The most prestigious law firm on the American East Coast, Goodman, Lieber, Kurtzberg & Book (GLK&B) is increasingly renowned for its pioneering superhuman law division.
The Herald of Superhuman Law
In 1961, senior partner Holden Holliway helps co-found the firm under its original name of Goodman, Lieber, Kurtzberg & Holliway (GLK&H). Holliway’s brainchild is GLK&H’s Superhuman Law division. “When the laws of reality are broken,” said Holliway of his firm’s specialty in superhuman issues, “we shall find solutions through the laws of man.” He first grows interested in superhuman law after his teenage granddaughter, Sasha Martin, becomes the super criminal known as Southpaw.
Apart from Holliway, leading players in GLK&H’s superhuman law division include the beautiful, brilliant, and ruthless Mallory Book, nicknamed “The Face Who’s Never Lost a Case,” who specializes in superhuman law because she craves uniquely challenging and groundbreaking cases; and brawny, good-natured ex-bouncer Augustus “Pug” Pugliese, who after being rescued from criminals by Peter Parker, AKA Spider-Man, during his law school days, hopes to give something back to the Super Hero community through his legal work.
Other early staff members at GLK&H’s superhuman law division include the mail room’s super-swift couriers Momenta, Whiz Kid, and Zig Zag; super-powerful android Awesome Andy, who becomes a GLK&H office assistant after Holliway legally emancipates Andy from his criminal creator, the Mad Thinker; shape-shifting ex-con Ditto, GLK&H’s best process server; and Stu Cicero, an archivist who maintained GLK&H’s extensive research library of Marvel comic books (most are licensed publications depicting actual Super Hero events, and comic books approved by the Comics Code Authority are even admissible as legal documents in court since the Comics Code is a federal agency).
Some staffers live in the company-owned Excelsior apartment building, while the firm itself is headquartered in Timely Plaza, which is equipped with high-tech defenses such as force fields, as well as special devices designed to facilitate interaction with nonhuman clients (for instance, rooms custom-designed to simulate various exotic environments). Multiple Guardsmen (specially armored federal agents) are often stationed at Timely Plaza to help transport, restrain, and otherwise manage the firm’s super-criminal clients.
For a time, GLK&H’s superhuman legal team included Jennifer Walters, AKA She-Hulk, a veteran superhuman adventurer and accomplished lawyer who has also served with the cosmic judiciary known as the Magistrati. Holliway personally recruits Walters in part because of her She-Hulk powers and her experience as a heroine, secretly hoping she could serve as a role model and mentor for Southpaw; however, knowing She-Hulk’s reputation as an immature party girl, Holliway insists she conduct most of her GLK&H business in her more low-key human form as Jennifer Walters.
Conflict of Interest
When the firm was GLK&H and employs Walters, her alter-ego’s archenemy Mary MacPherran, AKA Titania, attacks the firm, destroying the building and seriously injuring Book. Book, already possessing a rocky relationship with colleague Walters, holds this incident against her, often making deliberate choices to torment her.
That’s not the only problem that comes with employing She-Hulk. When the Recluses take an interest in her, they send the Magistrati’s robotic agent Rigel Type Zeta 9, AKA RTZ9, to infiltrate the firm and spy on her. Undercover, RTZ9 poses as Artie Zix and convinces Holliway to leave him in charge of the office’s management while he searches for his criminal granddaughter.
The Law Office’s closest allies are its employees, Pugliese, Book, Walters, Andy, Ditto, and Cicero. Despite the internal office politics, they are the firm’s best and brightest who keep it on the map.
When Southpaw was finally arrested, Holliway had her released into GLK&H custody on condition that she would be personally supervised by an accredited member of the Avengers: Jennifer Walters. Meanwhile, Mallory Book suffered her first legal loss when a meddling Walters convinced Book’s client Heracles, AKA Hercules, to pay out a multimillion-dollar settlement to injured Super Villain Frank Payne, AKA Constrictor. The firm later suffered more serious losses when Walters’ archenemy Mary MacPherran, AKA Titania, attacked GLK&H, crippling Book and destroying Timely Plaza before Walters defeated Titania with the aid of Ditto, Cicero, and others.
Southpaw escaped during the confusion and Holliway left the firm to track her down. Shortly before his departure, the Magistrati’s robotic agent Rigel Type Zeta 9, AKA RTZ9, visited Holliway privately. At the time, RTZ9 had been unwillingly pressed into the service of the isolationist extraterrestrials known as the Recluses, who became obsessed with She-Hulk after she made a ruling in a Magistrati case setting the terms of restricted access to their world. Wanting more information about Jennifer Walters and wary of whether she might influence their world’s affairs again someday, the Recluses planted a bomb in RTZ9 to ensure his obedience and sent him to spy on Walters and her associates. Supposedly conducting secret Magistrati business, RTZ9 convinced Holliway to hire him as GLK&H’s new manager, who would run the firm in Holliway’s absence. In this role, RTZ9 adopted a new guise as coldly efficient mystery man Artie Zix, his true identity known only to the absent Holliway. As Zix, the robot spent months spying on Walters and other GLK&H personnel, adding extensive surveillance systems to the newly rebuilt Timely Plaza as part of his mission. Meanwhile, Ditto was engaged in a masquerade of his own; ashamed of his momentary cowardice during Titania’s assault, he disappeared into a new role as Zix’s secretary Dottie.
