Like Jason Aaron before him, Charles Soule somehow finds the time to craft a number of fantastic comic books in between his hectic life. Not only does he write multiple books a month (that somehow all manage to come out relatively on time), he is also a practicing lawyer in Brooklyn and a part-time musician. Seemingly impossible, yet somehow it all gets balanced splendidly.
With the arrival of his latest offerings, issue eleven of Daredevil and the sixth issue of Poe Dameron, I thought it time to put the spotlight on the books that Soule currently publishes for Marvel Comics (with the exception of one book on this list). While he has done great work over the years, such as The Death of Wolverine, these are the books that readers can go out and get into to follow as the stories develop.
– Daredevil: One of Marvel’s premier books following on the heels of Netflix’s series, Soule has taken Daredevil and returned him to his gritty, New York based roots. This series follows ‘ol hornhead into a new direction by giving him a sidekick in illegal immigrant Blindspot and making Matt Murdock an assistant D.A. for the city of New York, no longer in private practice with his (former) best friend Foggy Nelson.
The series has so far been walking a tightrope between being strong and average. While the initial story arc, drawn by Ron Garney and introducing new adversary Tenfingers, later issues had a hard time reaching the heights set by these first issues. Soule hints at a larger story brewing, one that involves how Matt managed to gain his secret identity back, yet the issues we’ve been given sometimes feel short and lacking in this narrative. Yet if the new story arc, kicking off in last month’s issue, is any indication, then the return of Garney is good news for fans of the character. Ultimately though, this may be a series to read in trade, if only to have whole stories readily available.
– Poe Dameron: Accompanied by Phil Noto, Soule once more dips into the Star Wars universe, this time in the period of the latest film. Filling in the gaps between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, this series details Poe’s missions for the Resistance as he flies around the galaxy exploring sites of importance to the Force, accompanied by his faithful droid BB-8 and several other Resistance pilots. During his missions he is sent by General Leia to find Lor San Tekka, the same figure he meets at the beginning of The Force Awakens. Along the way he finds himself in the crosshairs of the rising First Order and comes into contact with a fierce new enemy in Captain Terrex.
Soule has manged to tell really great stories within the Star Wars universe for Marvel. He began with his adventurous caper miniseries Star Wars: Lando, featuring the rapscallion best friend of Han Solo, and followed that up with the only Marvel Star Wars series set in the time of the prequels, Star Wars: Obi-Wan and Anakin. Poe Dameron stands as Soule’s first ongoing Star Wars book, and his enthusiasm and exuberance for this universe are still apparent. Soule’s Poe feels just like Oscar Isaac’s performance to a tee, from the swaggering charisma to his interactions with BB-8. Anyone wishing for more of Poe in The Force Awakens should check out this series.
– Uncanny Inhumans/All-New Inhumans: I’m cheating here by having two books counted as one here, yet they both serve to tell the same narrative from different points of view (not unlike Brian Michael Bendis’ Iron Man books for Marvel). Both series follow the rise of the Inhumans as the mystical Terrigen Mists sweep across the globe. More and more Inhumans become known to the world, causing chaos and anarchy that requires Black Bolt to form his own black ops squad to deal with threats before they happen, detailed in Uncanny Inhumans. Meanwhile, All-New Inhumans follows the recently-christened Inhumans as they discover their powers and come to terms with their abilities.
These books, despite Soule’s impressive track record, feel lackluster at times. Marvel once again has tried to capitalize on a set of characters by splitting the narrative down the middle, watering down both books because of it. It’s also apparent that Soule was feeling a bit of a crunch here, as he had James Asmus co-writing All-New Inhumans alongside him. Not only that, but these books are soon to be pulled into the crossover Death of X, featuring the story of how the Inhumans rose over the X-Men to power. Written by Jeff Lemire and Soule, this is just another crossover that fans of strong character work should be hesitant to read.
– She-Hulk: The only book on this list that isn’t still being published, Soule managed to bring a fun, bouncy feel to the tales of Jennifer Walters trying to make a life in New York City. After quitting her cushy job practicing law at a major firm, Jen goes out and starts her own firm catering to the needs of people who have been stepped on by the system. Yet she soon finds that not everything is as easy-going as she thought, and that some issues need more than just brute strength to solve.
This book feels like the antithesis to the Daredevil Soule currently writes, sporting optimism on its sleeve, keeping the stories to mainly single issue tales, and relying on plenty of comedic beats to help move the plot along. In a fun bit of foreshadowing for what was to come for Soule, Daredevil makes an appearance in perhaps the series’ biggest story arc, focusing on a trial involving Captain America that sees Jen going up against Matt in a court of law. Alongside a strong cast of characters and a compelling (if a bit too vague at times) overarching mystery of “the Blue File,” Soule, along with artist Javier Pulido, make this into a strong twelve issues for readers to check out.
From psychic gambling to drunken crimefighting, Soule manages to tell some compelling stories month in and month out. Fans of swashbuckling adventure and overarching mysteries should look to check his work out.
Each of these series are available in comic book shops in individual issues and trades now.