As part of All-New Marvel Now!, this month we see the debut of a new She-Hulk series, by writer Charles Soule and artist Javier Pulido.  My thoughts on issue #1 (SPOILERS, naturally):

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Before the story gets underway, we get a one-page montage that would give anyone unfamiliar with the She-Hulk a little bit of who she is and what she's like: super-strong, double tough, fearless, fun-loving, and kind-hearted.  Good job.

The story opens with Jennifer Walters AKA She-Hulk awaiting her first performance review from the law firm of Paine & Luckberg, anticipating it will go well because she brought 2800 billable hours to the firm, which, in her words, means they "must have made a million bucks off me".  She is dismayed to learn that not only is she not getting a bonus as she expected, but also that she was hired for her connections to the super-hero community, not her abilities as a lawyer.  The icing on the cake is that she was never informed of this; "we always hope associates understand certain things without being told".  An insulted Jen informs her bosses she isn't about to exploit her friends to make these guys more money, and she quits, with a humorous exclamation point - breaking a $50,000 table with one finger.

Jen goes to a bar where other lawyers are hanging out.  She is approached by a woman named Holly Harrow, who had been talking to other lawyers there and been turned away by all of them.  She claims her dead husband's work was stolen by someone and wants to sue.  Jen reads over her papers and says she won't take the case, but she will talk to the guy because she knows him.  The guy Holly Harrow wants to sue is Tony Stark!

Jen goes to Stark Tower and gets a warm welcome until she mentions she is there in regards to a lawsuit.  She is sent to the 18th floor and meets "Legal", a nameless lawyer who almost talks her to death and lets her know she won't get a chance to talk to Tony.  Angered, Jen decides she will take the case after all.

Did I mention the late husband is criminal scientist Dr. Jonas Harrow?

"Legal", with unlimited resources at his disposal, plays hardball and is going to go to every length to have the case tied up forever.  Jen manages to find proof that Harrow did try to sell an invention to a Stark subsidiary in California and a crooked executive stole the idea, leaving Harrow out in the cold.  Harrow was paranoid and secretly recorded every meeting he ever had with anyone; Jen finds a recording proving Harrow got screwed.  The invention made the company $80 million.  The executive had been fired for embezzlement (unrelated to the Harrow situation) and Tony was unaware of what had been done to Harrow.  Jen, after fighing off some robots (she was considered a hostile presence at Stark Tower because of the lawsuit), gives a great speech about how Tony could let his legal department keep this tied up for years.  That's what an average billionaire would do; but Tony is not average, he is Tony Stark, and she knows he will do right by Harrow's widow.

A grateful Holly Harrow gives Jen a healthy payment for what she did, and Jen uses the money to open her own law office.

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Soule, in addition to writing comics, is a lawyer by trade.  This serves him well here, as he quite clearly knows his legal stuff.  At times it's almost a little too much with the lawyer jargon, but Soule knows when to pull back and give the reader an enjoyable story.  The interactions with the other lawyers have a layer of comedy to them as Jen seems to be the only lawyer in the story with a soul.  The other lawyers don't see themselves that way; my favorite line in the book is "I am neither bad nor good.  I am simply Legal."  I'm hoping we see Legal again, he's a hoot.

Soule writes a great Jen: smart, tough, and true to herself.  She knows when to use her brain and her brawn, and the reader can tell this is someone who never gives up.  She isn't worried that Holly Harrow, wife of a criminal, is up to no good and it's nice to see she doesn't pay a price for trusting Holly.  The story concludes with a happy ending for Holly and her kids, and a happy new beginning for Jen.  Having this be a done-in-one is a treat.

Pulido's art is cartoony without being manga-esque and it's a style that has served She-Hulk well in the past.  A lot of the panels reminded me of one of my favorite artists, Marco Martin.  There's a lot of talk and not much action in the story but Pulido does a great job keeping it all interesting.

Overall, a great start to a new series.

