The episode opens with news coverage of Jen’s courtroom fight with Titania, which ultimately leads to her being publicly branded by a random newscaster and a witness as the “She-Hulk.” While not exact, this mirrors some of the absurdity of how quickly Jen gets her superhero name in the pages of Savage She-Hulk #1. After a group of mob hitmen, who were sent to kill Jen after their first attempt sent her to a hospital, find her in her superpowered form, one remarks that she’s “some kinda She-Hulk,” and Jen reluctantly embraces the name.
The episode’s biggest Easter egg might also be its easiest to miss, popping up while Jen is searching the web for jobs after getting fired. On a website about fun new jobs she could sign on to, a headline in the corner reads “Man fights with metal claws in bar brawl.” Now that the X-Men are touching closer towards being introduced in the MCU, many are taking this headline as a reference — no matter how brief — to the iconic mutant Wolverine.
Another headline on the same webpage proclaims “Why there is a giant statue of a man sticking out of the ocean”, which is clearly a reference to the nearly-born Celestial that was stopped from destroying the Earth in Eternals. With nearly a year since that movie made its theatrical debut, many will argue that it was long overdue for someone in the MCU to actually acknowledge it.
During a delightfully awkward family dinner, we meet Jen’s father, Morris Walters (Mark Linn-Baker), who plays a key role in the early days of Savage She-Hulk. Across that initial run, Morris is the Sheriff of the Los Angeles police department who starts to see She-Hulk as a public menace, all while not even realizing that she’s really Jen. This creates a sort of Batgirl and Commissioner Gordon-esque cat and mouse game, until he learns the truth about Jen and largely embraces it.
Morris has sporadically appeared in She-Hulk comics since then, including an arc where he dated her best friend, Golden Age superhero Louise Mason, and was instrumental in turning her from She-Hulk back into a human during a body-swapping storyline.
The crux of the episode centers around Jen getting a new job at GLK&H, a law firm with a unique significance in Marvel lore. For starters, the very name of GLK&H — which stands for Goodman, Lieber, Kurtzberg, and Holliway — pays tribute to Marvel’s history. Goodman is a reference to original Marvel publisher Martin Goodman; Lieber is a reference to the last name of Stan Lee, nee Lieber; and Kurtzberg is a reference to Jack Kirby, nee Kurtzberg. In the comics, Goodman, Lieber, and Kurtzberg are never actually shown, with Jen directly dealing with Holden Holliway (who we’ll talk more about in a moment).
The firm, which is initially based in Manhattan in the She-Hulk run of the early 2000s, sets itself apart by focusing on superhuman law, representing superheroes and supervillains in their various legal troubles. And actually, She-Hulk isn’t the first time that a version of the firm has been mentioned in the MCU, as they were briefly name-dropped in the second-ever episode of Agent Carter.
The H of GLK&H is Holden Holliway, who is portrayed by Steve Coutler in the series. In the comics, Holliway has his own bizarre and unique story. He’s the grandfather of the teenage supervillain-turned-superhero Southpaw, and for a stretch of time, he is impersonated by Artie Zix, a robot working for the Living Tribunal.
One unique staple of GLK&H is their “back issues” basement, which contains every Marvel Comics ever made. While that might seem outlandish in a legal context, the fact that the issues are published with the Comics Code Authority seal means that the firm is able to use them as legal documents, citing them as precedent for a superhero or supervillain’s actions. We very briefly saw an office filled with back issues while Jen was getting a tour around the office, so hopefully we’ll be able to see the concept utilized in later episodes.
As Jen gets introduced to the various elements of GLK&H’s superhuman law division, she and her best friend/paralegal Nikki Ramos (Ginger Gonzaga) cross paths with one of their new coworkers, Augustus “Pug” Pugliese (Josh Segarra). Pug introduces himself as another member of the superhuman law division, and gives Jen and Nikki a welcome basket filled with things they might need, including a map to the best bathroom in the office to poop in.
Created by Dan Slott and Juan Bobillo in She-Hulk #1, Pug starts out as a law student and nightclub bouncer, whose life is saved by Spider-Man after he gets attacked by a crime syndicate. That incident motivates Pug to fight on behalf of superhumans in court, which he does as part of GLK&H. As Jen’s coworker, friend, and eventually roommate, Pug works with her on multiple cases, including a libel case between Spider-Man and J. Jonah Jameson. Along the way, Pug realized that he had romantic feelings for Jen, but that she did not reciprocate them, in part because she was swept up in a Starfox-manipulated marriage with John Jameson. Eventually, Pug became so overcome with his feelings for Jen that he took a love potion from a witch (who he didn’t know was Morgan Le Fay) to suppress his emotions. But alternate version of Pug and Jen do get together in another corner of the Marvel multiverse, so at least there’s that.
World War Hulk?
In the episode’s final moments, Jen calls up Bruce Banner / Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), to explain that she was going to be taking on the parole case of Emil Blonsky / Abomination (Tim Roth). By the end of the conversation, the audience learned that Bruce is now on the Sakarran spaceship that was first introduced in Episode 1. Many have theorized that the ship could be tied to Bruce’s future, either by introducing his comic-accurate son, Skaar, or by laying the bedrock for a World War Hulk spinoff, which has been heavily rumored to be in the works at Marvel since last October.
And finally, in the phone conversation about Blonsky, Bruce argues that he and his former villain have buried the hatchet since then. More specifically, Bruce says he’s “literally” “a different person” than he was when he first fought Blonskyleading Jen to look directly at the camera and offer a fake laugh.
That’s right — the Marvel Cinematic Universe finally acknowledged Hulk being recastwith Ruffalo succeeding Edward Norton in the role between 2008’s The Incredible Hulk and 2012’s The Avengers.
New episodes of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law will debut Thursdays exclusively on Disney+. If you haven’t checked out Disney+ yet and you want to give it a go, you can do that here.
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