Tag Archives: Ian Soo

Review: Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat #17

Like a cinnamon sugar pretzel for Auntie Ann’s, Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat #17 is a sweet treat of a comic book and a hell of a bit of icing on the cupcake that was Kate Leth, Brittney Williams, and (for the second half of the series) Rachelle Rosenberg’s run on the title. Patsy has finally come into some money thanks to getting back to the book rights to the romance novels and has decided to treat her friends to a nice shopping spree. (Color me jealous.) Cue a bevy of montages, food court scenes, and a celebration of friendship, queerness, and even a touch of fandom at the end.

I really like that Leth and Williams focused on the core cast of Patsy, Jubilee, Ian Soo, and Tom Hale in Hellcat #17. Before the shopping action even starts, we get some playful banter between Patsy and Ian, and it’s hard to believe that they were hero and villain sixteen issues ago until bonding over musicals. The bonds and interactions between characters have been my favorite part of Hellcat so far, and Leth indulges this by going full slice of life in the series finale. Williams counters with some wonderful (and wearable) fashion and adorable set dressing like Patsy’s cat themed cover set and slippers on the first page with a touch of Brooklyn sunlight from Rosenberg to show this is a perfect day. While also being a celebration of fun and friendship, Hellcat #17 also embraces body positivity with the diverse body types of its main cast, and an any outfit can look cool/cute attitude. (Someone needs to show me where Ian got his.)

Hellcat is still a superhero comic, and there is a “villain”, but Leth and Williams have a couple twists up their sleeves as the “Somnambulisters” transform from Z-list villains to vampires and finally big fans of Hellcat and queer teens. Williams uses choppy panels with simple backgrounds, puffs of smoke, and punching when it seems like Hellcat is fighting some of Jubilee’s vampire frenemies. However, she opens it up when it’s revealed that Stevie and Danica are Patsy’s biggest fans, and that fact ends up being facepalm-worthy thanks to dialogue from their very friendly villainous dialogue. (Also, one of the pair sits out during the brawl to take pictures like the other is visiting Patsy’s booth at a convention.) Speaking of dialogue, Kate Leth writes fast-paced, melodramatic teen dialogue and can cut to the core of the subtext behind the banter, which is that Stevie and Danica love each other. It’s a super cute touch to Marvel’s most queer-friendly book that featured a gay bookstore as a hangout/place to meet attractive gingers, like Tom Hale.

In its first issue, Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat set out to be a comic book about super-powered individuals who just wanted to make ends meet, have a good, and not fight costumed villains or have run-ins with the authorities. Sure, there were fights against the Black Cat and journeys to hell along the way, but Hellcat #17 recaptures the spirit of Kate Leth and Brittney Williams’ original thesis for the series. Patsy doesn’t knock out the Somnabulisisters, but instead listens to them and finds out they have a passionate for Hellcat and each other. She doesn’t send them to jail, but helps them return their costumes to “Goth Topic” and even recommends they visit Tom’s LGBTQ bookstore to help them with their feelings for each other. This is just like Patsy helping Ian find work moving books at Tom’s store in Hellcat #1 instead of throwing him in jail for badly attempting to steal an armored car as Telekinian.

Even though it has quirky jokes and fierce style thanks to the dialogue of Kate Leth, the facial expressions and costume design of Brittney Williams, and a palette that uses just the right amount of pink from Rachelle Rosenberg, Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat is a comic all about community building through organic friendships. It’s great to see characters go from awkward half-strangers or acquaintances from days past, like Tom who was in the Patsy Walker romance comic many moons ago, to friends in arms and finally, in shopping. That’s why it’s fitting that Hellcat #17 doesn’t end in a cliffhanger or final battle, but an overhead shot of friends spending time together.

P.S. Marvel editorial and future creators better not forget about Ian Soo, who will always be my bi bae and had a great arc throughout the series, and his backstory even tied into some of the villain fights.

P.P.S. This comic pair wells with “Safety Dance” by Men without Hats.

