Hellcat #5 is an explosive ending to the series’ first arc as Patsy and her friends get a nice win against Casiolena, but she has a lot to learn as she balances her life as a superhero with her actual job at Tara Tam’s tattoo parlor, the court case with Hedy, and hanging out with friends. But she has a great supporting cast that writer Kate Leth has fleshed out throughout the first five issues, bright and bouncy art from Brittney Williams, and intense colors from Megan Wilson so she has a great shot at overcoming this obstacle as well. Plus the final two pages have my third favorite Marvel character on it and will definitely make you sad that the next issue is a month off.
Hellcat #4 continues to be an adorable, friendship focused comic about characters, who struggle with real problems like dating and jobs along with fighting Asgardian sorceresses. And artist Brittney Williams and colorist Megan Wilson add some nice Bronze Age flourishes when Casiolena shows up to go with their fashion forward character designs and fun cartooning and to vary the style of the comic a little bit.
After Hellcat #3, it’s safe to say that I’m a (Hell)kitten, and this comic is my warm milk (I would have said catnip, but that’s even self-indulgent by my standards.) thanks to its varied colors from Megan Wilson, adorable art and zippy storytelling from Brittney Williams, and a thematically robust, joke filled writing. Watch out for a great Jessica Jones Easter Egg too!
Hellcat #1 has a diverse cast of characters (Fitting for a Brooklyn set comic.), freely flowing art from Brittney Williams , and has a lot of engaging, real life situations plotted by Kate Leth for readers to latch onto. It’s about an unemployed ex-superhero/PI/subject of romance comics and her gay roommate, who just learned about his powers and might not have the greatest moral compass, hanging out and figuring out how to get their shit together. It’s definitely the most exciting debut issue of All-New, All-Different Marvel thus far.
While this issue does put out a lot of information, Power Up! #5 avoids being an exposition dump. Cummings’ art is on point as usual, outdoing himself on the character design of these intergalactic warriors, and Leth makes you feel like you’ve known them forever, despite only being introduced this issue. What it may lack in action scenes, it makes up for in great tandem work to give great character moments and the backstory everyone has been waiting for. Well, most of it. There’s still one issue left, you know…
Delightful for readers of any age, Masked Mayhem is a fun and adorable read set in the Adventure Time universe. With Leth’s absolutely charming BMO as the central character and the darling art from Underwood, Ayoub, and Moore, this costumed party hopping adventure is one part mystery and three parts a reminder that friendship is mathematical.
While Power Up! #4 doesn’t answer a whole lot of questions, it does strengthen the character interactions and the action sequences without compromising one for the other. Cummings’ art mixed with Leth’s natural and warm writing are working in tandem more as the series progresses, which makes this final homestretch even more exciting. With the monsters coming after the trio now resorting to possession, it seems like the story is about to come to a head in the final two issues as the world (and maybe Kevin’s laundry) hangs in the balance.
Between the odd pacing and quieter moments, Power Up #3 doesn’t feel like the best representation of what the comic could be capable of. There is potential there for the story to pick up further in the last three issues, but it felt slow for a story that only has three issues left. With the ending of Amie getting fired and their identities leaking onto the internet though, Power Up still has potential of picking up before it ends.
The power of friendship and redemption is victorious in Bravest Warriors #36, which is the final issue of Kate Leth and Ian McGinty’s excellent run on the series. In their sixteen issues on the title, they went beyond the cartoon’s mythos showing Catbug’s evil brother and father, giving Plum a lovely girlfriend named Peach, and homaging everything from Pacific Rim and Agatha Christie to The Great Gatsby and Lord of the Rings in a clever, silly manner. This final issue is a little low on suspense, but Leth and McGinty more than makes up for it by giving each Bravest Warrior a crowning moment of brilliance or funny, which play out in a character and plot twist.
In Bravest Warriors #35, writer Kate Leth and artist Ian McGinty gear up for the finale of their run by going to Catbug’s home planet? Yes, Catbug’s homeworld just happens to be in the belly of the same space shark as the Bravesst Warriors and their spaceship. Leth and McGinty use this plot development to show a different side of Catbug’s psyche beneath his smiles, adorableness, and sassy side eye. Like a lot of people, he has issues with members of his family that get explored in a humorous, sometimes emotional way. Leth and McGinty use this spotlight on Catbug and his relationship with his relatives/fellow planet dwellers to add a new twist to what could be only the beginning of new information and characterization of this adorable insect/feline hybrid.
Filled with techno-babble, expert or not so expert spaceship maneuvers from artist Ian McGinty, and Catbug non sequitur one-liner gold from writer Kate Leth, Bravest Warriors #34 is sadly the beginning of the final ride for this comic and creative team. Luckily, Leth, McGinty, and colorist Lisa Moore are going out space opera style as the Bravest Warriors travel to Plum and the merwif’s home planet of Mirvahda to save it from the Colossal Matter Shark or the not so sexy love child of Galactus and the space whales from Star Trek: The Voyage Home. Leth’s script is full of moral dilemmas and tension as the Warriors must make some tough choices in their battle against the Shark. But she offsets the space jargon and rising emotions with her usual rapid fire puns, Catbug comic relief, and some incredibly clever pop culture references.
With its send-up of murder mysteries, interactive nature, and pitch perfect writing and drawing of characters like Danny, Catbug, Peach, Plum, and an unnamed newcomer, Bravest Warriors #33 is a highlight in Kate Leth and Ian McGinty’s run on the comic as well as a good jumping on point for Cartoon Hangover neophytes.
Bravest Warriors #32 gets the whole team involve as they battle the extradimensional terror Akrothile, who was unintentionally summoned by the disgruntled summer camper Arthen. There is also the ongoing threat of Bugcat, who is trapped from his home dimension thanks to the valiant efforts of Catbug in an earlier issue. Kate Leth and Ian McGinty balance big action with character moments in this arc concluding issue along with some great comedy from Catbug.
This weekend at East Coast Comicon, I had the pleasure of interviewing artist Ian McGinty aka the guy who draws Catbug for a living. We talked about his work on Bravest Warriors as well as some other projects for BOOM! Studios, like Munchkin and Bill and Ted’s Most Triumphant Return and even a future animation project. McGinty has been drawing Bravest Warriors for almost a year with writer Kate Leth (Edward Scissorhands), and has co-created a couple new characters, including Bugcat (evil Catbug) and Peach, who can build giant robots and has a romantic relationship with the Bravest Warrior Plum.