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Quote1.png Deep down, Korvac is afraid. If you are not...you can win. Quote2.png
Moondragon (Heather Douglas-616 & Heather Douglas-18897)

Appearing in "America's #1 Teenager"

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Synopsis for "America's #1 Teenager"

Brief Synopsis

The ships of Iron Man and Korvac are locked in combat in space, with Tony's crew struggling to shake off the enemy fire. Hellcat is unresponsive in real life, but in her mind she is approached by Moondragon, who wants to make her psychic powers stronger to fight Korvac. Patsy is taken to a recreation of her school, where she tests out her telepathy and telekinesis before being confronted by a vision of Daimon Hellstrom, who is the school's principal.

Afterward, Patsy finds herself in a catatonic state in her bedroom, with her mother Dorothy wishing Patsy killed herself. Finally, Patsy appears in a padded cell wearing a straightjacket. Hellcat appears in front of this vision of herself, which represents Patsy's fear of her own mind. With Moondragon's encouragement, Patsy comforts and embraces herself, and is jolted awake in the real world. Tony's ship is in a dire condition, and Korvac's vessel is about to deal the final blow. Hellcat uses her powers to cast an illusion on Korvac of the Badoon, causing him to panic and release an energy surge that stalls his ship, allowing Tony's ship to blast away. With the crisis averted, Patsy asks where is Tony Stark.

Detailed Synopsis

Iron Man's ship flies through space with Korvac's vessel on its trail firing energy blasts at it. Inside the cockpit, War Machine struggles to shake them off and decides to try to get to missile range to fire at them. He orders Halcyon to load the weapons, and uses the comms to tell the Scarlet Spider and Misty Knight to lay down more cover fire. They're both operating energy guns from within windowed domes underneath the ship, and both make reproaching remarks at Rhodey. As the fire from Korvac's ship hits them, Rhodey's console shorts out and he loses flight control. He orders Halcyon to make a hard turn, and the ship gets out the incoming fire barrage. Completing the inside loop maneuver, to the discomfort of the Scarlet Spider and Frog-Man, Halcyon fires the missiles at Rhodey's order. The ship, now behind Korvac's, fires three projectiles, but they all miss their target and fly past Korvac's vessel.

Inside the ship, Hellcat's eyes are glowing as she is being cradled by Gargoyle within an energy field, who is talking to her in an attempt to get a reaction. In darkness, Patsy calls out to Tony and Gargoyle, but a different voice responds. Patsy finds herself surrounded by space dust and asks where she is. The voice tells Patsy that she is physically safe, but the voice itself is somewhere else entirely. Asking the voice who is it, the voice wonders if Patsy doesn't recognize it. Realizing that she does, Hellcat finds herself in front of Moondragon. Greeting Hellcat, Moondragon notices that her mind has rekindled its psychic powers. Patsy brings up that Moondragon once took her powers away, and assumes she is not happy she has regained them, but Heather clarifies that she is with Patsy to make her stronger.

Moondragon reveals that she has felt the threat of Korvac, but she and the Guardians of the Galaxy are too far away, so she wants to enhance Patsy's mental powers. Patsy shows reluctance, but Moondragon informs her that despite Korvac being psionically formidable, the link he established with Patsy makes him vulnerable. When Patsy explains that she felt the pure euphoric simplicity of the vision of Korvac's utopia, Moondragon interjects that he wants to enslave everyone, and that no one thing gets to decide what all that is becomes. Patsy expresses her worry of losing her mind again, and Heather reiterates her she is with her to make her stronger. Telling Patsy that they will start somewhere familiar, Moondragon brings her and Patsy's projections to the entrance of a recreation of Centerville High School, Patsy's old high school. As Hellcat reacts to the familiar setting, the bell rings and Heather tells her to go inside.

Patsy and Heather find themselves sitting at a desk in a classroom during a test. Noticing her best friend Hedy Wolfe in the desk across from her, Hellcat calls her attention, but Hedy tells her to be silent. Heather tells Patsy to focus on her test. Hellcat looks downward to see a sheet with a history question. Patsy protest that he doesn't remember anything of history, and Heather points out it's not about the test, but knowing where the answers are; in this case, inside the teacher's mind. Moondragon encourages Patsy to probe into the teacher's mind, and she retrieves the answer. Heather points to an apple in the teacher's desk, and instructs Patsy to move it. Patsy looks at it, and the apple is flung into the chalkboard, alerting the teacher, and it bursts on impact. The bell rings just when the teacher lashes out. As they are standing in the crowded hallway of the school, Hellcat is approached by the teacher, Mr. Brown. Mentioning that Hedy accused her of the incident with the apple, Mr. Brown sends her to the principal's office. Moondragon tells her to do as he says, but when Patsy turns around, she is gone. Hellcat reluctantly walks towards the principal's office and peeks through the door, finding the maniacal Daimon Hellstrom at the principal's desk. He pleads to Patsy to return to him, but she refuses. He pulls the chairs in the room towards him with his trident and blows them up, menacingly telling Patsy not to break his heart. Patsy cries out.

Patsy appears lying on her bed in a catatonic state in her room. Moondragon sits in one side of the bed while in the other Hedy and Patsy's mother Dorothy are discussing about Patsy's psychotic break making for a comic strip book of Golden Age-like stories which Dorothy is drawing. Dorothy mentions that Patsy's boyfriend Buzz Baxter came by with a razor for Patsy, but ponders if it was Daimon instead. As the razor lies on top of Patsy's open hand, her mother states that she knows Patsy will do the right thing and kill herself to spare the rest her suffering. Dorothy calls Patsy a wretched filth and corrupt, and both she and Hedy smile at Patsy as her vision becomes blurry, telling Patsy that she is on her last page.

