Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat! Vol 1: Hooked On A Feline – Graphic Novel Spotlight


Originally one of the stars of Marvel predecessor Timely Comics’ romance imprint, Patsy Walker would go on to have a rather turbulent superhero career that has included time as an Avenger, the Defenders and a paranormal investigator whilst married to the son of Satan – not to mention dying and escaping from Hell.

In recent times, it appeared she had settled into a comfortable role at She-Hulk’s law practice as a private investigator. But this is irregular work, and when Patsy finds she can’t get away with sleeping in the janitor’s closet of Jennifer’s office, rent and accommodation become a big problem. Not only does she have to deal with the struggles of looking for a regular source of income, she now has to cope with the resurfacing of the romance comics based on her past that her exploitative mother wrote, and a rather unscrupulous figure from her past who is determined to make money off Patsy’s past fame.

Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat! is pretty far removed from the superhero norm, as Patsy’s antics as Hellcat play second fiddle to the drama in her everyday life. Many of the highlights of the series are derived from these moments, including Patsy’s attempts at online dating and trying to find somewhere to live, but particularly her rather traumatic experiences at job hunting, including a clothes store where her boss is seventeen years old which predictably does not end well. But the series is truly buoyed by Patsy’s boundless optimism as she never lets her predicaments truly get her down and she remains the same extremely likeable character throughout. In fact, the events throughout motivate her to continue with her main goal of creating a superhuman temp agency where people with super powers can find work, even going as far as to offer positions to those who have wronged her (including the shoplifter who caused her to lose her job).

Kate Leth has a strong background in humour comic books and it really shines through in the series. The first arc is packed with witty dialogue, great jokes and (most importantly) great characters. Of course, Patsy is the highlight as she keeps the books funny throughout, even when situations are looking serious. She-Hulk maintains her street-smart attitude from her previous series and the new cast of characters that Patsy finds herself with – including her new roommate with budding telekinetic powers Ian Soo – have loads of appeal. As a great throwback to Patsy Walker’s past, Hedy Wolfe (her rival in the Timely Comics era) makes a return and serves as a great antagonist who, without Patsy’s consent, brings her mother’s comics about her back into print. That Leth manages to cover so much Patsy Walker lore from her romance comic past to her time dabbling in the supernatural, without it coming off as jarring, is pretty amazing. Brittney Williams brings some wonderfully cute (there is no other word) art to the series which perfectly fits the tone of the book and helps emphasise the always optimistic attitude Patsy possesses.

If you are looking for a fun superhero book with no doom and gloom and plenty of real life drama packed in, this is definitely one to check out.

Patsy Walker, A.k.a. Hellcat! Vol 1: Hooked On A Feline is published 28 June by Marvel

Post by Leo

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