An embittered Book began representing super criminals—partly to torment Walters, partly in hopes of a chance for revenge on likely future client Titania (though Pugliese later talked her out of this), and partly because super-criminal clients became increasingly lucrative after Constrictor’s case set a precedent for villains seeking damages from heroes. Prosecuted by the Time Variance Authority (TVA) for breaking the laws of time travel when she tried to undo the recent death of her friend Clint Barton, AKA Hawkeye, Walters was pardoned thanks in part to the legal efforts of an alternate-future (Earth-6023) adult Southpaw, who had become GLK&H’s greatest lawyer in that timeline. During that case, Walters also secured the release of fellow Avenger and time-travel offender Matt Hawk, AKA Two-Gun Kid. A late 19th century lawyer who led a double life as a legendary masked lawman in his native time, Hawk was paroled to the modern era by the TVA under Walters’ supervision on condition that he engage in no further time travel. Trapped in modern times, Hawk soon realized his 19th century legal training was hopelessly outdated; however, he found a new niche as GLK&H’s in-house security and bail enforcement agent, helping keep GLK&H’s many super-criminal clients in line and chasing them down if they escaped. Mallory Book was instantly smitten with Hawk, much to the annoyance of Awesome Andy. The android had been secretly acting as Book’s personal trainer during her months of physical therapy since the Titania attack, developing a secret crush on Mallory during that time.
GLK&H’s interoffice romances took a bizarre turn when the firm represented cosmic hero Eros, AKA Starfox, in a sexual assault case. Unaware that his mind and his emotion-manipulating powers had been subtly warped by his evil brother Thanos at this time, the well-meaning Starfox used his powers to enhance the affections of She-Hulk and Mallory Book. Walters fell passionately, obsessively in love with her then-boyfriend, pilot John Jameson, while Book developed a similar passion for Awesome Andy. Making matters worse, the instinctively adaptable Andy unwittingly replicated Starfox’s power and unconsciously sustained both love spells for weeks, until he finally realized what was happening and shut his powers off. A newlywed Walters annulled her misguided marriage to Jameson, while a disgusted Book viciously spurned Andy. Book and Hawk began dating shortly thereafter, though Book’s heavily publicized android romance had already ruined her professional reputation. In a last-ditch bid to regain her credibility, Book represented infamous criminal mastermind Samuel Sterns, AKA the Leader, and won. This further soured relations between Book and Walters, but it also made Book the most prominent and sought-after defense attorney in the country.
A heartbroken Andy, meanwhile, quit the firm and rejoined the Mad Thinker, who had taken on Southpaw as a junior partner in crime. On a similarly sad note, Augustus Pugliese abandoned his long-unrequited romantic interest in Jennifer Walters just as she was severing her ties with Jameson. To help himself get over Walters, Pugliese took a magical potion that negated his love for her; however, this potion also secretly forced him into the service of evil sorceress Morgan le Fay.
Stu Cicero deduced Artie Zix’s true identity, so Zix trapped Cicero on the extradimensional Duckworld to protect his secret. Needing assistance in his schemes, however, Zix shared his true identity with “Dottie,” having long since seen through Ditto’s disguise, and coerced Ditto into posing as Cicero to cover Stu’s absence. To replace the supposedly fired Dottie, Ditto hired one-time GLK&H client Mr. Bobo, a super-evolved chimpanzee, as the firm’s new receptionist. Bobo proved surprisingly capable in that role, but Ditto’s lack of comics knowledge made him a poor imitation of Cicero.
Stu’s assistants Chas Kilpatrick and Lewis Utz soon detected the switch and exposed Ditto, forcing Zix to reveal himself as RTZ9. The robot took various GLK&H personnel hostage and interrogated them before finally departing, his mission complete, having proved that She-Hulk posed no threat to the Recluses. Unbeknownst to RTZ9, however, an unidentified conqueror had slaughtered the Recluses in his absence and monitored humanity through Zix. This entity detonated RTZ9 shortly after the robot left Earth. Stu Cicero, meanwhile, had returned to Earth, though he soon left the firm for a new job as a Marvel Comics writer.
When Holden Holliway formally resigned from the firm, devoting himself fully to the search for Southpaw, Mallory Book was promoted to senior partner and the firm was renamed Goodman, Lieber, Kurtzberg & Book (GLK&B). Book made peace with Walters, seeking a better working relationship and perhaps even a friendship, but this effort failed during Walters’ defense of minor criminal mystic Arthur Moore, AKA Dark Art. Moore had secretly framed himself for certain crimes as part of a scheme to destroy Walters’ legal career, a plot masterminded by Moore’s unidentified employers for reasons unknown. After Walters won Moore’s case, he magically tricked her and Book into believing they had unwittingly helped him get away with a series of child murders. Enraged, Walters physically assaulted Moore in front of witnesses and publicly accused him of the murders, a serious breach of legal ethics since her statements revealed privileged information. Disbarred for her misconduct, Walters left GLK&B in disgrace while Book struggled to repair the firm’s image after the Dark Art debacle. Walters’ former caseload shifted to other GLK&B attorneys such as timid Smedley F. Smedley, who replaced Walters as counsel to reformed menace Fin Fang Foom.
She-Hulk has since become a freelance bounty hunter with GLK&B subsidiary Freeman Bonding, Inc. (FBI), the only bonding agency specializing in posting bail money for super criminals. Sympathetic to Walters’ situation, FBI manager Emilee Freeman kept hiring her despite She-Hulk’s often costly and destructive methods. One of She-Hulk’s adventures recently reunited her with Mallory Book, who reluctantly helped Walters exonerate innocent widower Larry Ryan during his murder trial.