Review: Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat #10
Patsy literally goes to hell in Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat #10 as she confronts the spectres of her past in an issue featuring reality shattering art and colors from Brittney Williams and Megan Wilson and heartfelt, yet continuity driven writing from Kate Leth. Most of the comic is set in the hell dimension that Patsy’s ex-boyfriend Daimon Hellstrom (Aka Son of Satan) has sent to her, but Leth and Williams don’t neglect her friends along the way as they fight to rescue her. There is also time for mirth and romance, especially when it comes to a couple adorable supporting characters. (Yes, Ian and Tom Hale finally kiss in this issue.)
Patsy might end up squaring up against a bright red demon (With the Hebrew Bible deep cut name of Belial.) by the end of Hellcat #10, but the two problems she battles against are ones that many young people struggle with. They are not making the best choices in who we get romantically involved with and not living up to our “potential”. Belial taunts Patsy for marrying Mad Dog (then Buzz Baxter) and Daimon Hellstrom, but along the way, she realizes that these past choices don’t define her present, and Leth and Williams use these hell dimension scenes to help Patsy work through some of her issues. The scenes featuring She-Hulk are the most emotional as Williams cuts from a happy costume wearing Jen to a cold, comatose body as Patsy isn’t in control of her reality. But she gains more and more control as the comic progresses as she owns her past mistakes and takes the fight to real world and her friends.
Hellcat #10 has some of Brittney Williams and Megan Wilson’s most inventive visuals as her “hell” doesn’t look like the cover of a metal album or a Gustav Dore woodcut, but a classic Patsy Walker romance comic from 1950s with a burnt newsprint background. These crosshatchings from Williams and plenty of red from Wilson keeps the plot on its toes as Patsy must get out of hell on her own. And Williams really nails the sad eyes and forlorn looks of classic romance comics to make these scenes feel “real” for Patsy. Along the way, Kate Leth pokes fun at the cheesy dialogue of these old comics, and how they absolutely failed at depicting real teenage problems or struggles. (And everyone had perfect skin.)
Patsy’s mom exploited her high school struggles for her stories, but Patsy has decided to move on, and Williams shows this through a panel shattering punch as the fight goes from hell to the real world. And it’s all about the power of friendship as each member of Patsy’s friend/ex-boyfriend group gets a decent lick on Belial. Williams’ cartoonish style complements the fierceness of Jubilee as she is determined to get her new boss out of hell even if she has to turn Daimon Hellstrom into a vampire along the way. Ian also gets a big moment using his telekinesis on Belial showing that his confidence in his personal life (Kissing Tom.) has extended to his superpowers too.
Hellcat #10 balances inner conflict with action and comedy as Daimon Hellstrom and Mad Dog still fighting over Patsy is the height of farce. Kate Leth also subverts the “heroes fighting each other just to fight” (See Civil War II.) trope and has Jubilee explain to Daimon and Mad Dog why Hedy Clarke is manipulating them in a single, logical page. Add the ever-shifting backgrounds and color palettes from Brittney Williams and Megan Wilson, and Hellcat #10 is a milestone issue in Patsy Walker’s journey to cast off the shackles of her past and help the young superhumans of New York.
Story: Kate Leth Art: Brittney Williams Colors: Megan Wilson
Story: 8 Art: 9 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy