One of the core premises of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law is the impact rapidly expanding numbers of superpowered beings might have on a given society. Jennifer Walters’ job as a superhuman lawyer is enticing to her because she gets to shape superhuman law: determining how and where legal limits apply to people who can do exponentially more with their bodies than other citizens. Not only does it make for a big part of the show’s humor, but it accentuates one of Jennifer’s principles: that she can do more good in her current position than she could beating up villains with the Avengers.
Ironically, one of the cases determining superpowered law actually has a comic-book career as an Avenger. Mr. Immortal, a serial philanderer who ducks out of marriages by faking his own death, makes his live-action debut in Season 1, Episode 6, “Just Jen.” His past in the comic books is far more colorful and entails an extended stint with a branch of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
Mr. Immortal first appeared in West Coast Avengers #46 (John Byrne, Mike Machlan, Bob Sharen and Bill Oakley) as a more or less active satire. As his name implies, his sole superpower is he’s incapable of dying. Any damage to his body heals within seconds. That limits his superheroic potential, as the criminals invariably kill him and escape before he revives, which prompts him to form a team. They eventually become The Great Lakes Avengers, consisting of similar heroes with quirky but useful powers.
Byrne began his celebrated run on She-Hulk at the same time as Mr. Immortal’s debut, and the two characters reflect a similar sense of humor. Despite that, he’s still a bona fide hero, using his abilities for the greater good and earning his status — however tangential — as a member of The Avengers. But the limited utility of his powers also has great potential for the kind of storytelling She-Hulk specializes in, and more specifically, the kind of legal havoc a figure like that could wreak in the name of a scam.
As a result, the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s version of Mr. Immortal is both decidedly sketchier and well in keeping with the show’s sense of humor. As an immortal, he’s been married numerous times. Yet, he always tires of the companionship and — disliking confrontation — simply pretends to die, then moves on with his life. That earns him a nasty class action lawsuit in “Just Jen,” as his various ex-wives sue him for damages.
The intrinsic humor helps the gag work and gives Jennifer’s assistant Nikki a chance to shine as she deftly manages the various exes’ demands for satisfaction. But it also highlights the kind of legal issues that a figure like Mr. Immortal presents. If he legally dies — even if he comes back — it raises the question of whether things like a marriage are automatically dissolved, which would save him the messiness of a formal divorce. It’s also a demonstration of pettiness, similar to Titania’s, using an extraordinary ability not for the greater good but as a quick-fix solution to self-created problems.
The irony of it all is that Jennifer misses the whole thing, spending the episode as a bridesmaid for a very inconvenient wedding and leaving the legal jockeying to Nikki and Mallory Book. Mr. Immortal’s case presents here with a cautionary example of trying to have a “normal” life. That might not be possible with her kinds of powers. And even if it was — considering what Mr. Immortal does with it — that might not be as good a thing as she pretends, something the comic book version of the character understands far better than his MCU counterpart.
New episodes of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law stream every Thursday on Disney+.