Review: Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat #9
Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat #9 reaches new heights of fun, happiness, and queerness in an issue that features Jubilee being the best assistant ever and rocking the cappucinos, Tom Hale singing “Poor Unfortunate Souls” at karaoke, and a couple of bad boys from Patsy’s past showing up again. Writer Kate Leth delivers a script full of puns, heartful character moments, and just a touch of sadness as Patsy is still coping with her BFF, She-Hulk, being in a coma thanks to Civil War II. Artist Brittney Williams gets to show off her flare for action as Jubilee and Patsy get to team up against her ex-husbands, Mad Dog and Daimon Hellstrom. She can do misty eyed romance and enthusiastic friendship as well, and her fun, fierce, and cartoonish art style solidifies her as one of Marvel’s best current pencilers. And colorist Megan Wilson gets to add hellfire red to her usual pink, blue, and yellow palette, especially as Daimon ends up being too hot to handle.
She doesn’t get much panel time in Hellcat #9, but Leth, Williams, and Wilson elevate Hedy Clarke to arch-nemesis in the space of a single page. Most of the time, Hellcat is a slice of life sitcom, a quirky superhero adventure, or a Saturday morning cartoon, but the opening page of this issue is pure film noir. There’s a close-up on a martini glass and a cold blue backdrop from Wilson. Williams gives Daimon Hellstrom a classy suit, and Hedy Clarke, a red and black dress that pairs well with her stone-faced stare Hedy gives him when she lies about Patsy. And Hedy’s evil plan is pretty damn ingenious as she feeds on Daimon and Mad Dog’s negative feelings toward Patsy and lets them cut loose when she isn’t really in superhero mode. Plus Daimon Hellstrom is quite the powerhouse, and Leth and Williams show that as he ends a fight with one wave of his staff and a creepy pentagram.
Luckily, Hellcat #9 isn’t all darkness and evil. There are puns too. Most of the issue (except for the end of comic fight) is concerned with Patsy trying to make ends meet at her temp agency as she must balance paying rent on her building with paying her employees. Combined with her feeling down about She-Hulk’s injury, Patsy is running out of steam. Enter Jubilee, who is a happy ray of vampiric sunshine into the comic’s supporting cast. The spare roomwhere she holds court is super adorable with its mix of typical office trappings, like an espresso machine and mini fridge, and baby stuff for Shogo Lee, like a Wolverine plush, toy dinosaurs, and way too many sets of alphabet letters. Williams’ skill at background jokes comes in handy in this space, especially when Jubilee’s Magneto mug is concerned. “Magneto was old” could sort of be a thesis statement for Hellcat as its characters are more concerned with helping out their friends and making ends meet than grand ideologies.
And speaking of adorableness, the karaoke bar sequence is Hellcat #9 at its most queer friendly as Tom Hale and everyone’s favorite bisexual Inhuman Ian Soo aren’t victims, but joyfully singing, drinking, and maybe even falling in love. Tom’s choice of “Poor Unfortunate Souls” is kind of perfect, and the play of pink and blue from Megan Wilson creates a warm, tingly romantic feeling. (Full disclosure: I had a boyfriend, who had that as his go-to karaoke song too.) Williams also uses glances, little bits of hearts, and hilarious reaction shots from other characters to slowly craft the romance. Also, Leth writes Jubilee as the perfect wing woman with her slick one-liners about Tom not just being Ian’s boss. They should just kiss already, but this is a superhero comic and the smooching is put on hold for fighting. For now, at least.
Hellcat #9 is a flat out fun read as Kate Leth, Brittney Williams, and Megan Wilson put Hellcat and her friends through the wringer while also letting them live a little and enjoy life. There’s action, comedy, romance, plenty of cuteness, and a cliffhanger that is like something out of Stranger Things.
Story: Kate Leth Art: Brittney Williams Colors: Megan Wilson
Story: 8.5 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Buy