Story: Kate Leth Art: Brittney Williams Colors: Rachelle Rosenberg
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat #14

patrsy-walker-14Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat #14 is a flash grenade fast end to the Black Cat story arc as writer Kate Leth, artist Brittney Williams, and colorist Rachelle Rosenberg show the final battle between Hellcat and her Hellkittens and Black Cat’s girl (and gay ginger) gang. Ian Soo and Jubilee play major roles in the final action sequence while Leth shows that Ian is better being himself around his new boyfriend Tom than walking on eggshells around his ex, Zoe.

Teaming up with an enemy is an old-as-the-hills Marvel superhero trope with heavy hitters, like Hawkeye, Black Widow, and Rogue starting out as a bad guys. Except Leth and Williams add a personal touch with Zoe trying to seduce Ian to join her in his bedroom, and there are the awkward feeling of being exes combined with the fact that she didn’t care about her bisexuality. Zoe had romantic feelings for Ian, but she minimized his bisexuality and the fact he didn’t want to dress in a traditionally masculine way, which made him feel low. Even though they are fighting together against Black Cat, Leth is clear to say that they aren’t friends. Williams also cuts the “ex-reunion” close with a panel of raised hand while Rosenberg replaces the cool night colors with the pink and yellow pastels of a Jubilee morning donut run.

The mind control mechanics starts to wear a little then in Hellcat #14, but Williams makes up for it with some strong aesthetic choices, like everyone in Black Cat’s gang wearing matching pink and black cat jackets. This includes Tom Hale, whose dialogue while under mind control is hilarious and pathetic. Everyone calls Black Cat, “Ms. Cat” for some reason, and there is no way for her to have any kind of real relationships because they are all based on her scratching them with magic claws. She may get to do snow angels in bank vaults, but Felicia ends up alone in the end. Williams’ art is super funny when she shows Black Cat enjoying her powers between muttering about Spider-Man, who she still kind of has a crush on.

Leth makes Ian Soo and Jubilee integral parts of the plot in Hellcat #14. With the arc wrapping up, Jubilee’s vampire abilities, which seemed to be just played for laughs in previous issues, come in handy in the final fight. (You can’t scratch incorporeal clouds.) Ian’s telekinetic abilities have also come a long way since he was failing at robbing armored trucks back in Hellcat #1 and instead blasts with large swathes of pink from Rosenberg taking out Black Cat’s henchpeople. Jubilee and Ian are a pair of badasses and also happen to be great allies and friends to Patsy. Not even a girl gang can keep them down.

Although the plot was dependent on mind control, Hellcat #14 is a strong end to the comic’s third arc as Kate Leth, Brittney Williams, and Rachelle Rosenberg give Hellcat a personal connection to Black Cat’s gang through Ian and his ex and add plenty of physical comedy, smooching, and fierceness to see this story to the finish line.

Story: Kate Leth Art: Brittney Williams Colors: Rachelle Rosenberg
Story: 7.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Logan’s Favorite Comics of 2016

Some amazing comics came out in 2016 from both the Big Two and the indie ranks. This was the year that I had a lot of fun reading the books that came out in the “margins” of Marvel and DC that didn’t feature their top characters, but had idiosyncratic, top notch visuals, or just a good sense of humor. Black Mask continues to be my go-to for hard hitting indie work, and the whole BOOM! Box imprint continues to be as fun as ever.

Without further ado, these are my personal favorite comics of 2016, the ones that stimulated and entertained me the most in this difficult year.

kimandkimFI

10. Kim and Kim #1-4 (Black Mask)
Writer: Mags Visaggio Artist: Eva Cabrera Colorist: Claudia Aguirre

Kim and Kim was a super fun sci-fi miniseries with some wild and wacky worldbuilding, rollicking action scenes, and lots of hilarious interactions between the two leads, Kim Q and Kim D. Writer Mags Visaggio put their friendship front and center giving the comic a strong emotional through-line between bounty hunter shenanigans. Also, Eva Cabrera excels at drawing attractive humans as well as strange aliens, and I enjoyed Claudia Aguirre’s pastel-filled color palette. It was also nice to have a story starring two queer women not end in senseless death.

