By Levi Remington
As Violet shares a longing for vengeance with her new acquaintance, a breaking point is reached. Meanwhile, a basement dweller by the name of Flannegan is getting friendly with some rats, and as per usual Violet's mother is acting strange. Read ahead for thoughts on this week's issue!
I didn't know what to expect from Mother Panic, but it has turned out to be pretty fun. Some bits are a little ridiculous, like the idea that Batman somehow does not know Violet's identity. But it's refreshing for a series to limit Batman's otherwise omniscient power. Also - Mother Panic herself (Violet's vigilante alter-ego) has a bizarre design that I'm not sure I like. It's as if Violet bought an oversized Transformer mask, put on some Power Gloves, and marinated in a bowl of cow's milk for seventeen hours. I do love the color scheme, though. I can't think of a Gotham hero that dresses all white (Moon Knight & Dagger style), so it's a refreshing look.
The artist has changed for this arc (starting at #4), but I think it’s for the better. While Tommy Lee Edwards' art was impressive, the sheer amount of detail worked against the overall flow of the story. Shawn Crystal is going for a more stylized simplicity that makes the action much easier to follow, and Jean-Francois Beaulieu's orange-obsession is giving me Francesco Francavilla vibes.
The mystery revolving the Gather House continues to intrigue, though I hope Jody Houser has a concrete idea for it, and isn't just making it up as the story moves forward. Violet is a polarizing character so far. I like her celebrity dynamic --though it has yet to be an integral piece to the overarching story -- and I enjoy her sass, even if "sassy woman hero" is a saturated market right now. I think she's infused with enough anger and apathy to stand out from the rest of the crowd. I could see how her personality might be abrasive for some readers, though I think she's putting on a facade as a defense mechanism. I like how Jody Houser doesn't seem to care if we like Violet as much as Violet wouldn't care. Full disclosure: I actually like Violet. What really needs work are her in-costume one liners, but for every "Been a blast!" there's a "fuck your approval" so it's not too bad.
Mother Panic is a worthwhile, angst-fueled adventure with great art and a fun protagonist. Violet is a vigilante unlike any other in Gotham, even if her damaged persona and haunted past ring one too many bells. Her personality is juvenile and that's the point; these are growing pains for Violet. It's a risky move to introduce readers to a character in this stage of her life, but I like it.
Mother Panic #5
Written by Jody Houser
Art by Shawn Crystal
Colors by Jean-Francois Beaulieu
Letters by John Workman & Shawn Crystal
Published by Young Animal (A DC Comics Imprint)