Hey Girl Gang! Hope your Holidays were swell and that you enjoyed the long weekend. I did what I know many of us did during the long weekend: caught up on comics!
That’s the main reason GGG is lacking in comics reviews. I always feel like the few days it takes me to read Wednesday’s new pulls makes me too late to review them. But that’s going to change! More GGG comic reviews 2k16!
What better way to start writing more reviews with a review of a highly-anticipated Issue #1? Today we’re taking a look at Patsy Walker aka Hellcat, the brand new release from writer Kate Leth and artist Brittney Williams.
I should preface this review by saying that I am not super familiar with Hellcat/Patsy as a character. My main exposure to her was in Soule’s 2014 She-Hulk run where Patsy worked for Jen as an investigator. I, with thousands of other fans, also got to know her as “Trish” through the Jessica Jones series on Netflix.
Before you pick up this title, you should know that this is not the Trish Walker you saw on JJ. If you loved Rachael Taylor’s interpretation of Hellcat and wanted more of her, don’t worry – the Patsy that Leth writes is honestly WAY more fun!
We are introduced to Patsy Walker as a young woman trying to make it in New York City. Luck has not been on her side recently – she just got let go by her best friend/boss She-Hulk, and was kicked out of her makeshift apartment/storage closet. Patsy has walked through literal hell, but making her way in NYC is proving almost as difficult. But after meeting Ian, a dude with telekinetic powers who also can’t find a job, she has a brilliant idea – a Temp Agency for Superheroes!
I did not go into this issue knowing anything about the origin of Hellcat. The issue does a great job in explaining Patsy’s backstory just as much as needed. The references to her past are brief and sometimes vague, but certainly enough for a basic intro, even to new Hellcat fans such as myself. Leth does not waste pages detailing how Patsy got her powers or name – she focuses on Patsy’s current life and storyline, which is very appropriate for a character who refuses to dwell on the past. I’m sure we will learn more about Hellcat’s origin in future issues, but I really liked that they chose to focus on the current story in this issue.
Brittney Williams is an incredible artist and putting her on this book was a brilliant decision.You can feel Patsy’s reckless optimism and enthusiasm in every panel. Patsy’s excitable personality is showcased through a wide variety of hilarious facial expressions and almost chibi-like full body reactions. I really cannot say enough good things about what Williams does in this issue. The art style is adorable, simple, and feminine, and the coloring provided by Megan Wilson gives the book a gorgeous, unique, almost pastel-like glow.
Brittney Williams is a prime example of why to put female artists on female-centric titles. Patsy and all of her friends are drawn in cute, stylish, modern clothing without a random midriff shirt in sight. That’s usually the main indicator for me that an artist isn’t good for a female title – when the clothes are outdated, unstylish, and unnecessarily sexy.
Unrelated but: I’m obsessed with how Brittney Williams draws my fave girl She-Hulk. I can’t even begin to tell you how many artists have been on She-Hulk who feel the need to draw her in a hypermasculine style with giant boobs, or weirdly thin with giant boobs and arms, or a really ugly face (case in point: Marvel’s Holiday Special from this month did her no favors). Williams gives She-Hulk the femininity, softness, and style she deserves without taking away her muscular physique.
It is also worth noting that this book is significantly more diverse than most comic titles. There are multiple people of color in the issue, from minor characters like the woman who loses her play tickets in a sewer grate, to new protagonists like Patsy’s new roommate Ian. There is also a range of sexualities showcased in the book. Ian mentions that his partner left him when inviting Patsy to live with him.
My favorite part of the entire issue was when Patsy and Ian go into a queer bookstore called Burly Books. Leth could have easily written about a typical bookstore with no specifics, but she specifically wrote about a bookstore with a queer focus. Patsy discovers that her childhood friend Tubs owns the bookstore. The best part of the entire issue for me might have been the titles on the shelves of Burly Books, which made me laugh out loud.
Overall, I had really high hopes for this title and I was not disappointed. Leth and Williams make an excellent team, and I’m super excited to see where they go with this title. If I could make one change, it would probably be MORE SHE-HULK, but as you all know, Jen is my number one girl forever so I may be a bit biased.
If you still aren’t sold on Hellcat, take a look at the cover for next month’s Issue 2:
Everyone’s favorite Marvel ladies hanging out and having a great time? Sign me the Hellcat up!
Did you enjoy Patsy Walker aka Hellcat #1? Let us know in the comments or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org! Have a great week, Girl Gang! See you on Wednesday!
Patsy Walker aka Hellcat #1, by Kate Leth and Brittney Williams, is available at your local comic book store and through digital retailers like Comixology. Hellcat #2 comes out on January 20, 2016.