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Patsy Walker: Hellcat #1 (of 5)

Posted: Tuesday, July 1, 2008
By: Shawn Hill

Kathryn Immonen
David LaFuente
Marvel Comics
Editor's Note: Patsy Walker: Hellcat #1 arrives in stores tomorrow, July 2.

"The Snowball Effect"

Plot: That most benevolent of overlords Iron Man offers Patsy Walker a new job: the Initiative needs her at last. Sadly, where they need her is Alaska.

Comments: Immonen is here continuing the tone and style she began last year in Marvel Comics Presents, when partner Stuart Immonen was around to help on the art. She doesn't have him for this debut of a Patsy Walker series (it's been a long while since we had one of those!), but David LaFuente makes a fair replacement. Patsy has kind of de-aged to precocious teenage super-model, but, well, that's what she once was in a different era, after all.

Now she's still the grown woman who died and was resurrected, given a second lease on life against the odds, but that Patsy Walker luck kicks in again as Iron Man appeals to her sense of duty to explain that Alaskans need heroic protection, too. Ever the chipper glass half-full kind of gal, she goes along with his guilt trip.

And ends up annoying the locals, braining a masher (who might just be the Mayor or something of North Spirit, the sparse little town of corrugated steel huts she lands in), and hiring a guide (who happens to be the cutest guy in the room).

Then there's an attack by polar bears with antlers, who may be thugs in costumes, a poetic spell read by some observing Native Alaskans, and I think Patsy ends the issue in the jaws of a kraken. So, ah, the tone is kind of wildly all over the place, from paper doll fashion spreads to Project Runway wannabees to romance novel fantasies, but it all ends up as experienced super-hero vs. the darkest of arts. Immonen and LaFuente somehow pack in a lot of charm, even if the shifts in tone are a bit jarring. Immonen does seem to know that Patsy is a classic Marvel character in one sense: half-science, half-magic, she's a mixed up powerhouse with a lot of potential for both success and suffering.

Patsy's long-forgotten psychic powers may be called for to combat whatever controls those weird bears (Moondragon once thought her an adept worth training), and I think it's been sometime since the powers of the Cat exo-skeleton transferred to Patsy's body itself. She's super-strong, I think she still has the tensile projecting claws, and she can sense sorcery. I wasn't sure when I began this issue, but I may just stick around to find out how she copes.







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