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Hellcat 003

Turn around gentlemen and meet -- The Hellcat!

-- Patsy Walker src

Hellcat (Patricia "Patsy" Walker) is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. She premiered as the star of a teen romantic-comedy series and was later integrated into Marvel superhero franchises such as the Avengers and the Defenders.

Created by Otto Binder and Ruth Atkinson, Patsy Walker first appeared in Miss America Magazine #2 (Nov. 1944), published by Marvel precursor Timely Comics, and became Hellcat in The Avengers #144 (Feb. 1976).

Rachael Taylor plays a version of the character, also called Trish Walker, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe television series Jessica Jones, which premiered on Netflix in November 2015.

Publication history

Teen-humor heroine

Created by writer Otto Binder and artist Ruth Atkinson, Patsy Walker first appeared in Miss America Magazine #2 (cover-dated Nov. 1944), published by Marvel precursor Timely Comics.[1] Redheaded Patsy Walker, her parents Stanley and Betty, her boyfriend Robert "Buzz" Baxter, and her raven-haired friendly rival Hedy Wolfe appeared from the 1940s through 1967 in issues of Miss America, Teen Comics, Girls' Life, and the namesake teen-humor series Patsy Walker[2] and its spin-offs: Patsy and Hedy, Patsy and Her Pals, and the single-issue A Date with Patsy. Attesting to its quiet popularity, Patsy Walker (along with Millie the Model and Kid Colt, Outlaw) was among the very few titles published continuously by Marvel from the 1940s Golden Age of Comic Books, through Marvel's 1950s iteration as Atlas Comics, and into the 1960s Silver Age of Comic Books.

Future Mad Magazine cartoonist and "Fold-In" creator Al Jaffee wrote and drew most of the early issues, several of which included Mad founding editor Harvey Kurtzman's highly stylized "Hey Look!" one-page humor strips. Jaffee was succeeded by Al Hartley, who would go on to Archie Comics and produce many Christian comic books starring Archie characters and others. Morris Weiss drew Patsy and Her Pals. Millie (the Model) Collins made guest appearances in #92 and 98.

Following Patsy's high-school graduation, in issue #116 (Aug. 1964), the title switched from humor to become a young career-gal romantic adventure. Patsy Walker lasted through issue #124 (Dec. 1965), with Patsy and Hedy outlasting it to its own #110 (Feb. 1967).

Patsy and Hedy made a cameo appearance in Fantastic Four Annual #3 (1965), establishing them in the Marvel Universe. The superhero-team comic The Defenders #89 (Nov. 1980) further established that the earlier stories were fictional works published within the fictional Marvel Universe itself, and written by Patsy's mother Dorothy Walker though based upon Patsy's own life and friends.[3] The Patsy Walker profile in Marvel Legacy: The 1960s Handbook #1 (2006) establishes that Walker indeed experienced many of the events from these stories.

Patsy Walker #95 and the science-fiction anthology Journey into Mystery #69 (both June 1961) are the first modern comic books labeled "Marvel Comics", with each showing an "MC" box on its cover.[4]

Hellcat

Hellcat joined the superhero team The Defenders in issue #44 (Feb. 1977). After many adventures with the group, she met the supernatural adventurer Daimon Hellstrom, the Son of Satan, in The Defenders #92 (Feb. 1981). They marry in The Defenders #125 and become husband-and-wife occult investigators, but Hellstrom's demonic nature asserts itself, and Walker is driven first mad and then, in Hellstorm: Prince of Lies #14 (May 1994), to suicide. Through Hellstrom's manipulation of the superhero Hawkeye, she was resurrected, in Thunderbolts 2000, a summer Annual of the superhero-team comic Thunderbolts, and returned to Earth with new abilities acquired while in Hell. (The story which began in Thunderbolts 2000 concluded in Avengers 2000.) A three-issue Hellcat (Sept. - Nov. 2000) series takes place immediately following the events in the Thunderbolts and Avengers 2000 Annuals. Briefly adopting a new costume and then returning to her traditional yellow outfit, she rejoined the Defenders in a short-lived revival series, The Defenders vol. 2, #1-12 (March 2001 - Feb. 2002).