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ClarkKent_DC said:

Instead, she knocks off early ("See you tomorrow, Angie! Great first day!" "But it's only 4 o'clock!" "Yuuup! See you tomorrow!" and has a girl's night out with Patsy Walker. The lapsed continuity freak in me shouted "Wasn't she dead?" but then I remembered seeing her in the Models Inc. miniseries. I wondered briefly how Jen would know Patsy, but in this world where everybody and her sister is an Avenger, it's no surprise they do know each other.

Well, there's lots of ways their paths could have crossed.  Everyone seemed to be around and interact for Civil War and Secret Invasion, and both of them were in Avengers: The Initiative, although I can't recall if they interacted there.  But they do have a bit of a history together:

In the 2008 Hulk series, She-Hulk formed a new team of Lady Liberators consisting of the Invisible WomanStorm, Valkyrie, ThundraSpider-WomanTigra, Black Widow, and Hellcat to discover the identity of the Red Hulk and get vengeance on him for her humiliating defeat against him.

(from wikipedia)

Pulido's art reminds me a lot of Marcos Martin;s work, especially the scene where Jen's new landlady takes her on a tour of the building.  Bonus points to an artist who can draw several different female characters and make them look distinctive.  Patsy didn't look like a shorter Jen; Angie Huang doesn't either.  Chris Fluit talked about the art in the current X-Factor series in Cap's guide this week and said:

In the latest issue, there are two key antagonists and they both look exactly alike, right down to the goatee.  The art is so sketchy that it almost looks unfinished in places.  And the color has been so flat that it's sometimes hard to distinguish foreground from background.

I agree with all of that, and I'm glad this book isn't like that.

 

I remember something from Mort Walker's* Backstage at the Strips: A comic strip artist ought to be able to know and understand his characters so well that he can draw them in silhouette, and the reader can still tell them apart. Javier Pulido did just that, in the scene where Jen and Patsy are dancing in the club.

There are a lot of artists -- even well-known and well-regarded artists -- who couldn't pass that test. The ones who can, like Javier Pulido, are a cut above.

* Artist/writer of the Beetle Bailey comic strip.

I remember Jim Lee talking about the Justice League's silhouette during the New 52 redesign, giving that as part of the reason for bulking Cyborg up -- he wanted each member of the team to have a distinctive silhouette. 

She-Hulk #3!

Just to get that out of the way ... !

Our story begins outside 26 Federal Plaza, where Jennifer and her client are surrounded by Doombots. They intone: "Jennifer Walters! You seek to evade the all-seeing eye of Doom, but your petty, pathetic attempts at disguise have failed." "Your client shall not see a courtroom this day." "Release the son of Victor von Doom to us, and you will not be harmed." "Or persist with this insult, and we will level the city and take him in any case." "CHOOSE!"

Next page is a recap of what went on before, leading to the story proper. Jennifer interviews Kristoff, who comes across as a bored Eurotrash prince, which he is. She asks, reasonably, why me? I'm good, but I'm a small firm. He tells her she's the 15th place he's been to.

Jennifer: "Fif ... teenth."

Kristoff: "Indeed. One fellow actually vomited upon hearing my father's name."

Well, yeah -- would YOU want to be the lawyer who opposed Dr. Doom in court?

Kristoff continues, "Eventually, however, I was given your name. I believe the idea was that you might possess more fortitude than the average member of your profession. And now that I have met you, I see that there is nothing average about you at all."

"Are you ... was that ... did you just hit on me?"

"Eh. Probably."

Jen decides to go out for coffee, with Kristoff in tow, and there's a nice panel of the two of them in line at The Coffee Bean, showcasing Javier Pulido's skills. People standing in line -- just about all of them glued to smartphones.

Jen explains that to successfully be granted asylum, Kristoff has to show "a well-founded fear of persecution" if he goes back home and that being in the U.S. is the only way to escape it. Kristoff tells he that Doom wants to perpetuate his rule through Kristoff, not let him be his own man. So Jen takes the case. Kristoff's satchel full of Laverian francs sweetens the deal. (Francs? Not deutschmarks? In any event, definitely not euros, "Father refused to go euro -- he's not a joiner.")

Back at the office, Jen asks Kristoff, how long have you been in the States? "About a year, I believe." "About a year, or a year?" He thumbs through his passport -- "Mmm. Exactly a year. It seems I entered the U.S. one year ago today."

