-->
Comics

A Quirky Legal Drama with Superheroes: "She-Hulk #8"

She-Hulk is a quirky legal drama, like Ally McBeal or Boston Legal. With superheroes.


She-Hulk #8

Publisher: Marvel
Length: 21 pages
Writer: Charles Soule, Javier Pulido
Price: $2.99
Publication Date: 2014-11
Amazon

A few years ago there was a popular form of entertainment that might best be described as the "quirky legal drama." This television genre usually featured an ensemble cast of eccentric characters who worked at a law firm. Their cases were interesting, sometimes mysteries to be solved, but these were usually less important than the interactions between the characters. The dialogue was witty, sharp and rapid fire. More often than not, these quirky legal dramas were written and produced by David E. Kelley. Kelley was responsible for L.A. Law (1986-1994), The Practice (1997-2004), Ally McBeal (1997-2002) and Boston Legal (2004-2008).

From what I have heard, these shows were fun and engaging. They most certainly were popular. I can't speak to their appeal personally, however, because I don't think that I have ever watched even a single episode of any of these programs.

The reasons for my neglect of such a popular genre are probably multiple. If I thought about it a long time I could probably come up with some good explanations. Some of these explanations might reveal some interesting insights concerning my personality or, at the very least, expose some basic flaws in my character. In lieu of such introspection, however, I'm just going to state the obvious.

No superheroes.

Without a lot of potentially tearful self-examination, I can't say exactly why I never watched any of these programs but I can say, quite easily, what would have made me watch them: superheroes - characters with super powers and secret identities.

If Ally McBeal had been the secret identity of Wonder Woman then I would have watched the program, even if most of her time was spent doing attorney-stuff and making wise-ass observations about other people or about the nature of life itself. (Don't laugh. We almost had such a show when Kelley produced the pilot for a Wonder Woman series a couple of years ago.)

Granted, Boston Legal had Captain Kirk and that was almost enough to pique my interest. (OK. Technically it starred William Shatner in another, very different role, but you know what I mean.) And looking back I now realize that Boston Legal's other star, James Spader, is due on the big screen next summer as The Avenger's robotic enemy, Ultron. Had I known this at the time I am pretty sure that I would have tuned in. I really love Ultron. But, otherwise, as far as I know, there were no superheroes.

Which brings me, finally, to She-Hulk.

She-Hulk, you see, is a quirky legal drama with - and this is the good part - superheroes.

Jennifer Walters, let go from her big prestigious law firm, opens up her own law office with the help of her decidedly odd legal assistant Angie Huang, who takes her capuchin monkey Hei Hei with her everywhere, and her old friend Patsy Walker, a.k.a. Hellcat, who works for Jennifer as an investigator.

Together the team has had some pretty interesting cases. Jennifer represented the son of Victor Von Doom when he sought asylum and protection from his father. She and Patsy joined Hank Pym's Ant-Man to search for a missing person who had reduced himself to ant-size and become lost in a back yard garden. In the latest issue, they are called upon to defend Captain America against a wrongful death charge.

Sometimes, in the pursuit of justice, Jennifer and Patsy don their superhero get-ups; most of the time they don't. She-Hulk #8 is the strongest issue so far and no one wears a costume: not Jennifer and Patsy and not guest stars Steve Rogers (Captain America) and Matt Murdock (Daredevil). Indeed, there is only one scene when anyone uses superpowers at all: Jennifer hulks out long enough to chase away a crowd of paparazzi. Of course, Jennifer maintains her abnormal stature and green skin practically all the time, but she tends to use her powers more for social persuasion and intimidation than for fisticuffs and traditional crime busting.

Throughout this series, and especially in this latest issue, Charles Soule's dialogue "sparkles,' as we critics tend to say. It is fast, witty, sarcastic and charming. Whether the characters are plotting their courtroom tactics, sharing cocktails at their favorite bar, or riding aboard one of Tony Stark's private planes, the characters have a lot to say. Just enough of the dialogue is exposition to further the plot; the rest is usually character-driven and funny.

Javier Pulido is the perfect artist for this series, masterfully capturing the light and breezy feel of Soule's plots. His Jennifer Walters, his She-Hulk, is at once both intense and slightly goofy, both strong and insecure. In one scene in particular a loose strand of hair that hangs across Jennifer's face wonderfully captures the vulnerability and the power of this character.

I like Soule's and Pulido's She-Hulk. I think they should make it into a TV show. A quirky legal drama. With superheroes.

I would watch it.

7

In Americana music the present is female. Two-thirds of our year-end list is comprised of albums by women. Here, then, are the women (and a few men) who represented the best in Americana in 2017.

If a single moment best illustrates the current divide between Americana music and mainstream country music, it was Sturgill Simpson busking in the street outside the CMA Awards in Nashville. While Simpson played his guitar and sang in a sort of renegade-outsider protest, Garth Brooks was onstage lip-syncindg his way to Entertainer of the Year. Americana music is, of course, a sprawling range of roots genres that incorporates traditional aspects of country, blues, soul, bluegrass, etc., but often represents an amalgamation or reconstitution of those styles. But one common aspect of the music that Simpson appeared to be championing during his bit of street theater is the independence, artistic purity, and authenticity at the heart of Americana music. Clearly, that spirit is alive and well in the hundreds of releases each year that could be filed under Americana's vast umbrella.

Keep reading... Show less

From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.


60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

Keep reading... Show less
Music

The Best Country Music of 2017

still from Midland "Drinkin' Problem" video

There are many fine country musicians making music that is relevant and affecting in these troubled times. Here are ten of our favorites.

Year to year, country music as a genre sometimes seems to roll on without paying that much attention to what's going on in the world (with the exception of bro-country singers trying to adopt the latest hip-hop slang). That can feel like a problem in a year when 58 people are killed and 546 are injured by gun violence at a country-music concert – a public-relations issue for a genre that sees many of its stars outright celebrating the NRA. Then again, these days mainstream country stars don't seem to do all that well when they try to pivot quickly to comment on current events – take Keith Urban's muddled-at-best 2017 single "Female", as but one easy example.

Keep reading... Show less

It's ironic that by injecting a shot of cynicism into this glorified soap opera, Johnson provides the most satisfying explanation yet for the significance of The Force.

Despite J.J. Abrams successfully resuscitating the Star Wars franchise with 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens, many fans were still left yearning for something new. It was comforting to see old familiar faces from a galaxy far, far away, but casual fans were unlikely to tolerate another greatest hits collection from a franchise already plagued by compositional overlap (to put it kindly).

Keep reading... Show less
7

Yeah Yeah Yeahs played a few US shows to support the expanded reissue of their debut Fever to Tell.

Although they played a gig last year for an after-party for a Mick Rock doc, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs hadn't played a proper NYC show in four years before their Kings Theatre gig on November 7th, 2017. It was the last of only a handful of gigs, and the only one on the East coast.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image