Review: Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat #11
A new arc kicks off in Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat #11 as Black Cat positions herself as a dark reflection of Hellcat’s temp agency by recruiting twenty somethings from Brooklyn as thieves and petty criminals. In the opening sequence introducing the “Black Cats”, writer Kate Leth and artist Brittney Williams channel a more hipster version of Beyonce’s Lemonade (Albeit with a darker color palette from Rachelle Rosenberg.) with smashing, graffiti, and some nimble acrobatics. It’s nice to see what seemed like an annoying ex-boyfriend get his due, but Zoe, Ari, Jin, and Lina’s actions get shadier as Black Cat sends them on a mission against Hellcat and her temp agency.
Leth makes the Black Cats a good antagonist for Hellcat by connecting them personally to Patsy, her friends, and the world that Leth and Williams have constructed for the past eleven issues. Zoe used to be roommates with Hellcat’s best friend Ian and possibly his girlfriend from her unbearably cheesy dialogue featuring the word “macking” unironically. Ian has already been going through a hard time because he wants to stay away from the insane world of superheroes, but keeps getting drawn into them so the return of Zoe only exacerbates things for him. Plus he has been playing the completely depressing second disk of Hamilton non-stop. Even though they involve superpowers, girl gangs, and hell dimensions, Ian has the real fear that the good things in his life will end, which is the scariest feeling. He is also one of the few characters in a superhero comic, who doesn’t want to be a superhero even though he gets kind of a mini “Dark Phoenix” moment towards the end of the issue.
When she isn’t drawing acrobatic smash and grabs or the more legal sparring sessions between Jubilee, Hellcat, and the magic bag wielding temp worker Bailey, Brittney Williams excels at developing the friendship and bond between Ian and Patsy. She dials down the usual humorous hyperactivity in her art for these pages showing little moves like a surprise hug or a winking Hamilton joke to rebuild their friendship, which has been struggling a little bit since Patsy has been egging Ian on to be a superhero and not just a bookstore worker. But, sometimes it’s just better to support our friends instead of trying to direct their life’s path. Leth and Williams don’t use superhero or romance fiction cliches, like love triangles or mind control, to create tension in Ian and Patsy’s friendship, but let the arguments and make-ups flow organically.
Hellcat #11 brings a new level of chaos to the series as Black Cat and her girl gang disrupt Patsy Walker’s temp agency for seemingly no reason except to mess with her. However, the previous relationship between Zoe and Ian as well as the fact that Zoe was evicted by Patsy’s landlord adds some nice connective tissue to the earlier issues while still injecting some fresh energy into the comic. Also, as seen in the final page, Kate Leth and Brittney Williams’ Black Cat has kind of a mean streak and isn’t just the flirtatious anti-hero that occasionally smooches Spider-Man. Rad jackets aside, she isn’t someone you would want to hang out with unlike Ian Soo despite his high levels of melancholy in this issue.
Story: Kate Leth Art: Brittney Williams Colors: Rachelle Rosenberg
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Verdict: Buy
Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review