Hellcat saves Alaska, Pt. 1Posted: 10/08/2013
After Iron Man won the Marvel Civil War and basically the boss of superheroes, he decided that having a team full of heroes in each of the fifty states wouldn’t be a bad idea. After all, sometimes Hawaii gets attacked by octopuses or something. On a side note, octopuses is the correct plural form, for which I did more research than anything else in this article. Patsy Walker, peak martial artist and with an ability to detect magical energy, gets called to serve her country in Patsy Walker: Hellcat #1-5, written by Kathryn Immonen and drawn by David Lafuente.
I understand that art’s subjective. We don’t all have to like certain writers or artists. But today, if you have anything but wild praise for this miniseries, you are wrong. Objectively wrong. Immonen wrote a beautifully quirky, fun story with absolutely gorgeous art from Lafuente. A perfect comic.
Anyway, with half the superhero community in hiding or incapacitated, Iron Man rings up our protagonist to milk that whole work-for-the-government contract she signed. But before that, don’t feel bad if you haven’t heard of Hellcat. A fashion model and surprisingly upbeat for a superhero, she had a rough stint in the ’90s when she married Daiman Hellstorm, the son of Satan. Don’t judge her bad romantic choices, Daimon is so good looking that his costume doesn’t include a shirt. As demons tend to get, he became progressively more evil over time, and it eventually drove Walker to suicide in a majorly depressing scene from Hellstorm: Prince of Lies #14, written by Warren Ellis and drawn by Peter Gross. When Walker returned from the dead, she resumed her optimistic crime-fighting career and divorced Daimon.
Now the former Mrs. Hellstorm gets to save Alaska.
By the way, that’s totally the way Beast talks. He’s verbose and eloquent and uses words like verbose and eloquent. Though Hellcat can totally kick butt, the government is basically sending one female Bruce Lee to protect half a million people from yetis or oil barons or whatever.
Everything in this comic borders on insane. Every scene. Every character. I’m skipping huge chunks of plot and weirdos, but you’ll be able to notice and appreciate everything about it. Turns out Alaska can be a dangerous place, and not just from angry moose.
Time for our hero to present herself to the Alaskan wilderness. By the way, I think sometimes we misuse the word cliche (or at least associate it with a negative connotation) when talking about comics. The literary medium builds itself around certain themes and styles, because comics themselves are larger than life. I want that giant half page/full page heroic entrance complete with appropriate quip. We shouldn’t hate the classic ideas if they’re still awesome. Hell, we read stories about dudes in pajamas uppercutting other dudes in pajamas — we as readers agree to embrace the theatrics of superheroes as soon as we open to the first page.
Shamans grant Hellcat a mission. And she fights a tentacle monster. Not in that order. Though I’m not showing you any of the Alaskan kraken brawl.
To complete her dangerous journey, she’ll need a slew of trustworthy buddies. Reliable transportation. The support of her employer. No more fights against polar bears with antlers. She receives none of that.
Companion number one: a talking rock. Y’see, with no precedent of Alaskan characters and parameters, Immonen can basically create whatever and whoever she wants. We instantly accept talking rocks. And talking wolves. Everything talks in this comic.
Some pages, while not that important in the story, do contain fantastic artwork. So when Hellcat throws an exploding mouse at a group of trees, it’s absolutely necessary that you see this. Not just because I love explosions, but comics as a medium benefit or lose value from the talent of the artist more than any other form of literature. Dialogue and text boxes can only go so far (very), but my goodness can story moments be improved with the right artistic flair. Like when Hellcat chucks exploding mice at a group of trees.
Yes, the mystery thickens, especially because I’ve made zero effort to explain anything that’s happened so far. But on Friday, our tale concludes with exciting sucker punches, thrilling plot twists, and way more talking animals.