Characters Appearing: Hellcat, Mad Dog (Buzz Baxter)
Solo Avengers #9 (Hellcat)
Issue(s): Solo Avengers #9 (Hellcat story only)
...and the announcer describes her thusly:
You're about to meet a woman whose mother immortalized her in a series of popular comic books... a woman who claims to have lived on Titan... that's one of Saturn's moons for those of you who don't know... A woman who swears she's married to the son of the Devil... Unusual? Well keep in mind that she's been an integral part of both teh Avengers and the Defenders... and she's currently half owner of the San Fransicsco-based "Hellstrom Investigations, Inc."... a self-proclaimed Ghostbusting team, and no, her partner isn't Bill Murray.
That is quite a history.
The interviewer doesn't believe most of it and starts hitting her with aggressive questions, first about her father-in-law being Satan (Patsy says that he is just a devil that took the name of the Biblical character), and then about whether or not she supports "the mutant cause"...
...and then the topic turns to her ex-husband, Buzz Baxter, who we know as Mad Dog and who as you can see from the scan above is working his way into the studio. He's mad that Hellcat told "lies" about him in the book.
He bites her and she passes out from poison in his fangs. She wakes up in costume.
Mad Dog wants to know why she had to change and become an independent woman.
In the subsequent fight, Hellcat repeats the claim from her book, that she never loved him.
But when the fight is over, she concedes to herself that she did love him once, and had just been refusing to let herself remember it.
I've been trying to not give these Solo Avengers stories too much thought or spend too many pixels on them, but some of them read like little character primers, almost like try-outs, which makes sense. Any one of these stories could have triggered enough interest to get a character a larger try-out in a mini-series or something. But in that context i'm not sure about the choices the writers make. DeMatteis highlights a whole bunch of cool things in the opening script for this issue, but the main story is a fight between her and her ex-husband that ends with her making the inconsequential admission that she did love him once (she's already re-married, and Baxter is clearly nuts). She's not particularly effective in this issue, getting taken out with no resistance in the initial encounter, after which Mad Dog could have killed her if he wanted to. Nothing about this makes me want to read a Hellcat comic, not the way that "former Archie comics clone trained to be a mystical warrior on Saturn's moon" certainly does.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Sometimes its simply to keep the copyright of the name/character from lapsing. Use 'em or loose 'em.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | June 4, 2014 3:27 PM
Mark Waid cited this story as an example of sexism among comics writers. Dematteis had just gone through a divorce and Waid felt that DeMatteis was taking his anger out on Patsy. (One has to wonder if DeMatteis's wife claimed she never loved him.)
Posted by: Michael | June 4, 2014 8:01 PM
Other announced(in 1987) back-ups for this book were Hercules by Keith Pollard and Dr. Druid by Chichester/Clark/Leonardi.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | June 20, 2014 6:46 PM
The Dr.Druid story appeared in issue 10, although Lee Weeks was the artist, not Leonardi. We did see a Hercules story in issue 11 but it was by Layton and Guice, not Keith Pollard.
Posted by: Michael | June 20, 2014 7:56 PM
Michael's comment above refers to a Mark Waid quote about Hellcat spending an issue being beaten to a pulp. I don't recognise that as a description of this issue. Sure she gets knocked out by poison and the scan above shows him kicking her, but after that she beats him fairly easily, and isn't hurt at the end. If anyone gets beaten to a pulp it's him. I don't associate DeMatteis and Brigman with sexist stories either. I haven't read that many Hellcat stories, are there any other contenders for what Waid's talking about? (He's not getting Hellcat confused with Tigra is he? I can think of a Tigra beatdown.)
Posted by: Jonathan | July 5, 2015 12:00 PM
Hellcat does get beaten up a bit in Defenders #50, but I don't think there was much in there that could be called sexist(though she does lose pieces of her costume).
Posted by: Mark Drummond | July 5, 2015 12:04 PM
Thanks Mark, been a while since i read that one, I remember really enjoying the crazy beer drinking Scorpio (probably the only time I really enjoyed Scorpio) and Giffen doing some good Kirby, the rest is a bit of a haze so I don't even remember Hellcat getting beaten up in that one. If this story is meant to be DeMatteis writing about his divorce, Mad Dog sure doesn't make him look like he's portraying himself sympathetically. This story reminds me vaguely of the Beatles "For No One", a male ex-lover refusing to accept she has already moved on, not believing she can make her own choices. I know DeMatteis was getting divorced round about the time of Kraven's Last Hunt, which was dark but not sexist. (In fact I think that was maybe the first story where Peter's love of MJ and fear of not being there for her gives him the extra strength to get out of a trap, which becomes a bit of a cliche in late 80s Spidey onwards.)
Posted by: Jonathan | July 5, 2015 2:16 PM
I found the Waid quote here:
Posted by: Michael | July 5, 2015 4:48 PM
I find it hard to believe the writer would portray himself as Mad Dog. Though I recall Stan Lee saying that the Hulk reflected his angry uncontrollable side. Maybe the writer here wrote Mad Dog to reflect his or male generation's anger towards rising feminism. Interesting.
Posted by: Grom | September 4, 2016 10:38 PM
DeMatteis is a well-known liberal, so I can't really imagine he would associate himself with Mad Dog in this story. I haven't read the actual comic, but based on the scans the story seems to be highly critical of Mad Dog's sexism and anti-feminism. His "you were such sweet, innocent girl..." monologue is clearly depicted as the talk of a crazy, chauvinist stalker ex-husband, not as an anti-feminist rant anyone should take seriously.
Posted by: Tuomas | September 5, 2016 4:59 AM
Yes, but the story is also critical of Patsy's attempt to rewrite the past and claim that she never loved Buzz.
Posted by: Michael | September 5, 2016 8:45 AM
Michael - You know your stuff and I'm sure this is the best candidate for what Mark Waid is describing, though I think Waid was mistaken in some way.
I think Waid either confused Hellcat with another character, or he'd only heard about this story from others but not read it himself... I mean, it's interesting that his quote refers to a "famous" "anecdote" but doesn't actually give any names or identifying details of the story beyond "being beaten to a pulp by a man". This story itself is certainly not famous at all, unless it is indeed the subject of insider industry gossip, which no-one other than Waid ever appears to have mentioned.
It is true that DeMatteis had recently gone through very hard times during his divorce, but the "beaten to a pulp" simply does not happen here. I could pick up a Spider-Man comic at random and see him taking more punishment than Hellcat. For those that haven't read it, Fnord has scanned pretty much the entire fight scene above.
If Waid had wanted to use an example of divorce resulting in mistreatment of a female character then PAD's killing off of Betty seems a much stronger example.
Posted by: Jonathan, son of Kevin | September 5, 2016 1:54 PM
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