Patsy Walker: Hellcat #2

Story by
Art by
David Lafuente
Colors by
John Rauch
Letters by
Dave Lanphear, Natalie Lanphear
Cover by
Marvel Comics

Issue #2 continues the same manic pace and whimsical tone of the first issue, and although I didn't like it quite as much as issue #1, it's still an excellent comic. The first issue had the advantage of surprise, while going into this one, I had a better sense of what to expect, and the ending of both issues is perhaps a bit too similar, but the joy of this comic isn't in it's plotting. It's all about the sassy.

I enjoyed Kathryn Immonen's first spin with the Hellcat character -- in the "Marvel Presents" anthology. But that zany romp in no way foreshadowed where she'd take the character in this series. If you missed the first issue, and I hope you didn't, Patsy Walker's been tapped -- by Tony Stark, no less -- to commandeer the Initiative team in Alaska. And by commandeer, I mean, "be the only member of." What Immonen does so well is to take the previous incarnations of the character and roll them together into one ball of fancy fun. Patsy Walker, the fashion model? Check. Patsy Walker, the Defender and/or Avenger? Check. Patsy Walker, the lady-with-the-magic-sensing-powers? Check.

It's just such a fun comic to read.

Maybe it's the Immonen connection, and Kathryn's husband Stuart does handle the covers, but this series reminds me most of "Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E." It's nowhere near the cynicism of that series, but "Pasty Walker: Hellcat" has the same kind of verve and whimsy. And the sassy. Did I mention the sassy?

Kathryn Immonen's Hellcat doesn't sit idly by while Eskimo elders outline the path she will take. Instead, she's all backtalk and attention deficit. In what could be a very cliche-ridden "here's where your journey begins" scene, Immonen's Hellcat says, "Fine. Get on with it. Give me a new name but that is the limit of my tribal initiation tolerance. Got it?" And that's before her luggage arrives, which leads to a glorious double-page spread of frivolity and fashion and a complete lack of interest in the guidance she's being given. It's not that Immonen plays Hellcat as an airhead; instead, she's played as someone with absolutely no patience for portentous drama. This is a character who was married to the Son of Satan, after all. Nothing fazes her.

As much fan as Immonen's writing is, the art of David Lafuente is an even bigger treat. He's either a breakout talent, or he's just perfectly suited for this book. Probably both. His layouts are full of energy, and he captures the wildly changing emotions of Patsy Walker with emphatic style. And that double-page unpacking-the-luggage spread? Genius. He even has some Stuart Immonen qualities to his storytelling, particularly in the scene where Hellcat punches her way out of a car door. But Lafuente has a softer line than Immonen, and as much as I love Immonen's work, Lafuente is the perfect artist for this comic.

I'm guessing that some readers might skip this comic just because of the title. Don't make that mistake. It really is one of the best Marvel comics out there right now. You should be reading it, and enjoying every minute.

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