Get to Know a Hero: Bonus Round — Hellcat
Name: Patricia Walker Baxter Hellstrom
Born: Centerville, CA
Abilities: “demon sight,” mystical protective field, can summon her costume, psionic abilities (telekinesis, resist mind control, psychokinetic force blast), naturally athletic
As Patsy: Miss America Magazine #2 (1944)
As Hellcat: Avengers #144 (1976)
Affiliations: The Defenders, Lady Liberators, Avengers
Patsy Walker’s mother was a comic book writer who coopted her daughter’s life as subject matter for her work. When the comic made her daughter famous, Dorothy Walker pushed Patsy into modeling and commercial work, acting as her agent (Toddlers and Tiaras: The Victory Role Edition) . Constantly exposed to comics, Patsy grew up idolizing costumed heroes and dreamed of becoming one.
After graduating high school, Patsy, for some stupid reason gave up her dreams to marry her childhood friend, Robert Baxter. She followed her officer-in-training husband around to various Air Force Bases for a while. When Robert was assigned to a lab security posting in New Jersey, Patsy met Hank McCoy (aka: Beast) and learned his secret identity. In exchange for keeping his secret, McCoy promised to make Patsy, who had apparently been re-bitten by the hero bug, into exactly that. After divorcing Baxter, Patsy located McCoy and, through him, she met and went on missions with, The Avengers.
Initially hoping to become an official Avenger, Patsy went instead to Titan with Moondragon, who gave her additional psionic abilities and marital arts training. Upon returning to Earth, Hellcat hooked up with The Defenders, who most of us will agree are the dirtier, grittier, probably more fun to drink with team and accepted their offer of membership. Patsy met Damian Hellstrom through that group and eventually hung up the tights to marry him (once he was cured of his demonic aspect, of course. Because of course). Her ex crashed the wedding and was soundly asskicked by The Defenders. The Hellstroms moved to San Francisco and set up shop as occult investigators and Patsy found herself putting on her costume once more to help out the Avengers West Coast.
Sadly, her husband’s demon aspect decided to reappear (because of course it did) and the sight of it drove Patsy first to a vegetative state and then to suicide. She did buzz a radio from the spirit plane to let her friends know she was planning on returning in the near future (yeah, I got nothing on that one. That’s just… I don’t even know what that is).
Mephisto grabbed Patsy’s soul, along with that of Mockingbird, forcing them to gladiate in the Arena of Tainted Souls. They were both resurrected by the Grim Reaper, who didn’t much care for The Avengers, and pointed the ladies in the team’s direction; Scarlet Witch, as she has done so many times for so many others in the past, returned Patsy and Mockingbird to themselves. Both women assisted The Avengers before going back to the Arena. Why did they go back to the Arena? To give Hawkeye and The Thunderbolts something to do, apparently, though he accidentally resurrected Patsy (again) instead of his wife (smooth move, Hawkguy).
Scarred by what happened to her, and by her time in hell, Patsy tried to make a life for herself by writing an autobiography (as one does) and going on a book tour that eventually took her to her home town of Centerville. Now in the clutches of the Sons of the Serpents. Patsy digs up ye olde leotard and teams up with The Avengers once more to save Centerville.
Because there are villains and then there are villains, Patsy helps Mephisto (yes, the guy who held her prisoner in the Arena of Tainted Souls, and yes, someone really does need to have a chat with comic writers generally about this bullshit) thwart the inter dimensional villain Dormamu then tricks Mephisto into sending her back to Earth by convincing him she can be of more use to him there. Invigorated by this (again, chats need to be had), she rededicates herself to her Hellcat persona.
Patsy is punished for attempting to help a homeless man when he turns out to be Yandroth the Magician, enemy of the The Defenders. Because, you know. Us bleeding heart chicks, always getting ourselves into trouble (read in *sarcasm font*). The Defender reform to fight their old nemesis and, in a fascinating and weird version of collateral damage, several of the team’s members are cursed to constantly band together. Which they were doing by choice previous to any sort of cursing. The other Defenders decide to remain as a team in order to “support” them. In doing something they were doing anyway. By choice. Previously. As part of the curse (apparently an after-part), the cursed defenders decide that to have peace, they need to rule with an iron fist (get it? Because one of The Defenders is… oh, never mind). The “support” Defenders form another team (because sure, why not) called the Order to defeat the cursed Defenders. They do so, but the band decides it needs to break up anyway.
I think I might like the current, Jessica Jones version better. First of all, there are a bunch of panels like the one above with Patsy talking about how great she is, which kind of make me want to punch her in the face. I may also be a little biased because she is taking the place of Jessica’s comics BFF, Carol Danvers; that character has definitely been infused in both Trish’s look and her general life outlook. Which is snarky and rad. And she knows Krav Maga.