After appearing in occasional guest roles, Hellcat had starring roles between 2007 and 2009 thanks to artist Stuart Immonen and his writer wife Kathryn. With the impending relaunch of Marvel Comics Presents, Stuart was asked by editor Nick Lowe if he wanted to do a Hellcat story, which was spread across the title's first four issues (Sept. - Dec. 2007). Marvel remained open for Hellcat miniseries, and out of what Kathryn first conceived as a "Hellcat Christmas Special", inspired by endurance car races in Mongolia and research on the Inuit, came the five part series Patsy Walker: Hellcat (Sept. 2008 - Feb. 2009), drawn by David Lafuente with covers by Stuart. A tie-in to the Avengers 50 State Initiative, it features Hellcat being assigned to watch over Alaska.[8][9] Following this, she was an ensemble star and narrator, alongside the superheroines Firestar, Black Cat, and Photon, in the miniseries Marvel Divas #1-4 (Sept.-Dec. 2009), which writers Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Tonci Zonjic had pitched it to Marvel editors as "Sex and the City in the Marvel Universe".[10]

Walker became part of All-New Marvel NOW! in She-Hulk #1, when Jennifer Walters starts her own law firm. Walters hires Patsy as her private investigator, who uses her Hellcat alias on assignments.[11]

The All-New, All-Different Marvel line in 2015 led to a new ongoing Patsy Walker title, Patsy Walker A.K.A. Hellcat!. Written by Kate Leth and drawn by Brittney Williams, it attempts to combine the romance and superhero comics with a more comedic approach, which Leth compared to a Saturday-morning cartoon.[12][13] In it, Walker tries to establish a job agency for superpowered people following her dismissal by She-Hulk, and also recover the rights to old Patsy Walker comics which have been republished by Hedy. In February 2017, Leth announced that the series would be ending that April with its 17th issue. She praised Marvel for "giv[ing] us space to wrap up the story exactly how we wanted in 3 volumes."[14]

Fictional character biography

After growing up in suburban Centerville, graduating high school and marrying high-school sweetheart Robert "Buzz" Baxter, Patsy Walker becomes an assistant to scientist Hank McCoy, the mutant superhero the Beast, who at that time was on hiatus from the X-Men. Estranged from her husband, now a U.S. Air Force colonel, Walker befriends McCoy,[15] and, desiring to become a superhero, accompanied McCoy on an adventure with the superhero team the Avengers.[16] She adopts an ability-enhancing costume that formerly belonged to Greer Grant Nelson, the former masked adventuress the Cat, and Walker takes on the name Hellcat.[17]

After having used her natural athletic abilities and good instincts to rescue the Avengers, Walker is offered membership in the team.[18] The cosmic adventurer Moondragon persuades her to decline and instead accompany Moondragon to Saturn's moon Titan for training in psychic ability and advanced martial arts.[19] Walker's training is abbreviated when she returns to Earth to assist the supernatural hero Doctor Strange, and then join the superhero team the Defenders.[20] Moondragon revokes her psychic abilities, citing Walker's ineffective use of them as the cause.[volume & issue needed]

She meets her future husband Daimon Hellstrom, the Son of Satan, during the course of her Defenders adventuring.[21] After learning that her mother had promised her soul to Satan,[22] and briefly being lied to by the Devil that he was her father,[23] Walker reunites with her real father and marries Hellstrom. The two then retire from superheroics.[24] Ultimately, Hellstrom's demonic inheritance took possession of him and drove Walker insane. Institutionalized, she was driven to suicide by the otherworldly being Deathurge.[25]

