Story: Jody Houser
Art: John Paul Leon
Colors: Dave Stewart
Letterer: John Workman
What They Say:
A life Mother Panic once saved is again struck by tragedy, causing her to take a deeper look at her mission of revenge and her role in Gotham City. And with the shadow of the Bat looming ever closer, she may not have much time to decide where she stands!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Mother Panic has been clicking fairly well for me since early on, though the pacing and number of issues for each arc has been a bit less clear, making some endings feel a bit sudden. Which works better than I would have expected, it’s just jarring at first. With Jody Houser working an undercurrent of stories and connectivity along with the main plot of Violet’s journey, it’s continually moving forward and engaging. With this new arc that’s now underway, the series has her working with John Paul Leon on the art duties and it’s definitely distinctively, especially when in Mother Panic mode and with John Workman’s lettering style for her at that point. Each phrase is like a bullet impact and the contrast with the backgrounds and the brightness of her white outfit just delivers a very interesting experience.
With Violet having rescued the kids previously, though mostly forgetting about them, Dom has been keeping an eye on them just because of their past – and his hope of being useful to Violet eventually. What we see at the start of this issue is how one of the young girls finds herself in a whole new world of pain as her parents are gunned down in front of her in a garage by someone wearing a coroner’s bag and wielding two guns. It’s a brutal piece and one that upon seeing it sets Violet off to figure out what’s going on and put an end to it. The visuals for a lot of this are really well done as John Paul Leon has some really stark background designs and Dave Stewarts colors play up the darker elements of it but also adding more shades of rust and decay to give us a very different Gotham than usual. This is more so at the start of the book when Violet’s mother talks about the sun setting earlier, giving more night to the city. Those burnt oranges and more are just captivating.
While the action is solid here and there are some tense moments, it’s the Violet material itself that clicks. She’s struggling with her actions because the cybernetic enhancements are getting quite the workout and she’s overstressing them. That’s setting up a potential trip for some surgery to get it updated, but not before she gets back out into the streets to stop this new killer. What that ties into is twofold; the first is that we see more of her time in Gather House years ago in how they reworked her mind to make her a willing and capable tool, which is stark in its own ways. The other is seeing her humanity when she questions the girl from the beginning to find out what she knows only to get a very intense hug that puts some cracks in the walls she’s put around herself. Combining that with her not committing to killing the person who killed the girl’s’ parents adds another neat layer to how Violet’s changing before us.
Mother Panic continues to be a really fun book that delivers on what I want, Gotham without Batman or most of the usual crew. It’s a big city with a whole lot of nooks and crannies to explore without heavy crossover material. Violet’s story is coming alive more and more each issue as we know her, the support group that’s being fleshed out around her, and the seemingly changing nature of her goals. This installment brings us some great artwork from John Paul Leon and the end result is a pretty engaging book that has me excited for what comes next.
Age Rating: 17+
Released By: DC Comics/Young Animal via ComiXology
Release Date: May 24th, 2017