Today’s Super Comics — She-Hulk #8-10 (2014)

She-Hulk has always thrived when interacting with the broader Marvel Universe, and a fairly recent story took full advantage of that shared setting to excellent effect. It also took full advantage of its protagonist’s legal acumen.

In She-Hulk #8-10 by writer Charles Soule and artist Javier Pulido, She-Hulk is hired to defend none other than Captain America himself in a wrongful-death civil lawsuit. In recent events outside this title, Cap had been aged to his true 90-some years. Even with the super-soldier serum, he doesn’t have a long life left, so naturally an old enemy would try to tarnish his legacy in his final days.

With Cap being Cap, he wants She-Hulk (or more specifically Jennifer Walters) to win the case fair and square, exploiting not a single legal loophole. No technicalities allowed. He wants a righteous win, not an easy one. So he asks Matt Murdock (Daredevil) to represent the plaintiffs to the absolute best of his ability, pulling no punches.

So Jen’s got to be at her lawyerly best to save Captain America’s legacy. There’s hardly any superhero action in sight. This is pure legal drama with Marvel flourishes (and nice bits of comedy, too). For all her incredible strength, Jen needs to be clever more than anything else as Marvel’s preeminent attorneys clash in court.

And if that’s not enough, the story also includes Patsy Walker (Hellcat) and, quite randomly, an eccentric duplicate of Madrox the Multiple Man.

The Marvel Universe is a bustling place indeed, and She-Hulk is right at home in the thick of it.

Writer: Charles Soule

Artist: Javier Pulido

Cover: Kevin P. Wada

Publisher: Marvel Comics

How to Read It: back issues; Marvel Unlimited; Comixology; included in She-Hulk vol. 2: Disorderly Conduct (TPB)

Appropriate For: ages 12 and up

Today’s Super Comic — Human Target #1 (2003)

Human Target 1In the category of “I forgot I had this” …

The Human Target is a high-concept character that’s been around since the ‘70s. Christopher Chance is an exceptionally talented man who impersonates his endangered clients to serve as their decoys. A master-of-disguise, man-of-many-faces sort of thing, but with a strong action bent. And his talents truly are talents, not superpowers. It’s a great concept for either comics or television, and it’s been used in both mediums.

The concept proved to be an excellent fit for DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint, the company’s R-rated line that tends to focus on more mature themes. Writer Peter Milligan re-envisioned the character as a man who’s losing his own sense of identity as his job constantly requires him to become someone else, and it’s a fascinating approach that adds existential depth to the action and intrigue.

After a couple of miniseries, DC/Vertigo promoted Milligan’s Human Target to an ongoing series, and its first issue works wonderfully as a pilot. It’s accessible in the sense that the reader requires no expository recap to get into the story, but it wisely withholds information about what’s going on, allowing the issue to build to a twisty finale that sets the tone for the series.

Very intelligently handled, and still worth a look over a decade later.

Writer: Peter Milligan

Artist: Javier Pulido

Publisher: DC Comics/Vertigo

How to Read It: back issues; Comixology; included in Human Target vol. 1: Strike Zones (TPB)

Appropriate For: ADULTS ONLY