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By Jim Beard
Hellcat may be one of Marvel's oldest heroines, but she's scorching the scene in her PATSY WALKER: HELLCAT limited series like a newborn kitten.
Created in 1944 and debuting in MISS AMERICA MAGAZINE #2, Patsy has burned through several of her nine lives and shown the world that a super model can become a super hero. Writer Kathryn Immonen has more mischief planned for the feisty feline in PATSY WALKER: HELLCAT #4, out December 24 with art by David Lafuente.
"Hellcat comes face to face with the object of her search and nothing is as she expected, or as she's been led to believe," relays Immonen. "She has to do a 180 in terms of what she thought were the reasons for her having had to deal with all these nutjobs. Hellcat really shows herself to be the voice of sanity in the icy bughouse.
"And when that doesn't work, she beats the crap out of everyone. And then she feels kind of bad about it. But not really."
Hellcat's been sent to Alaska as part of the 50-State Initiative in her new series but never shuns a moment to update her wardrobe. So, fashion plate, costumed hero—what's Patsy's true calling?
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"I think she's got a lot more sides than that," Immonen notes. "She's every recruiter's nightmare. Her resume should be a career killer but she's so irresistible that I think you believe her when she lists shark baiting, horseback riding, underwater welding and 'able to drive manual' under her skills and interests. Patsy is nothing if not a good person and she is bound and determined to have a good time no matter what she's up to.
"I think I've said before that Patsy Walker is Hellcat's greatest asset."
Patsy's life has been one of ups and downs, to put it mildly. Married twice and divorced twice—once with Daimon Hellstrom, the Son of Satan—Patsy has fought alongside both the Avengers and Defenders, worked as an occult investigator, gone insane, and spent some time in Hell itself.
"Patsy/Hellcat is a really vibrant and social character," Immonen notes of hr heroines lots in life. "She's certainly no loner. And she's also really compassionate and tolerant if a little impatient. I absolutely love the relationship she had with Valkyrie. But the married stuff…I don't really know anyone who's had worse luck with or taste in men."
In the PATSY WALKER: HELLCAT limited series, Hellcat's latest mission may prove the most important of her career—to both her bosses and herself. The wilds of Alaska and the strange forces found there present challenges that Patsy has been trained for but that still offer certain surprises.
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"It's really an Alaska of the mind," Immonen explains. "I was interested in and inspired by the context of traditional magic, which has its own highly idiosyncratic rules and internal logic. But as weird as it is, I think it's a world that makes sense to Patsy/Hellcat, given the real insanity of some her past story lines. I think if she learns anything it's that doing things her way is a great choice and she shouldn't let anyone dictate otherwise.
"She also comes away from this story with an unusual and potentially problematic 'souvenir' and no, she's not 'up the duff' as my grandmother says."
In all, her current writer has immersed herself in Patsy's world and in turn proven to Marvel fans that this particular feline's one heck of a hero.
"It needed to be something that didn't deviate substantially in tone from her MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS piece but beyond that, I really wanted not so much to reinvent Patsy but to reinvigorate the character," Immonen says of the story. "For me that meant embracing her teen romance background with as much force and delight as I could muster. And then figure out how that would play with Hellcat."
Come play with Patsy in December 24's PATSY WALKER: HELLCAT #4. Ball of string and bowl of milk optional! For more Hellcat, drop by Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited!
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