I’ll be the first to admit, I like She-Hulk a lot better than I do HULK-Hulk. To be fair, I always lean towards the female counterparts of well established male superheroes anyway. Barbara Gordon/Batgirl is a million times more relatable than Bruce Wayne is, Carol Danvers long ago eclipsed the male Captain Marvel in importance, recently just flat-out replacing him and his role in the Marvel universe, and Supergirl wore awesome hot pants and a choker in the seventies (sometimes the reasons are shallow.) She-Hulk is on that same tip; where her cousin Bruce Banner is brooding and repressed, Jennifer Walters is sassy and vibrant; where Bruce is usually a loner, Jennifer Walters is a joiner, and has been a member of every major Marvel team minus the X-Men (who she did legally represent once…does that count?). At the end of the day, She-Hulk is really just way more fun.
The first issue of the new She-Hulk series finds Jennifer Walters at her current law firm in New York, Paine & Luckberg, where she’s become the firm’s shining star. Or at least Jen thinks that’s what she is; the senior partners at the firm aren’t very happy that she hasn’t been bringing in clients from her “other career” as a super-hero, so they decided against giving Jen her due during her review, and don’t give her a well deserved bonus. Jen uses this to as an opportunity to pull the classic “you can’t fire me, I quit!” routine, and goes off on her own. Being that she’s She-Hulk, it’s possible there was some damage to the office as well. Don’t get Jen angry… you wouldn’t like Jen when she’s angry. (I’m sorry, I apologize for that one. Couldn’t resist.)
While drinking her sorrows away at the local lawyer bar, she meets an ordinary, average woman who has a case for her. Well, seemingly average, as this woman turns out to be the widow of a supervillain type who is looking to sue none other than Tony Stark for appropriating her later husband’s technology. Jennifer realizes that this is something that could be dragged on forever in court, so being chummy with the man in question, she decides to pay a visit to Mr. Iron Man himself.
This is where things get fairly hilarious, as Jen finds that Tony Stark has a series of protocols in his corporate HQ that are set up to stall any and all lawyers and legal matters indefinitely… even ones who happen to be old friends and fellow Avengers. The best parts of this first issue deal with She-Hulk trying to get past Tony’s ridiculous security protocols, both robotic and flesh and blood, and all of these portions of the story are gold, absolutely my favorite parts of the book. Eventually Jen gets to confront the man at the top, but I won’t spoil just how that goes down. You’re just gonna have to get the issue and find out.
Charles Soule is quickly becoming one of my favorite writers working in comics today; he’s single-handedly made me look past how much I hate the Superman and Wonder Woman romance with his work on the Superman/Wonder Woman title over at DC. He’s brought that same magic to She-Hulk, quickly establishing Jennifer Walters again as the superhero that you just wanna hang out and grab a few drinks with. He also finds ways to illustrate how Jen is fiercely loyal to not only her clients, but her superhero friends, who she refuses to sell out to her law firm (“those relationships are sacred to me,” she says at one point early in the issue). She-Hulk has had a lot of writers do some of their best work while writing the character, names like John Byrne and more recently, Dan Slott. Judging from just one issue, Charles Soule could well be one of those names in that group. And it also helps that he’s not only a writer, but an actual entertainment lawyer as well, which can only help in making Jen’s lawyer world seem authentic.
As for the art, I’ll admit I have mixed feelings about Javier Pulido, whose work on this issue I alternately love and then just as quickly don’t like. There are panels that remind me a ton of Mike Allred (that’s a good thing), but then there are panels where so of the characters are just missing… something. And I can’t put my finger on it. I think it’s that Pulido’s more cartoony style sometimes makes Jennifer look boxy, for lack of a better word. No matter how tall and muscular She-Hulk is, she should always still look curvy and sexy and confident. I don’t think his art style is bad, it’s just one I’m going to have to get used to.
She-Hulk is a fun book that has me wanting more, and if you’re tired of gloom and doom overly serious comics, I think you could do far worse than picking up Charles Soule and Javier Pulido’s She-Hulk #1.