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What's Up With Trish In Netflix's Jessica Jones Season 2?

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Original Patsy.

Spoilers for Netflix's Jessica Jones including the finale of Season 2 below!

In the newest episodes of Jessica Jones, Trish "Patsy" Walker spends a lot of time trying to become a superhero, and she causes Jessica a lot of pain as a result. Don't hold it against her, though. Trish didn't have a choice. It's just who she is.

See, in the comics, Patsy Walker moonlights as the costumed superhero Hellcat. If Jessica Jones' latest season is any indication, it won't be long before her Netflix counterpart is following suit. Patsy's alter-ego is just part of the story, however. How Patsy goes from teen idol to spandex-clad hero in the comics is an odd and fascinating tale--and if you're caught up on Jessica Jones Season 2, it's going to sound awfully relevant.

Just a normal teenage girl

In the Marvel Universe, Patsy has always been a star. She beat the Fantastic Four to the spinner rack by almost 20 years. By the time Tony Stark got around to strapping an arc reactor to his chest, Patsy's flagship comic was already celebrating it's 105th issue. Spider-Man, Wolverine, and Thor? Patsy's older than all of them.

In 1944, Timely Comics (the company later known as Marvel) launched Miss America Magazine, a hybrid publication that combined comics with fashion and dating tips from Hollywood stars, profiles of up-and-coming celebrities, and advice columns. While the 16-year-old superhero Miss America was positioned as the magazine's big draw (her name is in the title, for goodness' sake), Patsy Walker quickly stole the show.

When Patsy made her first appearance in Miss America Magazine #2, writer Otto Binder described her as "wholesome" and "mischievous"--in other words, "a typical teenager" who "might be your next-door neighbor." Patsy Walker's teen adventures proved to be a perfect fit for the magazine. While Miss America is busy fighting an electric-powered supervillain, Patsy spends her debut trying to woo the hunky musician Swoon Strong before her would-be boyfriend, other fans, and her bratty younger brother can get in the way.

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If you've ever read Archie comics, you know what Patsy Walker was like. Patsy has a beleaguered love interest, Buzz Baxter, and a foxy rival named Hedy Wolfe. Most of Patsy's struggles involve finding new jobs, surviving school and suburbia, and navigating her ever-turbulent love life. They're silly stories, but many are remarkably well made. Cartoonist Al Jaffee was the main artist on Patsy's books for years until Harvey Kurtzman snatched him up for MAD Magazine, where he's been ever since. That's a lot of talent, and it shows on practically every page.

Patsy became a star almost immediately, and while Miss America disappeared from her own magazine just a few issues after its debut, Patsy stayed for the duration--and then some.

A few months after her debut, she got her own comic book. In 1952 Patsy and Hedy shared the spotlight in a series called Patsy and Hedy. A third spin-off, Patsy and Her Pals, launched in 1953.

Patsy Walker, Patsy's flagship series, ran from 1945 until 1967. Cancellation wasn't the end for the teen star, however--she just needed a career change to bring her in line with the times.

All grown up and on the prowl

Technically, Patsy Walker ushered in the Marvel Age of Comics. In June 1961, Patsy Walker #95 was one of the first two titles to carry the name Marvel Comics on the cover (the other was Journey into Mystery #69). Patsy didn't officially join the Marvel superhero universe until a few years later, however, when she and Hedy gawked at the stars attending Reed Richards and Sue Storm's wedding in The Fantastic Four Annual #3.

It's a single panel cameo, but it was enough to convince writer Steve Englehart that Patsy was a part of the larger Marvel Universe. In Englehart's Amazing Adventures #14, Patsy gets caught up in a fight between police and the X-Men's Beast. This wasn't the same flighty teen girl that fans remembered, however. This Patsy was all grown up. To drive the point home, Amazing Adventures #15 opens with Patsy in a slinky nightgown, something that Englehart seems pretty proud of.

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Patsy helps hide Beast's real identity from the police, and Beast repays the favor in Englehart's Avengers #141 by convincing Captain America to let Patsy tag along on a mission. Naturally, Patsy gets caught up in the action. At the end of Avengers #144, Patsy dons a fallen villain's costume and christens herself Hellcat. Buzz, Patsy's estranged husband, serves as Hellcat's first nemesis.

Englehart liked Patsy as a hero because, unlike other Marvel characters, she's "a typical girl." Patsy's past wasn't marred by tragedy. She wasn't caught in a lab accident, she wasn't forced to wear a costume, and she's not driven by guilt or vengeance. She just wants to help.

Patsy, bringing two different worlds together

Hellcat went on to have a number of adventures with the Avengers and the Defenders, including marrying the Son of Satan himself, Daimon Hellstrom, befriending She-Hulk, and committing suicide (don't worry, she got better). Patsy's strangest story, however, happened when Marvel tried to reconcile her superhero career with her lighthearted past.

In Defenders #89, Hellcat's friends learn that, when Patsy was a child, her mother wrote and drew a series of teen humor comics starring Patsy Walker. As Hellcat tells the story, the comics became incredibly popular, transforming Patsy into a teen idol. In other words, all of those Patsy Walker comics from the '40s, '50s, and '60s? Those exist in the Marvel Universe too, making Patsy just as much of a star there as she was here.

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That's the foundation for Trish's arc on Jessica Jone. On Jessica Jones, It's Patsy! was a television show, not a comic book, but the basic beats are the same: an overbearing stage mother, a reluctant teen idol, an accidental entry into the world of superheroes, an association with the Defenders, and a quest to become a hero herself.

In the comics, Patsy doesn't battle addiction or fight off nosy fans, but she's got some (literal) demons of her own. She married Daimon Hellstrom, the actual son of Satan, in The Defenders #125--naturally, Buzz Baxter crashes the wedding--and later committed suicide thanks to his influence. If you thought that Mama Walker was overbearing and controlling on Jessica Jones, in the comics she tried to sell Patsy's soul in exchange for everlasting life. Whether it's on the screen or on the page, Patsy's got issues.

That doesn't stop her from trying to help the people around her, however. That's Patsy's whole deal, even if they don't always make the best decisions along the way. Or, to put it another way: when Trish busts out cat-like reflexes and catches her cellphone during her last scene in Jessica Jones' sophomore season, it's not just a random plot twist. It's destiny.

Christopher Gates on Google+

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