Patsy finds herself kneeling in a dark padded cell with only a small ray of light, wearing a straightjacket. She calls out for her mother, saying that she is better and has no more visions of Hell. Tears begin to stream down her face as she calls out for Moondragon and Tony before crying out for anybody. Patsy falls down and the ray of light becomes brighter. Moondragon's voice reaches out to Patsy, encouraging her to focus. She opens her eyes and they turn completely black. Both Hellcat and Moondragon project into the room, and Patsy asks Heather who is her straightjacketed self. Moondragon tells her it's Patsy's fear of her own mind. Patsy kneels down and helps her other self up. As Moondragon tells her to free it, Patsy caresses her other self, and the straightjacket becomes untied and falls down. Moondragon tells Patsy to accept and hold it, and Patsy hugs her other self with a smile. It disappears into a white portal. Moondragon tells Hellcat that Korvac is afraid, and that if she is not, she can win.

An emergency alarm is blasting out and Patsy is jolted awake in the real world. She steps out of Gargoyle's energy field to see her teammates in their current predicament. She rushes to Rhodey, who is in the cockpit getting ready to hit the brakes and self destruct the ship. Every console is sparkling while the vessel's systems alert of a fire and its inability to suppress it. Aboard his ship, Korvac directs Unicorn to fire on his mark. Hellcat storms into the cockpit, swatting Halcyon aside and pressuring Rhodey to give her ten seconds before directing everything to make the ship go as fast as it can. Right as Korvac is giving out the order, he is jolted back by an illusion of the Badoon calling him a traitor and a coward and telling Korvac that he will always be their slave. Calling them out as illusions, Korvac releases a surge of energy. Rhodey notices the surge and that it has stalled their ship, and on Patsy's order hits a button that makes the ship blast off. Elsewhere in the ship, Gargoyle informs them that the damaged engine is contained and the suppression system is back online. As sprinklers fill the cockpit with foam, Hellcat takes a step back and asks where is Tony Stark.

Solicit Synopsis

Tony Stark has vanished in the middle of outer space, and his friends are moments away from death at Korvac's hands. It's up to a shell-shocked Hellcat to dig deep into her mind with the help of old friend and psychic mentor Moondragon, who reaches across the universe to help Patsy reclaim the once-powerful mental abilities she left behind. But to reignite those powers, Hellcat is going to have to face some pretty frightening demons in her past…one of them literally the Son of Satan himself.

Notes

  • As per its corner box legacy numbering, this issue corresponds to Iron Man #633.
  • Juann Cabal was originally solicited as the guest artist for this issue before being replaced by Ángel Unzueta.[1]
  • Following this issue, the series went on a one-month hiatus to reflect the events of Heroes Reborn, in which reality is warped so the Avengers never formed, with Tony Stark never having become Iron Man.[1]
  • When Moondragon comments on the rekindling of Hellcat's mental powers, Patsy brings up that Moondragon took her powers away a while ago. An editor's note cites the issue Defenders #77. After Defenders #4 established that Moondragon trained Hellcat with mental powers, it is in issue #77 that Moondragon takes those powers back from Hellcat since she had given Patsy a portion of her own mental strength to handle them, and she needed it back to stop the issue's villain. Patsy also assumes that Moondragon isn't happy with Patsy regaining her powers, since in Defenders #77, Moondragon expressed that Patsy hadn't used her powers correctly.
  • When Moondragon and Hellcat arrive at the recreation of Centerville High School from Patsy's young years, Patsy notices Buzz Baxter in the crowd. She comments that in the future they would get divorced and Buzz would mutate into an evil dog. Patsy and Buzz would be established to have married in Amazing Adventures (Vol. 2) #13, with their divorce being mentioned in Avengers #144. Buzz would later appear mutated into the Mad-Dog in Defenders #125.
  • During her mental journey, Hellcat is confronted by a vision of Daimon Hellstrom trying to get her back. Patsy and Daimon fell in love in the pages of Defenders and married in Defenders #125. However, when Patsy helped Daimon regain his demonic nature to avoid dying in Hellstorm: Prince of Lies #3, she was driven mad as a result.
  • When Patsy finds herself in her room in a comatose state, her mother Dorothy is drawing and talking to Hedy Wolf about adapting her life into a strip comic book. Patsy Walker originated as a teen-humor heroine from the 1940s to the early 1960s. In Defenders #89, all of these stories were retconned into being an in-universe work of fiction of Patsy's mother, and an idealized version of Patsy's youth.
  • After regaining her mental powers, Hellcat casts an illusion of the Badoon on Korvac, who label him a traitor, a coward and a slave. In his origins told in Thor Annual #6, Korvac was a slave of the Badoon in the alternate reality of Earth-691.
  • The final page of this comic after the story ends includes a suicide PSA with contact information for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
  • Writer Christopher Cantwell envisioned this issue as "essentially a one-shot about mental health."[2]

Trivia

See Also

Links and References

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Marvel switches up artists on Iron Man #8. GamesRadar+ (15 March 2021). Retrieved on 25 March 2021.
  2. Cantwell, Christopher (12 April 2021). Christopher Cantwell on Twitter: "Okay, just a bit more regarding .... Twitter. Retrieved on 17 April 2021.
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