Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat: Hooked on a Feline
Writer: Kate Leth
Artists: Brittany L. Williams (#1-5) Natasha Allegri (#6)
Colorists: Megan Wilson (#-1-5) Natasha Allegri (#6)
Letterers: VC’s Clayton Cowles, Joe Sabino (#1)
This weeks review became a surprise favorite of mine. Finishing the story I’m now openly all about shipping. I had heard good things about this story from a friend and employee of my local comic shop. I was glad that the Instagram community voted this to the week’s review to celebrate Pride Month. I’ll be sinking my claws into Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat: Hooked on a Feline.
A Meowtain of Problems
Patsy isn’t having the best of weeks. She’s just been fired by her BFF/boss Jennifer Walters, A.K.A. She-Hulk as well as being evicted from the storage closet she was living in at the office. If working in retail to bounce back from all that wasn’t tough enough, finding out your ex childhood friend is selling comics with your name on it again, without informing you, is. Patsy Walker comics? That’s right. Netflix decided to go with a grittier take on “Trish”, where instead of a fun Archie style comic loosely based around her life they went with the young girl landing a role in a tv series while struggling with abuse and addiction behind the scenes. I guess acknowledging comics in a show about comic book characters was too much of a stretch for Netflix?
So you got Hedy Wolfe, A.K.A. Friend who promised not to sell any more Patsy comics but did anyway. Hedy and Patsy are going into a legal battle over the use of Patsy’s name again without her consent. With She-Hulk as Patsy’s lawyer, this case should be a smash. All of this would be easy, but then it wouldn’t be a superhero conflict without a villain to face off against. In comes Casiolena, A.K.A. not Enchantress but basically Enchantress. She was partially involved in Patsy’s death years ago (was that mentioned?). Enhantr- I mean, Casiolena, is recruiting newly super-powered teens under false promises to build an army and it’s up to Hellcat and her friends to save the day. Witch paw-lease.
Feline Just Fine
Despite all this “cat”astrophe going on in Patsy’s life, she is handling it pretty well. She stops first time criminal Ian Soo, A.K.A. new friend/roommate from stealing money. Patsy quickly becomes inspired by his story of newfound powers and alienation giving her the purrfect idea. Her goal is to create a service that provides jobs to those with powers that aren’t looking to save the day. Along the way, she’ll run into some help from former childhood and comic book costar Tom, A.K.A. a Big Ol’ Teddy Bear. Sure she may have some setbacks, but Patsy manages to solve almost all her problems in this story by extending a paw of friendship and having the support of others.
Representation and Enjoyment
While I can’t assume Patsy’s sexuality, as it is not discussed openly in this volume, I did enjoy the ambiguity of her and She-Hulk. I 100% ship it. I found Ian Soo’s and Tom’s relationship in the background very enjoyable. Ian is a clever boy winning Tom over with his sly moves and cheesy gestures. Tom and Patsy’s thirst for the landlord’s son was pretty funny, but with the reveal of his bedbug powers she shut that down. During this story, I found myself in the same boat as Patsy with her friend Ian. In the last issue, Ian makes a statement that causes Patsy to inquire about Ian’s sexuality who informs her that he is bi. I liked that Kate Leth let Ian come out about his sexuality organically, while also not hiding it in the story either. It felt more natural and like a real moment between friends showing their trust and support of each other.
A Purrrfect Blend
This was my first real experience with both the writer and the artist for the main story of this book. Leth, I knew for writing some Adventure Time, and Williams for some work on Lumberjanes I had flipped through. Going through the story, these two together were an absolute powerhouse on being in sync. Brittany Williams gives Patsy some of the best cat-like expressions and reactions to different situations that easily put the most Salem from Sabrina the Teenage Witch voice in your head. This pairs very nicely with Kate Leth’s light-hearted humor and responses to tough situations (a nice change of pace from many heroes’ brooding).
The background was not a litter box to be ignored either. Willaims, along with colorist Megan Wilson (issues #1-5), kept each panel colorful and fun with something for your cat-like eyes to look for. Patsy’s time working retail at what appears to be a mall provides so much fun stuff for you to see. From the great Forever 21 style clothing options to just some lady trying to stop a baby’s tantrum on the ground as Patsy and Ian walk by feels so real in a cartoony art style.
End of the Yarn
Overall I found this story to be one of my favorite light-hearted superhero stories. Hellcat hasn’t had the most kid-friendly of origins and Netflix hasn't done her any favors either. It’s great to see that Marvel, with the talented team that worked on this book, were able to make this a fun, bright and inclusive read. I would recommend Patsy Walker, A.K.A Hellcat for anyone looking for something less dark and moody to pick up.
You thought this was over? Just kitten! I haven’t talked about issue #6 of this volume. This was kind of a filler issue for what seems to be setting up the next story arc but that didn’t bother me because this issue messed me up with how cute it was. Kate Leth teams up with artist Natasha Allegri (Best known for Bee and Puppycat) to produce an issue so sweet my heart was melting. Patsy has been working nonstop and needs a break so She-Hulk, Ian and Tom come to get her for some fun in the sun at Coney Island. It’s a fun time with ice cream, games and romantic experiences. Have I mentioned She-Hulk and Patsy are super cute together yet?
The day takes a turn when Patsy stumbles across Arcade, A.K.A. Meanie, a supervillain whose a lot worse than you would assume by his gimmick. I love that Leth points this out in the issue as a challenge to tone the character down. To stop Arcade from doing really bad stuff they gotta play his old torture arcade games. With Tom forced to become the winning prize the gang breaks out their quarters and competes for the high scores. Ian fails the racing portion but thankfully a depowered Jennifer kicks Arcade’s butt at some really physical Skiball. Patsy and She-Hulk are really cute together as Jennifer cheers Hellcat on for the final game, defeating Arcade and saving Tom. She-Hulk leaves with the most flirtatious panel that I have to acknowledge that I ship it. So go get this book you won’t regret this adorably fierce read.