then the leader put a gun to Steve’s friend’s head and told Steve to shut up or he’d shoot – Steve didn’t shut up, and the guy pulled the trigger.
Now Steve is being sued by that man’s family for neglect and wrongful death.
He’s hired She-Hulk to take his case, and Shulkie’s legal team gathers around to try to win this one by the books – Steve won’t let her pull any technicalities, a rule that’s very frustrating to a lawyer. To make matters worse, Matt Murdock is representing the dead man’s family, and Steve personally asked Matt to take the case and do the best job possible.
There are many layers to this legal proceeding, and all of them are wonderfully juicy. There’s She-Hulk struggling to understand and win this case. It’s a lot of stress, and Soule writes it well, really digging into her mindset of nervous worry. It helps that her legal team is such a hoot! Not only is Hellcat on a secret mission for Steve, but Jen has been teamed up with Matt Rocks, a hot-shot attorney version of Jamie Madrox, the Multiple Man, and his team of paralegal duplicates. As a big Madrox fan, this cameo was a real hoot!
Speaking of cameos, Daredevil is pretty great in this storyline. He makes for a fine antagonist. He knows the law just as well as She-Hulk, and he’s got his own reasons to trying this case, reasons that are just as noble and important as Shulkie. It would be easy to be mad at Matt for taking the case, but when Soule reveals that Steve asked Matt to do it, all the pieces fall into place.
I know the art by Javier Pulido isn’t for everyone, but I’ve been a fan since I first saw him in Amazing Spider-Man. His work is clear and his characters can be very expressive. There’s also a cartoonish realism to his pencils that works for the courtroom scenes. The angels keep the story flowing smoothly, but the whole thing is rooted in what might actually happen in a courtroom. He’s also pretty great when it comes to She-Hulk’s facial expressions. Whether she’s confident, conflicted or lying through her teeth, Shulkie looks great.
I have really enjoyed Soule’s She-Hulk. As a practicing attorney, he knows the law better than anyone, and he brings a real ring of authenticity to the courtroom drama. He also knows how to spin a good yarn, turning a civil lawsuit against Steve Rogers into a twisty, complex drama with real stakes and real struggles. But the wallets have spoken and this series will soon be coming to an end.
At least we had issues like She-Hulk #9 to enjoy while we could.
Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Javier Pulido
Color Artist: Muntsa Vicente
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Rating – 8/10
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