"WHAT?" Jen jumps up and drags Kristoff. "Time to go!"

Outside, as they try to hail a cab, Jen explains that there's a one-year window to file an asylum claim. "If we don't get your petition in today, that path is closed to us." Fortunately, Kristoff has a car and driver. Even more fortunately, Jen has a friendly judge she can call to get on her docket: "I saved her niece from skrulls once. She should be able to get us in today."

Unfortunately, the driver is a Doombot, and he's taken them to the airport! Jen takes him out pretty easily, but now it's 4:30, and "There's not a judge in the world who'll stay past five." What to do? Well, since they are at the airport, Jen goes to a hangar and gets one of Reed Richards' old Fantasticars! Good, but Kristoff notes that Doom surely will have sent other 'bots to the courthouse. But Jen has a plan ... !

Which brings us to the start. Jen starts the battle and "Kristoff," buried under gloves, a hoodie, scarf and boots, runs off, but a Doombot grabs the scarf! only to find, it's not Kristoff -- it's Hellcat! She joins the battle, and after the Doombots are defeated, she asks Jen if Angie and Kristoff made it in. "Yeah, I saw them go in while we had the Doombots distracted." "Cool. But, um, shouldn't you get in there? Tick tock, right?"

So, she does. Jen pleads for Kristoff and promises to have the appropriate forms filed first thing Monday. The judge asks, "Mr. Vernard, how can being asked to rule a nation be considered persecution?" He answers, "When you do not wish to rule, Your Honor. When you are given no choice, he might as well be condemning me to prison."

"Does the government have any objections?" the judge asks. Nope. "Hey, the guy had to get past a pile of killer robots outside the courthouse -- ones sent by his dad -- just to get here to make his claim. No objections. I'm good."

"Asylum granted."

But then -- Doom himself smashes through the ceiling and, over Jen's protestations, whisks Kristoff away!

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This issue is just as much fun as the others. There are a couple of moments where Pulido's layouts are a little too flashy and hard to follow, but overall, I like his character work. Angie is as mysterious as ever, and pulls a "these are not the droids you're looking for" move on a courthouse deputy who challenges her about her monkey. "I'm sorry, ma'am, but we don't allow animals in the courtroom. How'd you even get that thing past security?" "But you'll allow this one, won't you?" "Huh. You know, now that you mention it, I sure will!"

Also, Pulido knows fashion. Some artists have no idea of what people wear, but he's got Kristoff right in a white three-button single-breasted suit, teal shirt and white loafers with no socks, and has Jen during the interview scene in a blue shirt dress and black boots, and in the courthouse attack in a brown three-piece suit with a black blouse, hipster glasses and spike heeled pumps with a hint of toe cleavage.

Looking forward to issue #4, "The Zealous Advocate!"

  The legal angle is interesting, but as I reacall the laws of Latveria are whatever Vic says that they are and unless Jen's been given a power boost I don't see him having much trouble with her.  If they do go through some sort of legal argument things might be different though.  I'm trying to think back, was Kristoff with the FF at the same time Jen was? 

Mark S. Ogilvie said:

  The legal angle is interesting, but as I reacall the laws of Latveria are whatever Vic says that they are and unless Jen's been given a power boost I don't see him having much trouble with her.  If they do go through some sort of legal argument things might be different though.  I'm trying to think back, was Kristoff with the FF at the same time Jen was? 

Since Kristoff was granted asylum just before Dr. Doom snatched him, I would think that's tantamount to kidnapping, not that I'm a lawyer.

The last time I saw Kristoff in a comic, he was still a kid. Now he seems to be in his early 20s.

...Who was Jonas Harrow---Where did he appear/die ?

 Wouldn't the modern day law make it difficult for anyone to profit form " ill-gotten gains "/criminal technology - Even his heirs (and I perhaps assume the wife , anyway , wouldn't be all that " innocent " in the eyes of the law)  ?????

  I don't see the US going against Latveria.

