In the Netflix Jessica Jones series, Patsy Walker and Jessica are best friends and foster sisters. In Patsy Walker, A.K.A Hellcat! and Jessica Jones: Alias, they don’t even know each other, yet. Despite the years, writers, artists and tones separating them, they have a lot in common. Beyond the superficial of both being super powered, they are two women with traumatic pasts trying to start over and move on.
As you can tell from the cover, Patsy Walker, aka Hellcat is not gritty. It’s fun, but grounded. It’s a lighthearted romp with stakes and well grounded relationships. She’s got a supportive group of female superhero friends that she can call on for help, or dinner.
Patsy is a down on her luck superhero. Her best friend is Jennifer Walters, aka She-Hulk. Jennifer is an attorney and has employed Patsy as an investigator, but let’s her go early on. Patsy is pretty sure there are a lot of the extra powered who don’t want to be Avengers, but would like to get paid for using their abilities. She concocts a scheme to create an employment agency for the super powered. One of her many nemeses also comes up with a plan to employ the disaffected super powered, but for evil.
In contrast, Brian Michael Bendis’ Jessica Jones: Alias is dark. Jessica is full of self loathing. She had been a superhero, but she doesn’t do that anymore, but won’t say why. Her world starts off with murky colors. It’s clear something bad happened and she is both wallowing in misery and numbing the pain. Jessica is a sharp 180 from Patsy’s can-do attitude, and she’s burned a lot of bridges. Early in the volume. Jessica reconciles with her best friend, Carole Danvers, Captain Marvel, and affirms her own moral center. After that, colors become clearer and brighter. She is still damaged and working with the damaged, and the conclusions to her encounters are less than happy endings.
Without assuming any conclusions about value and worth, Jessica Jones feels like a male written comic, and Patsy Walker feels like she was written by women. I enjoyed both tremendously. There is a darkness at the core of both volumes. But Patsy is a people centric person (with good reason), and Jessica tries to be more of a loner (also with good reason).
Near the end of Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat! Hooked on a Feline someone hires Jessica to investigate Patsy. I look forward to reading the next volumes for both, just as soon as I either find them on sale or at the used book store.