Are you a superhuman with super-size legal problems? Then give She-Hulk a call.
Earlier this year the green-skilled giantess She-Hulk re-established herself as a lawyer, going out to practice on her own – and finding it just as tough as the superhero business. Now, she splits her time between her newly established law firm and her long-term sideline career as a superhero, and is finding the worlds strangely similar – and uniquely chaotic. Series writer Charles Soule and artist Javier Pulido jumped on the case in February, and in the three issues that have come out so far they’ve won their case of being a great book in public, critical opinion.
In the recently released She-Hulk #3, readers saw as She-Hulk took on the case of Kristoff Vernard, son of Dr. Doom, who’s seeking asylum in America from the danger of his literal dictator of a father. Coming up, Jen Walter is calling in a consult from the recently disbarred attorney Matt Murdock (aka Daredevil), and she ends up going to extraordinary lengths – going to Latveria – to fight her case, figuratively and literally.
Newsarama: Three issues of She-Hulk are on the shelves now Charles, and She-Hulk is the middle of a father-son spat in the Von Doom family. What can you tell us about the series so far?
Charles Soule: It's She-Hulk's second big case (that we've seen in this series, anyway), and her first client since opening her own law office in Brooklyn in She-Hulk #2. That's all good... but the issue, of course, is that her client is Kristoff Vernard, the son of Victor Von Doom, ruler of the small Eastern European nation of Latveria (I also believe he holds a Doctorate... in DOOM.)
Kristof is the very definition of a tricky client. Unfortunately, Jen is in no position to be turning away business at this point.
Nrama: What is Kristoff Vernard running from here to seek political asylum?
Soule: That's a big plot point to #3, and one I don't necessarily want to spoil just yet, but the basis of an asylum claim is that you have a legitimate threat of government persecution in your home country. The government in Latveria is Doom, so... maybe you can connect those dots.
Nrama: It’s still early on, but you’ve already developed quite a supporting cast for She-Hulk: ex-mutant friend to superhuman, Sharon King; creepy paralegal with a pet monkey, Angie Huang; and the indomitable Patsy Walker, Hellcat. How’d you go about casting for this as a writer – and can you admit if part of the reason you put the monkey in is to see Javier draw him?
Soule: I just like monkeys! Everyone likes monkeys. I knew Jen would need a very competent assistant, and Angie - whatever other weirdness may be happening with her - is certainly that. No law office runs without paralegals, believe me. Hellcat I've always loved, and I think her spitfire personality is a good fit for Jen. She-Hulk has always been a leap-before-she-looks gal, and in this series Patsy is even more that way, partly because of some issues she's been going through. So, it puts She-Hulk in the position of having to be the responsible one, which is pretty fun - it shakes things up a bit.
Mostly, though, I think books live and die by their supporting casts. It's important to have cool people for the lead to bounce off. I'm not done with the cast, either. We'll meet some other folks in Issue 4 who will end up playing a larger role in the series.
Nrama: I really enjoy the contrast of She-Hulk being a super-strong superhero but still trying to work within the law to make things right; She-Hulk could (and might) simply duke it out with Dr. Doom superhero style to get her way, but she’s using the court system. Can you talk about that balance Jennifer has on when to (and when not to) resort to brute force to win her cases?
Soule: I think Jen likes the law. She likes the system and understands why it exists. She also knows that sometimes you have to move outside it - and we'll see some of that- but it's as enjoyable for her to use her brain to solve a problem as it is to use her fists. Deciding which way to go, though... sometimes that's trickier for her.
Nrama: I’ve been trying to pinpoint what exactly it is about that series that stands out, and right now I think it’s the fact that She-Hulk isn’t a book about a person working as a superhero, but the reverse – a superhero working a normal person’s life. What was the road like to find your approach for She-Hulk?
Soule: I don't want to sound glib, but this one really clicked into place for me as soon as I was asked to consider the series. I knew exactly the sort of approach I would want to take, and that's what we're getting here. I'm an attorney myself, as I'm pretty sure everyone knows by now, and I wanted to apply my real-world experience to the superhero context. Thank god the law degree's actually coming in handy for something!
Nrama: The cover to She-Hulk #4 promises an appearance from the recently disbarred attorney Matt Murdock. How does he factor into this story?
Soule: A meeting between She-Hulk and Daredevil was one of the biggest things on my list for the series, and I'm very happy to be able to get to it so early. In essence, Shulkie goes to Daredevil for advice. He's one of the only colleagues Jen has who can understand the temptation to get a little... extra-legal, let's say. It's a great scene, and Javier Pulido drew the heck out of it.
Nrama: In a funny way, you’re the closest thing to She-Hulk in real life; she’s a superhero lawyer, and you’re a superhero comics writer and lawyer. We’ve talked about how your law work affects your comics work, but what about vice versa, how does your comics work affect your law practice like Jennifer’s superhuman powers affect hers?
Soule: I am not seven feet tall, gamma-powered, green, or a lady, but otherwise yes, it's basically identical. Jen's office is located in my actual building in Brooklyn - the place I have my law office. I do try to keep the two worlds separate, but I have been hearing from a number of attorneys.
Nrama: The pairing of your story with Javier Pulido’s art is intense; it reminds me of reading classic Howard Chaykin or early Steve Ditko work, with a modern polish. Now that you two are well into this series and you’ve seen how he adapts your scripts, are you finding yourself writing for Pulido more specifically as you get to know him better?
Soule: I absolutely am. He's a brilliant talent, and I think he brings immense levels of imagination and skill to the scripts. I have sections I now call "Pulido Specials," where I just describe a page with beats, give him the dialogue and let him go to town. The book benefits immensely from his approach.
Nrama: Another aspect of the series that sets the tone is the cover work by Kevin P. Wada; Wada’s done little work in comics, but he’s the regular cover artist and with good reason. Can you talk about Wada’s art leading the way for the book to readers?
Soule: I haven't met Kevin yet in person, but I am dying to. He perfectly manages to convey on every cover the mix you mentioned earlier - superpowered woman trying to live something of an ordinary life from time to time. It's a hectic existence, no doubt about it, but it's an appealing, interesting one. Kevin manages to make that work every time. I hope he stays on covers for She-Hulk forever.
Nrama: And joining you in issue #5 is Prince of Cats artist Ron Wimberly. Quite a pick, so what can you tell us about the issue he’s doing?
Soule: I thought Ron would be a great choice as someone who could make the experience feel like the She-Hulk readers have been enjoying, but seen through his own unique lens. Ron has a style that doesn't look like Javier's, which I thought was important, but it's just as cool. His story deals with Jen finally investigating the mysterious "blue file" we've seen referenced since the very first issue. Things do not go smoothly.
Nrama: Coming with Ron in She-Hulk #5 are some real surprising guest stars if the cover is to believed – are those red herrings on the cover, or could we perhaps see all of them (and more?) in this issue?
Soule: We see a bunch of 'em! The nice thing about She-Hulk is that over her career, she's met, teamed up with, or fought just about everyone. So, she has a huge rolodex, and in this issue we start to see her flipping through it as she digs into the blue file. It's a very fun, surprising issue. Angie Huang in particular has a hell of a scene. I'm really looking forward to that one - but all of them, really! She-Hulk is a blast, and I couldn't be happier with the response. Thank you for reading!