ClarkKent_DC said:

Mark S. Ogilvie said:

  The legal angle is interesting, but as I reacall the laws of Latveria are whatever Vic says that they are and unless Jen's been given a power boost I don't see him having much trouble with her.  If they do go through some sort of legal argument things might be different though.  I'm trying to think back, was Kristoff with the FF at the same time Jen was? 

Since Kristoff was granted asylum just before Dr. Doom snatched him, I would think that's tantamount to kidnapping, not that I'm a lawyer.

The last time I saw Kristoff in a comic, he was still a kid. Now he seems to be in his early 20s.

Harrow was a criminal scientist who appeared in Amazing Spider-Man a few times in the 70s and early 80s.  He was a sort of very low rent Lex Luthor.  He gave powers to Hammerhead, the Kangaroo, and a few others.  He was killed off by the Hood a few years back for trying to double cross him.

Harrow tried to sell one of his inventions to a Stark subsidiary, without using it for criminal purposes.  A crooked executive turned him down but stole the idea and made millions off of it.

Emerkeith Davyjack said:

...Who was Jonas Harrow---Where did he appear/die ?

 Wouldn't the modern day law make it difficult for anyone to profit form " ill-gotten gains "/criminal technology - Even his heirs (and I perhaps assume the wife , anyway , wouldn't be all that " innocent " in the eyes of the law)  ?????

Mark S. Ogilvie said:

I'm trying to think back, was Kristoff with the FF at the same time Jen was? 

Kristoff was introduced during John Byrne's run, in Fantastic Four #247, in which his mother was killed by a Doombot (under Zorba's control) soon after Doom promised her protection. Subsequently he was depicted as having been taken into Doom's household. Doom was apparently killed in #260.

Jen replaced Ben in #265. Ben returned to Earth in #277 but did not rejoin the FF (he had his own title, The Thing, at the time; before returning to the FF he also briefly appeared in West Coast Avengers), so Jen retained her position with the team past the end of Byrne's run, #293.

In #278 some of Doom's robot doubles programmed Kristoff with Doom's personality, this being a plan he had put in place in case of his death. The FF captured Kristoff-Doom the next issue but were unable to cure him. Doom himself returned in #287 (#288 explained his presence during the events of the first Secret Wars mini). Ben returned to the team in #296 and She-Hulk stuck around until about #300. I can't remember if she had a leaving scene. Steve Englehart took over the writing with #304 and shortly after wrote Fantastic Four Annual #20, in which Kristoff-Doom, who believed himself to be the true Doom, won control of Latveria. (Doom's robot doubles were trying to choose between them and figured the real Doom was the false one when he confessed he'd made an error.) I don't know how Kristoff got his own mind back.

A character who claimed to be the son of Doom had earlier appeared in The Beauty and the Beast mini, starring the Beast and Dazzler. The series left whether he was really Doom's son open; Doom told him at the end that he might've acknowledged him as his son if he hadn't proved a loser. He can be seen on the cover of #4. Earlier still, in the issues leading up to Fantastic Four #200, Doom worked with a man he called his son who was revealed in #199 to in fact be his clone. He turned against Doom in the same issue, and Doom killed him in combat.

...Thank you . Putting the " real ":-)
 world into this , considering how frequently people's properties are seized if they are accused of something , and , even if they are never convicted , they never get them back/might , eventually , get a pinch of them...and Harrow ,having done criminal things , especially if he did anything either provably or even reasonably suspiciously so before the invention , well...

 

 

ohn Dunbar (the mod of maple) said:

Harrow was a criminal scientist who appeared in Amazing Spider-Man a few times in the 70s and early 80s.  He was a sort of very low rent Lex Luthor.  He gave powers to Hammerhead, the Kangaroo, and a few others.  He was killed off by the Hood a few years back for trying to double cross him.

Harrow tried to sell one of his inventions to a Stark subsidiary, without using it for criminal purposes.  A crooked executive turned him down but stole the idea and made millions off of it.

Emerkeith Davyjack said:

...Who was Jonas Harrow---Where did he appear/die ?

 Wouldn't the modern day law make it difficult for anyone to profit form " ill-gotten gains "/criminal technology - Even his heirs (and I perhaps assume the wife , anyway , wouldn't be all that " innocent " in the eyes of the law)  ?????

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