(Obligatory intro text paragraph – feel free to skip down to the non-italic text if you’ve already been reading these posts.)
This is the tenth 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 starting at 7 PM EST – 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.
So, it’s Monday, and the last issue of this run of She-Hulk hits Wednesday – that’s awfully soon. I just got back from a convention, and I heard a lot about this little series from you guys. Thank you for supporting it as much as you have.
Now, though, let’s move on to this issue, the third and final part of the She-Hulk/Daredevil trial, with Steve Rogers in the midst of a wrongful death suit related to events back in 1940, before he became Captain America. We’ve already heard the other side’s version of events, and it doesn’t look great for Cap. In fact, it looks like he might have significantly contributed to the death of someone, and then fled to the Army to escape responsibility. In fact, when Matt Murdock puts him on the stand, he actually says that the entire story is true. Uh-oh.
But maybe he’ll be okay after all. Why?
When we get Cap’s version of events, we learn that the bad guys in the story were actually Nazi Fifth Columnists, and Steve was trying to help out a young man to save his brother from them. While Steve absolutely did antagonize them, and one could say that his actions resulted in the death of that young man, the legal question here revolves more about whether he could have reasonably known that would happen, whether there were mitigating factors, and so on. Actually, Jen and Matt lay it out pretty well in their closing arguments, and you can make your own call. You’ve got the issues itself if you want to read about the case.
I’d like to focus more on a few cool elements from this story – just background beats I happened to like.
First, the bad guy isn’t just a nameless Nazi. He’s actually a character from Marvel history named Saurespritze (which is German for “Acid Syringe,” according to Google Translate, but I think we could go with Acid Sprayer, something like that.) This is what he looked like back in the day:
He was a member of the Das Vernichtungs-Kommandos (or the Death Squad) – a trio of Nazi supervillains, each with their own evil power. Saurespritze was sort of the non-speaking scary henchman, from what I can tell – he mostly sprayed acid at people. I mean, I think there are two kinds of people in the world. Some, when their parents name them Acid Sprayer, struggle their entire lives to overcome that – maybe they never even spray acid on anyone at all.
Saurespritze is pretty clearly not the other kind of person. That’s okay. Sometimes you gotta own it.
Here’s how Javier redesigned him for this story:
Another beat from the flashback story I wanted to highlight – you remember in yesterday’s post about Issue 9 when I mentioned that there was something important about the date in which this story was set? Well, you look back at Issue 8, this panel:
That’s Steve and Sam Fogler, the buddy he went to LA with, the poor guy who dies in the story. They’re outside Mann’s Chinese Theater IN Hollywood. As we learn in this issue, it’s the one good thing Steve remembers about the trip, before everything went to hell.
Like I said in the prior post, this story had to take place in the first week of November, because of timing and continuity questions. And what was playing at Mann’s Chinese that week? Well…
This is a pretty important film in comics history – it’s also the movie Bruce Wayne went to see with his parents the night they were killed.
When I looked up the old schedule for Mann’s for that week, I couldn’t believe my luck. I had no idea ahead of time that Mark of Zorro was playing the same week as the story in which I’d had to set my story – total happy accident, but I sure as hell wasn’t going to ignore it once I knew.
So, the same movie contributes to Cap being Cap and Batman being Batman – pretty cool.
Favorite panel – there are two, both related:
Favorite character – young Steve. Tough kid.
I loved writing this arc, as challenging as it was. I was traveling (again) in India when I was working through most of this, and I spent almost the entirety of a nine-hour car ride from the southern mountains to Bangalore trying to figure out how the hell it would work, especially the ending. It put me through the wringer – but I think it all worked, and it was a chance to write Daredevil, Steve Rogers and She-Hulk in one story. Dream come true.
Tomorrow – back to the Blue File, and lots of punchy punchy.