Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Christopher Cantwell
Artwork: Angel Unzueta
Colours: Frank D’Armata
Release Date: 17th March 2021
Where is Tony Stark? After a battle in Korvac’s mind at the end of the previous issue, Tony was sent to an unknown planet moments before Hellcat, War Machine and the rest of his team were about to be blasted apart by Korvac. With Tony missing in action, it’s up to Hellcat to reawaken a long-buried power. Doing so means going through her past and all the pain that comes with it, but only in her past can she find any chance of a future.
As mentioned above, Tony is very much MIA here so you’d imagine that this issue would be a filler meant to draw out the story – and in a lesser series it undoubtedly would be. But let me be clear, this is the best issue since issue two, which, for context, was one of my favourite comics of 2020. This issue deep dives into Hellcat’s history and trauma, touching on issue like suicide and mental health. These of course are very serious topics, but Christopher Cantwell absolutely has earnt the right to focus them giving how important he’s made Hellcat to his run on Iron Man. Her story is just as important as Tony’s in this series and as such the book easily works with the story focus switched to her.
To me, this feels like Christopher Cantwell writing a very personal and touching story about trauma and how we deal with it – a very brave decision that Cantwell deserves a lot of praise for. It takes skill and a deft touch to talk about these subject matters well, and Cantwell more than displays that skill here.
Instead of our usual CAFU this issue, we’re joined by Angel Unzueta on art, and he does brilliantly. For a comic that goes back through Patsy’s history, Unzueta does a great job of giving some scenes a classic pop art style which really helps to convey this surreal character study. That, combined with Frank D’Armata killing it as always by bringing some darker colours at the appropriate moments really helps heighten the mood, and in this issue the mood is so vital.
Once again, Christopher Cantwell and the rest of the team absolute nail it, like they have done with every other issue in this run. However, putting that to one side, from all the work I’ve read of Cantwell, mental health is an issue he touches on semi regularly and that deserves commendation. Especially on a book published by the big two.
This is just a phenomenal single issue and I honestly recommend those who have struggled with some of the issues I’ve mentioned above read this. This issue tackles a difficult subject matter, but does so in a way that keeps a sense of hope, and that’s one of this book’s true strengths. Pick this one up. It’s something special.
[PREVIEW – CLICK TO ENLARGE]
The writer of this piece was: Jonathan Mullen
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