Being a longtime fan of Marvel and DC characters is kind of like being a lifelong fan of your local sports team: there’s going to be long periods of time when your team’s not doing well, and you just have to live with it and wait it out till that day when fortunes change and you’re finally a winner again. As a Ted Kord Blue Beetle fan, it’s been a long slump, let me tell you. But when one of those favorites does come around again, boy, is it satisfying.
Case in point: Marvel’s new SHE-HULK series by writer Charles Soule and artist Javier Pulido. With her last series highlight coming from Dan Slott and Juan Bobillo nearly a decade ago, the current SHE-HULK series brings back all the integral components that make the book and the character work best: a sense of fun, a focus on Jennifer Walters’ law career, and the portrayal of Jen as a confident, competent force to be reckoned with both in the courtroom and on the street.
As the new series opens, Jen quits her job at a Manhattan law firm when she learns that she was only hired in the hopes of her bringing in famous superhero clients: a revelation she does not take well:
When she finds herself handling the case of a supervillain’s widow who’s suing Tony Stark for copyright infringement, she has to face some formidable competition both in front of the judge…
…and just to get a meeting with Tony Stark:
But it’s Jen’s unique mix of pleasant bullying and quick wit that gets her the results (and the admiration of Tony Stark):
With the money from the gigantic settlement from Stark, Jen hangs out her shingle as a one-woman law firm, but finds that business is slow to arrive, leading her to drown her sorrows with a fellow female super-type, Patsy Walker, a.k.a. the Hellcat, who seems to be going through some issues of her own:
After a scrap with some AIM goons, Jen decides to offer Patsy a job as investigator (though mostly perhaps to keep her out of trouble).
In the most recent issue, Jen accepts an asylum case from, of all people, Kristoff, heir to Latveria, who is looking for legal assistance in keeping away from his “father” Doctor Doom and being forced to inherit the throne. Again, Soule and Pulido strike just the right balance in the story, from the joy on Jen’s face when she borrows an old Fantasticar in order to get Kristoff to court on time, to the anger and determination when Doom arrives at the last minute to steal Kristoff away.
Soule’s scripts are hitting right on target so far, with enough nods to the past to please old-school fans like me — combine that with Pulido’s fresh, cartoony style on the art, and you have a great monthly read on your hands, another much-needed series with a female protagonist that’s smart, compelling and just plain fun. Highly recommended.