On Netflix’ Jessica Jones, Patsy Walker is the perfect counterbalance to the damaged protagonist. Jessica fights with raw strength, Patsy with trained precision. Jessica reacts emotionally; Patsy responds logically. Both literally and metaphorically, she is the light to Jessica’s dark: She has a sharp mind, a strong body, and a powerful professional position. In short, she is a total badass.

via GIPHY

In Marvel’s new Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat #1, however, Patsy Walker is none of these things.

Instead, Marvel appears to be attempting to duplicate the roaring success it found in Unbeatable Squirrel Girl by turning Patsy into a bumbling millennial. In the first issue, we watch as she is laid off from her job as a P.I. for She-Hulk and is “evicted” from a storage closet she’s been squatting in. So relatable!

Disclaimer time: I have not read any other Patsy Walker titles. If she has shown up in other comics I’ve read, it has been to an unmemorable degree. Based on some brief Googling though, it appears that this comedic version of Patsy is, in fact, the original style for the character.

Clearly, I should have researched this book a bit before jumping on the hype wagon. Both Kate Leth (writer) and Brittney Williams (penciller) were tapped for this project based on their work with Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, so it’s no surprise that they took this book the same route. Unfortunately, Patsy’s powers and backstory don’t translate as well as Squirrel Girl’s into this comedic style.

Squirrel Girl’s powers are straightforward: she’s part squirrel, part girl. She goes to college and fights super villains. With squirrels. It’s hilarious. If you haven’t picked up this book, go do it now. It is the only series I’ve ever read that consistently makes me laugh out loud with every issue.

But back to Patsy. Patsy’s powers are more confusing. Leth gives readers a brief rundown on page two:

hellcat1

Learning to fight on the moon would suggest something “super,” but it’s unclear whether Patsy has super-strength in this series. So we’re unclear on her powers, and we’re also unclear on her purpose. She’s unemployed, but doesn’t seem too concerned about it. In fact, she’s down right chipper.

To remedy her housing situation, she agrees to move in with a guy she met eight hours ago (no really, see for yourself) while he was robbing an armored truck with his superpower.

hellcat4

He turns out to be a nice guy, but come on. Instead of quirky and fun, she comes off as a foolish, air-headed child. Despite Leth’s (at times painfully) obvious effort, the most humorous part of this entire issue is that we’re expected to believe two young adults working entry-level retail jobs can afford a nice apartment in New York City. Now that’s funny!

The only part of this book that works for me is the art by Brittney Williams. While it’s nothing particularly special, the simple coloring and cartoonish style does fit the tone of the comic. I am also always pleasantly surprised when I find a female superhero book that avoids weird contortionist poses and fighting moves. While we’re not entirely sure how Hellcat is fighting crime, at least it’s not with the power of sex appeal. Equally refreshing are the realistic and diverse body types Williams draws. All told, however, the art is not enough to save this book.

Ultimately, if you’re like me and want your Hellcat smart and savvy, rewatch Netflix’ Jessica Jones. If you’re looking for a witty, relatable comic about millennial life, check out Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. I promise, you won’t regret it.

Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat can be purchased at your Local Comic Shop, Marvel Comics, or Comixology.

Overall Score
65 %

Despite Leth's (at times painfully) obvious effort, this reboot fails to replicate the wit and charm that make similar Marvel comics such a success.

Writing 50%
Art 80%

About The Author

Kate Skocelas is a comic and book reviewer at DestroyTheCyborg!. When she’s not reading, she enjoys indoctrinating friends into Image Comics and explaining why Kate Bishop will always be the best Hawkeye.

Comments are closed.