(Obligatory intro text paragraph – feel free to skip down to the next one if you’ve already been reading these posts.)
This is the fourth of twelve essays I’m writing, one per day as we lead up to the release of She-Hulk #12, the final issue in the current run of the title, on February 18. The idea is to look at each issue a bit more in-depth before we get to that last one. I’m doing these in conjunction with a live-tweet using the tag #12daysofshehulk on Twitter, also one per day leading up to the release of 12 – so you can play along at home! Feel free to @ me (I’m @charlessoule) – I’d love to hear what you think of this issue and all the others, whether it’s a re-read or you’re checking them out for the first time.
Sometimes you just can’t let a case go. Not every case has a positive resolution (although you better hope that most of them do, or you’ll be out of business pretty damn quick as a solo practitioner.) The ones that end well you just sort of chalk up to “of course it worked out – I know what I’m doing.” But the ones that don’t… you don’t ever forget about those. You wonder if it was somehow your fault, even if the negative outcome was clearly due to something outside your control.
That’s Jen in Issue 4. In the previous issue, she attempted to gain political asylum for Kristoff Vernard, the son of Doctor Doom. An incredibly difficult challenge – but she did it! She faced Doombots a-plenty, a blasé, mostly unhelpful client and a skeptical judge… and won! But then, the thing that was outside her control – her client’s megalomaniacal, dictator father smashed into the courtroom and yanked him back to Latveria.
Really, there was nothing she could do – Doombots are one thing, Victor Von Doom is another. Even more importantly, her client told her to stand down. It’s ethically tough as a lawyer to go against your client’s express wishes, even if it’s not in their best interests. Jennifer knows all of that, but she can’t let it go.
Fortunately, she is not just a lawyer – she is also the She-Hulk, a super kickass superhero, and so she has options not available to your typical attorney.
This issue really has two discrete sections – one’s the visit to see Daredevil in San Francisco, and the other is Jen’s trip to Latveria. Jen goes to see DD, as opposed to just calling him, in part because I loved the idea of her going to a new location (and I wanted to see Javier draw it), but also because I wanted to actually get Matt into the issue and maybe give them a chance to have a little adventure.
Daredevil has been one of my favorite characters forever. FOREVER. I’ve had this thing ever since I started writing Big 2 comics (comics for Marvel and DC) – if I have a chance to sneak a character I love into a storyline, even if it’s not “their” book, then I’ll do it. There’s always a chance all of this could vanish tomorrow, and so I want to take opportunities to write Daredevil, (or Constantine, or Superman, or any of the other characters I’ve done this with). Look at the early issues of any of my runs – you’ll see cameos popping in, and it’s all because of this particular theory.
At this point in the run, we were already talking about doing a court case where She-Hulk faced Daredevil, but it was pretty tentative. There were a lot of question marks surrounding that idea that needed to be addressed before we could move forward. I was hopeful, though, and that’s why I put in this little tease:
I couldn’t believe that DD and Shulkie had never had a case against each other, and I really wanted to do it, no matter how tricky it would be. So, was this whole sequence possibly a little self-generated audition to show that I could successfully write Daredevil in a future She-Hulk storyline? Maybe, in sort of a backhand way.
Anyway, it was a lot of fun.
But so was Latveria!
This script went through a few drafts – one earlier version had a scene involving a squad of SHIELD agents who materialize around Jen just before she attacks Doom’s castle, and tell her she can’t do what she’s doing, because it could cause an international incident, even a war, if she steals Doom’s son from him. They made the same assumption that Doom does – that she’s there to try to take Kristoff to America – as opposed to the actual reason she came, which is just to get them to have some father-son bonding time.
The SHIELD scene was cut because it seemed to add a weird digression to a story that already had a few – all for the best, though, because it meant I could fit in more scenes of Jen smashing poor, hapless Doombots. As we learned yesterday…
Favorite panel – oh come on, like you don’t already know:
This one not only has what remains one of my favorite lines from the whole run, it also has Kristoff’s little Sky-Vespa! Touches like that made working with Javier a particular joy. That was exactly the right (precious, particular) vehicle for a guy like Kristoff Vernard to drive around.
Favorite character – I can’t say the Giant Doom again, so Matt Murdock, Esq. gets it.
Tomorrow: The debut of Ron Wimberly on art duties! Our first real look at the mystery of the Blue File! Some very fun cameos! If you have questions about this issue, or anything at all, you can reach me on Twitter (www.twitter.com/charlessoule) or via the email form at www.charlessoule.com.