jonesy #2 featured

9. Jonesy #1-8 (BOOM! Studios)
Writer: Sam Humphries Artist: Caitlin Rose Boyle Colorists: Mickey Quinn, Brittany Peer

Every year, the BOOM! Box imprint seems to churn out a new title that captures my heart. Jonesy is a fire cracker of a comic starring a teenage girl, who can make anyone fall in love with anything. Unfortunately, that power doesn’t work on her personally, and it gets her into a lot of trouble. Sam Humphries’ writing has as little chill as his protagonist, and Caitlin Rose-Boyle’s art evokes the zines that Jonesy loves to make about her favorite pop star, Stuff. The hyper-stylized plots and faces that Jonesy pulls kept me laughing while Jonesy’s struggles with finding someone to love her and her strained relationship with her mom in the second arc gave me the feels. Her and her friends’ unabashed passion for life is kind of inspiring too.

ultimates2fi

8. Ultimates #3-12, Ultimates 2 #1-2 (Marvel)
Writer: Al Ewing Artists: Kenneth Rocafort, Christian Ward, Djibril Morrisette-Phan, Travel Foreman Colorist: Dan Brown

Ultimates and Ultimates 2 were the gold standard for team superhero book at both Marvel and DC, and not even Civil War II could stop this title’s momentum. The Al Ewing-penned comic was more of a science fiction saga that happened to star a diverse cast of superheroes than a straight up team book as they tried to find productive solutions to problems like Galactus and the Anti-Man instead of just punching things. And like all good team books, there’s some great interpersonal tension like when Black Panther puts Wakanda before the team, Ms. America defies Captain Marvel, and Spectrum and Blue Marvel start smooching. Ultimates also has some wonderful tapestry-style double page spreads from artists Kenneth Rocafort, Christian Ward, and Travel Foreman that match its multiversal scope. It’s an entertaining and esoteric comic.

 

deadman-2-featured

7. Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love #1-2 (DC)
Writer: Sarah Vaughn Artist: Lan Medina Colorist: Jose Villarrubia

In 2016, DC really stretched its wings genre-wise with the Young Animal imprint and comics, like a satirical take on the Flintstones. But, the best of this quirky bunch was a Gothic romance take on Deadman from Fresh Romance‘s Sarah Vaughn, Fables‘ Lan Medina, and atmospheric colorist Jose Villarrubia. The main character, Berenice, can see ghosts, including Deadman, who are trapped in a haunted British mansion. There are secret passageways, mysterious backstories, and an epic, bisexual love triangle, but mostly, Deadman is a meditation on mortality and relationships, both platonic and romantic with some jaw-dropping scenery from Medina and Villarrubia.

Hellcat7FI

6. Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat #2-13 (Marvel)
Writer: Kate Leth Artists: Brittney Williams, Natasha Allegri Colorists: Megan Wilson, Rachelle Rosenberg

Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat is a comic that acknowledges how annoying getting your life together can be for twenty-somethings, who live in the city. Kate Leth, Brittney Williams, Megan Wilson, and Rachelle Rosenberg also throw injourneys to Hell, guest appearances from Jessica Jones and Jubilee, telekinetic bisexuals quoting Hamilton, and nods to the old Patsy Walker romance comics to a quite relatable comic. Brittney Williams’ Magical Girl and Chibi-inspired art is great for comedy purposes, but she and Leth also had some emotional payoffs throughout Hellcat thanks to the relationships developed between Patsy, Ian Soo, and She-Hulk, especially when she reacts to She-Hulk’s injury in Civil War II. Hellcat is fierce, high energy comic that is the best of both romance and superhero comics with the occasional trippy scene shift from Williams, Wilson, and Rosenberg.

mockingbirdyas

5. Mockingbird  #1-8 (Marvel)
Writer: Chelsea Cain Artist: Kate Niemczyk, Sean Parsons, Ibrahim Moustafa Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg

