Monday, July 07, 2008

Review: Patsy Walker: Hellcat #1, "Snowball Effect, Part 1"

From her early humorous adventures as a teenager in the 1940s to her later reinvention as the superheroine Hellcat in the 1970s, spirited redhead Patsy Walker has had an interesting career as a comic book character that continues in this five issue miniseries.

Her first appearance was in Miss America Magazine #2 (1944) as a creation of Stan Lee and pioneering female artist Ruth Atkinson. Within a few years, the popularity of Patsy saw her rewarded with her own comic book series and eventually several spinoffs, all in the humor genre. Think of a female version of Archie and you won't be too far off the mark. The creators who worked on those titles included Lee, Al Hartley, and future Mad Magazine cartoonist Al Jaffee. In 1976, Marvel Comics brought Patsy back in a story where she donned a yellow-and-blue costume and became a superheroine called Hellcat, eventually becoming a core member of the Defenders and even marrying the Son of Satan!

The first issue of the miniseries starts out very promisingly, with Hellcat called into action by Iron Man and sent to Alaska to be its official Initiative-sponsored superhero. Writer Kathryn Immonen (her artist husband Stuart provides the cover art) deftly marries the humor of Patsy's early stories and the superheroics of her later ones, accompanied by David Lafuente's manga inspired art with a few nods to Art Nouveau. I think fans of Patsy from any era should enjoy this title.

On a related note, one of the older comics in my collection is Patsy Walker #22 from 1949.

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