Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

HAWK TALK – Lawyers

This would usually be a skip week, but thanks to some generous donors to Equality Florida, Hawk Talk is back! This week, we talk about lawyers and law.



  1. I sometimes wish there was no maritime law, just because my job is full of stuff I need to do to fulfill certain maritime security policies. It feels like lots of busy work at times.
    Maritime law/admiralty law is actually really interesting if you want to get super nerdy with legal things. There are so many things to explore from international treaties right down to personal injury on a boat at a dock in your town.

  2. Thanks guys! That was a lot of fun. I can’t comment on the existence of maritime law, because I live in Pittsburgh, where we only have Bruce Willis River Law. I don’t believe I am a supervillain, but I did come up with Siege Perilous, the mobile game, so maybe.

  3. Ah… the law… a subject I know absolutely NOTHING about.

    Other DCU lawyers would include the original Pre-Crisis Earth-2 Dick “Robin” Grayson and Helena “The Huntress” Wayne. Dick was a partner in the firm of “Cranston, Grayson and Wayne” (Which did consumer research and law), before leaving after being appointed the US Ambassador to South Africa in the late 70’s (I don’t even know what to make of THAT factoid and what position he might have held about the apartheid regiem, but I really can’t imagine it was “Pro”). Helena was Bruce’s daughter with Selina Kyle-Wayne, and was a Yale graduate who was their newest partner (on her own merits by any metric).

    Currently both mainstream DCU Dick Grayson and Barbara Gordon have law degrees but aren’t practicing (Though I think in her Oracle days a couple of reboots ago, Barbara did take, and pass, the Gotham Bar exam because she was bored and had some time to kill)

    The 80’s version of the Vigilante was a DA who basically had the Punisher origin with a more expensive wardrobe.

    At least two versions of Manhunter have been lawyers, Mark Shaw and Kate Spencer.

    In the Marvel Universe, we also have evil-lawyer Doug Ramsey from the Cross Time Caper issue with crime-boss Kitty and demon-sorceress Supreme Illyana (and regular Doug’s dad who was the lawyer who helped Xavier establish the school)

    Beast also has a law degree, amonsgt his other qualifications.

    If there’s a Star Wars Disney cruise it would be kinda cool if Jabba made you walk the plank liike Luke at the Sarlacc Pit (bonus points if you can do some bouncing tricks on the plank), but the coolest would have to be Darth Vader, especially if he can convince you to fake being pushed into the water whilst Vader gestures dramatically, because honestly, if I had to pick a way…

    The worst to be bumped off by would be Jar-Jar… naturally.

    1. I think you might have expanded a bit more on Adrian Chase, the ‘80s Vigilante — who is a shameless Punisher clone (a point complicated a bit by the Punisher’s origin already being a carbon copy itself), but one who also has Wolverine’s “healing factor.” It is as if Wolfman reacted to the charges of his Teen Titans being derivative of the X-Men by going, “Right, I’ll show you what it looks like when I *really* want to be shamelessly derivative of things that are currently in vogue. When I’m lifting things wholesale, I don’t $%#@ around — I lift things wholesale.”

      Vigilante was better than one might think. That is, it was better than one might think, once Paul Kupperberg took it over, since he wrote it in a way that came across as, “I hate this character, I hate this premise, but I’m going to take this comic deeply seriously and show you just how @#$@ed-up this character is.” In a very “comics can be for grown-ups!” grim sort of way, but that was the era, and if there’s a character where I’m open to reading a story about how they inevitably end up killing themselves out of self-loathing, this is the character.

      I was fooled by reading Kupperberg’s take on Vigilante into sampling some of the early Wolfman issues, and they were terrible even for a comic about a prosecutor who kills criminals “because they keep getting off on technicalities.” It would not surprise me if they were the worst things that Wolfman has ever written.

      1. Wait, Adrian Chase had a healing factor?

        I read his introdcution in the New Teen Titans run at the time, but not much beyond that because I’ve never liked Punisher style characters. Him having any actual super-power is a bit of a surprise, truth be told.

        I’m sort of glad that Kupperberg took his self-destructive traits to a logical, if tragic, conclusion.

        I remember when, post the Bruce Jones run and Infinite Crisis in 2007 or so, Marv Wolfman came back to the Nightwing title and quickly introduced a new Vigilante who, after a brief guest stint as an irritatingly hypercompetent antagonist who lacked anything approximating a personality, character, got his own 12 issue miniseries. Apparently he was Adrian’s brother, just to add that extra “Ooomph!” of originality.

  4. There was a blog called Law and the Multiverse that talked about all the legal issues in a superhero universe. Should telepaths be able to read the minds of defendants? Does Batman’s public use of Wayne Enterprises technology invalidate their patents? Should Iron Man have to file a flight plan with the FAA when he flies around New York? They haven’t posted anything really new in a while, but they do have a book.

    1. DC had a story where Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth was deemed to make any confessions it produced in the USA invalid as it removed someone’s right to not incriminate themselves.

      Kurt Busiek’s Astro City also had a lawyer who was defending (reluctantly) a supervillain not only go into detail about how could you be certain someone who was apparently murdered was actually A) The person you thought it was (What with all the shapeshifters) and B) actually dead (in a comic book universe where death is reversible and aliens might have different physiologies).

      He also developed “The Evil Twin Defence” which, again thanks to shapeshifters, clones, dimensionally/temporally displaced individuals etc, made it difficult to prove that the person who apparently did the killing, is the person who was arrested.

  5. ‪This episode reminded me of my law class in undergrad. We were studying Dworkin’s “Law as Integrity,” which can be seen as a middle ground between liberal and originalism readings of the constitution – I.e. the constitution can’t just be ignored, but it can’t be interpreted too strictly either so ‘The writers of the constitution might not have known they were righting about x but they were.’ I explained to my professor about retroactive continuity using the X-men (specifically Jean Grey as an example). He now cites retcons every time he teaches the class.‬

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