Mockingbird was experimental, unabashedly feminist, pretty sexy, and just happened to star a former West Coast Avenger and be published by Marvel Comics. Thriller novelist Chelsea Cain plotted a pair of mysteries, involving cosplay cruises, doctor waiting rooms, corgis, and Marvel Universe deep cuts that were engaging thanks to detail filled art from Kate Niemczyk and inker Sean Parsons. Loaded with background gags and subtle foreshadowing for future issues, Mockingbird certainly has “replay” value as a comic and is triumphant, messy, and funny just like its lead character, Bobbi Morse and was a coming out party for Marvel’s next great colorist, Rachelle Rosenberg.

love-is-love-featured

4. Love is Love (IDW)
Writers: Various Artists: Various

I just reviewed this comics anthology a few days ago, but Love is Love is the 2016 comic that affected me personally the most as it showed the effects of The Pulse shooting on the LGBTQ community in a variety of ways. I latched onto stories about the vibrancy of the queer community in Orlando, the sanctuary effect of gay clubs that provided some of the anthology’s best visuals from Jesus Merino, Alejandra Gutierrez, and Michael Oeming, and the use of superheroes like Batman, Midnighter, and Supergirl as simple analogues of hope in the middle of heartbreak. Love is Love saddened me, but it also inspired me to continue to uplift my LGBTQ siblings as the racist, sexist, homophobes Trump and Pence take the office of president and vice president. It was also cool to see so many talented creators using their gifts to help raise money for Equality Florida.

WicDiv18FI

 

3. The Wicked + the Divine #18-24, #1831 (Image)
Writer: Kieron Gillen Artists: Jamie McKelvie, Stephanie Hans, Kevin Wada Colorist: Matthew Wilson

In WicDiv‘s third year, Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, and Matthew Wilson went a little blockbuster with big battles, splash pages, and an unexpected character death. But, the comic is still about the journey of Laura (Now Persephone.) from fan to artist, and how it has changed her life and relationships. And, in time honored tradition, WicDiv wasn’t afraid to get experimental with an issue featuring a Pantheon of Romantic poets and writers, like Mary Shelley and Lord Byron with lavish guest art from Journey into Mystery‘s Stephanie Hans, or the magazine issue with professional journalists interviewing Kieron Gillen roleplaying as Fantheon members with beautiful spot illustrations from Kevin Wada. As WicDiv enters its “Imperial Phase”, McKelvie and Wilson’s art is both opulent and disarming while Kieron Gillen has started to expose the personalities behind the explosions and drama of “Rising Action”.

giantdaysfi

 

2. Giant Days #10-21, Holiday Special #1 (BOOM!)
Writer: John Allison Artists: Max Sarin, Liz Fleming Colorist: Whitney Cogar

Giant Days is funny, true, shows the value of a good inker in Liz Fleming to nail a face or gesture, and reminds me of a weekend I spent in its setting of Sheffield over two years ago. John Allison and Max Sarin have developed the personalities and mannerisms of the three leads: Susan, Esther, and Daisy that any situation that they’re plugged into from music festivals to housing selections and even cheating rings is pure entertainment. Allison, Sarin, and the bright colors of Whitney Cogar nail the ups and downs of college life with a touch of the surreal, and the series continues to be more compelling as we get to know Susan, Esther, and Daisy better as people.

midnighterandapollofi

1. Midnighter #8-12, Midnighter and Apollo #1-3 (DC)
Writer: Steve Orlando Artists: David Messina, Gaetano Carlucci, ACO, Hugo Petrus, Fernando Blanco Colorist: Romulo Fajardo Jr.

Steve Orlando’s run on Midnighter and Midnighter and Apollo has the most bone breaking action, the coolest panel layouts from David Messina, ACO, and Fernando Blanco and yes, the hottest kisses and other sexy stuff as Midnighter and Apollo are back in a relationship. Orlando shows his passion for the DC and Wildstorm universes by bringing in obscure or neglected characters, like Extrano, and making them instantly compelling or frightening in the case of Henry Bendix. Watching Midnighter skillfully take down opponents from the Suicide Squad to subway pirates or demons is an adrenaline rush, and Orlando tempers these action scenes with plenty of romance and personal moments. Midnighter and Midnighter and Apollo aren’t just the best superhero comics of 2016, but the best ones period. Come for the one-liners and shattered limbs and stay for the self-sacrificing love.