Trapped in Hell, Walker's spirit is used in a series of gladiatorial-like combat scenarios. There, she learns to develop and use her psychic powers. Hellstrom tricks the archer superhero Hawkeye into returning her spirit to Earth; Hawkeye believes he is retrieving his presumed-dead wife, Mockingbird, from the demonic lord Mephisto's realm.[26] Resurrected and back on Earth, Walker retains the powers she developed in Hell. Now able to manifest a costume at will, Walker adopts a reversed version of the Cat costume, with a blue cat-suit and cowl with yellow gloves and boots.[volume & issue needed] In this new guise, and once again a member of the Defenders, Hellcat focuses on combating occult evils, notably Nicholas Scratch, who had based himself in her hometown of Centerville,[volume & issue needed] and the otherdimensional ruler Dormammu.[volume & issue needed]

During the Civil War storyline, Hellcat willingly registers.[27] She serves as one of the young superheroes' instructors at Camp Hammond.[28] She was then assigned as the Avengers 50 State Initiative official superhero for Alaska,[29] but eventually returned to New York City.[30] Hellcat develops and maintains a deep friendship with the superheroes Firestar, Black Cat and Monica Rambeau. Part of this is their support of Firestar, who develops and then survives breast cancer.[31]

Hellcat is later seen with She-Hulk and facing personal problems. After a night of heavy drinking and partying, Hellcat and She-Hulk invade a warehouse that A.I.M. was using as a hideout and defeat two agents wearing high tech suits. She-Hulk then hires Hellcat as her private investigator to help with her economical situation.[32] She then helps She-Hulk in protecting Kristoff Vernard, the son of Doctor Doom, who was trying to defect to the US.[33] She's later seen talking with Tigra about a case involving a lawsuit but ends up fighting her when she mentions the plaintiff's name, George Saywitz.[34] After recovering in a hospital,[35] she helps She-Hulk and Hank Pym in a recovery mission to save Reza, the partner of inventor Rufus Randall, to settle an argument between them over a device known as the Shrinko, which they were planning to sell to Pym.[36] They later wind up helping Steve Rogers, the original Captain America, with a lawsuit involving a murder that happened in 1940.[37]

As part of the All-New, All-Different Marvel, She-Hulk eventually gets unable to afford Hellcat as an investigator and fires her friend, which also forces Walker to move out of Walters' office building (the same place where Howard the Duck works). Walker moves to the Brooklyn apartment of Ian, an Inhuman who she met when he used his powers to steal from an armored truck. Ian gets a job with Walker's old friend Tom Hale (known as "Tubs" in the romance comics) and inspires her to open a work agency for other superpowered people. Walker also learns that old rival Hedy Wolfe has republished the Patsy Walker comics (she got the rights from Walker's late mother Dorothy), to her chagrin, particularly given nostalgia made them successful. With the help of She-Hulk and Jessica Jones, Walker gets the rights back by proving Dorothy was sedated and thus not in full mental capacities when she signed the comics off to Hedy, making it a void contract.[38]

During the Civil War II storyline, Patsy Walker hears about what happened to She-Hulk. Miss America does allow Patsy Walker to visit She-Hulk who is in a coma at the Triskelion. After the visit, Patsy Walker tells Howard the Duck and the other tenants about She-Hulk's current condition, and moves her offices to where Jennifer operated as a lawyer.[39]

Afterwards, Hedy dupes Patsy's ex-husbands Mad-Dog and Daimon Hellstrom into fighting her. Daimon sends Patsy to a dimension ruled by the demon Belial, who tries to bring Hellcat to his side.[40] Patsy then confronts her former friend Black Cat, now leading a gang of criminals.[41] Patsy suddenly catches a cold that causes her to alter reality when she sneezes. After several disasters, Patsy accidentally makes a building disappear.[42] Hedy then calls Patsy and reveals that she's dating the demon Belial, who helps Patsy overcome her grief over She-Hulk and cures her of the cold.[43]

Powers and abilities

Hellcat can sense mystical phenomena or those items or persons touched by mystical energy. She can use a force field that deflects mystical attacks and is able to summon her costume at will. She also possesses retractable claws and grappling hooks on her wrists. Patsy is also a well-trained martial artist and gymnast, having been taught by Captain America, Beast and Moondragon.

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