Review: Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat #12
Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat #12 is soo much more than a battle between a feline-themed hero and villain (That’s fun too, though.) as writer Kate Leth, artist Brittney Williams, and colorist Rachelle Rosenberg give Patsy’s bisexual Inhuman roommate Ian Soo some time in the spotlight as he has a very personal connection to one of Black Cat’s goons, Zoe. This comic explores toxic relationships, biphobia, and even realizing one’s potential with plenty of cat puns, action, and moody coloring from Rosenberg as most of the issue takes place at night. It’s another fierce, funny read as Jubilee’s transformation into a snarling cloud is worth your $3.99 alone.
There comes a day when a non-powered character in a superpowered universe wants to be a superhero. (See James Olsen in recent episodes of Supergirl as well as the Ur-example Xander from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.) Leth plays with this trope a little bit by making Ian, who has an Inhuman with telekinetic powers and no desire whatsoever to be a hero, think about taking up the profession. His desire to use his powers more actively is connected to being more open with his bisexuality thanks to the support of his new boyfriend Tom Hale and Patsy, who says he’s her best friend in a touching panel. And Leth and Williams aren’t afraid to show his anger that exhibits itself in crushed trash cans as Zoe continues to put him down like she did as the worst girlfriend/roommate ever. Their flashback is one of the top five scariest sequences in comics, and there is all take and no give in how Zoe treats Ian. But Ian channels this rage and negative feelings into one empowering full page spread as he rocks his new costume that’s like Gerard Way’s Black Parade outfit with skull motifs. Now, he just needs a cool name to match his outfit.
Along with Ian’s character development, Hellcat #12 is the full blossoming of Black Cat into the most fabulous and evil crime kingpin. Leth writes Black Cat as obsessed with fulfilling her desires no matter the cost to her subordinates and using them only for what she wants out of them, like Bailey’s bag, which can grab and transport any object. They are utterly expendable, and Williams draws her as an oversized, almost regal presence taking up space on the page with extravagant, yet ridiculous trappings like a throne with cat motifs at her headquarters. (Also, her henchwomen communicate via cat ear headsets, which is kind of adorable in a nefarious way.) She has a similar relationship to her Black Cat gang that Ian used to have with Zoe despite gifting them some pretty cool motorcycles for quick getaways from superheroes. Her eyes always have a fierce, mysterious glimmer, and Leth keeps her purpose for robbing a costume museum decently secret in its connection to her overall goals of running Brooklyn.
Hellcat #12 has quick, visual laughs (Any time Jubilee shows up.), spends a lot of time looking into Ian’s motivation into becoming a hero, and has quite the theatrical villain. It’s another win for Kate Leth, Brittney Williams, and Rachelle Rosenberg, and an argument for why Ian Soo really needs a miniseries with crop tops and Hamilton references turned up to eleven.
Story: Kate Leth Art: Brittney Williams Colors: Rachelle Rosenberg
Story: 8 Art: 9 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review