Review: Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat #12

hellcat12Patsy 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 hellcat12interiorBlack 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

Review: Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat #11

hellcat11coverA 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 hellcat11interiorIan 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

Review: Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat #10

hellcat10coverPatsy 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.)

hellcathighschool

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

Review: Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat #6

Hellcat6CoverPatsy Walker AKA Hellcat #6 takes a break from the main storyline featuring Hellcat facing off against the Hedy Clarke for the rights to the romance comics featuring her to have its main character and her best friends Ian Soo, Tom Hale, and She-Hulk spend a day at Coney Island. However, X-Men villain/general annoying nuisance Arcade shows up, and the beach trip is a little less relaxing. Natasha Allegri of Adventure Time: Fionna and Cake and Bee and Puppycat fame turns up the adorableness to eleven while having clever page layouts and outrageous facial expressions. Her colors also add a lot to the story going from sky blues as the gang relaxes with food and arcade games on Coney Island to intense blues, reds, and oranges when they face Arcade. Writer Kate Leth brings the fun and crafts a standalone superhero adventure with plenty of quips, puns, and bisexuality.

Hellcat #6 is the comic book equivalent of a heart emoji as Leth and Allegri as they take the format of the Bronze Age Chris Claremont one and done Marvel Team-Up stories and imbue it with manga and animation influences while featuring a diverse cast of characters. Leth subverts  damsel in distress tropes by making Tom the “prize” in Arcade’s claw machine to be rescued and by having Ian be the only character to fail his challenge. (Of course, the guy who doesn’t have his driver’s license is the one who has to do the trippy driving game that makes Diddy Kong Racing look like Baby Park in Mario Kart Double Dash.) And this makes sense in the context of the story because She-Hulk and Hellcat are veteran superheroes while Ian and Tom are co-workers at a super cool gay bookstore. It’s also nice to get supporting characters in a superhero comic, who break out of the usual “damsel” or guest superhero role, and are just well rounded human beings.

HellcatFit

Leth and Allegri give Hellcat a determined underdog vibe as she takes on the strength challenge as she blows off his insults and puts her Krav Maga training to good use in a test of strength. Allegri draws her like a whirling dervish of energy as she freaks about Ian getting electrocuted by Arcade’s traps or just hugs She-Hulk after the big battle. Patsy cares about her friends and helping superpowered people, and her enthusiasm is infectious. Allegri’s character designs enhance characterization as Arcade looks like a JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure character with his posturing, villainous monologues, and preening even as tries to belittle Ian’s masculinity. (It doesn’t work.) Her Jessica Jones is suitably cool and mysterious and matches Leth’s quickfire dialogue for her as she easily deduces Hellcat’s civilian identity. And Allegri gives She-Hulk the best side eye and a hint of rage as she has to restrain her super strength to play by Arcade’s “rules” to save Tom.

IanBi

And even if it’s a one-off story, Leth packs Hellcat #7 with some great character moments. One that particularly stands out to me is Ian nonchalantly coming out as bi to Patsy after he tells Arcade that men and women can be platonic friends and not just love interests. It’s just one panel, but Leth and Allegri fill it with a nice dash of humor as Ian jokes about secret identities and forgetting to actually rescue Tom in the heat of battle. For years, mutants and Inhumans have been used as queer subtext, and it’s nice to see Leth make it text in Hellcat and for a male bisexual character play such a prominent role and not necessarily be a superhero. (He gets a great foot stomp in on Arcade though.)

With soothing and energetic art from Natasha Allegri and a script filled with friendship and action from Kate Leth, Hellcat #7 is a reminder that superhero comics can be fun sometimes. This issue is also a great jumping on point for new readers as Leth and Allegri deftly establish the main cast’s dynamic and personalities on the really long commute to Coney Island.

Story: Kate Leth Art: Natasha Allegri Letters: Clayton Cowles
Story: 9  Art: 10 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy