By Kelly Gaines
The brooding, alcoholic, White Witch of Gotham has finally come to terms with what she really is- a superhero. Mother Panic #5 marks a moment of genuine change and borderline gentleness for Gotham's second most angsty vigilante. Violet may not be happy in this strange new reality, but that doesn't make fighting the good fight any less important; especially now that she knows there is no way home.
War has come to Gotham's underground in a clash between Gala's minions, Jason Todd's cult, and Selena and Ivy's park gang. Violet would be more than happy to sit this fight out, but with the soul of Gotham hanging in the balance, she can't seem to let it by. It just takes a pep-talk from her oracle mother and mildly homicidal kid sidekick to see that. Mother Panic is a force to be reckoned with in any battle, but a surprise attack from Jason Todd might be a little more than she can handle.
Speaking of Jason Todd, even in this reality he comes off as a whiny psychotic baby. We get it. As DC fans, we collectively get it- Batman didn't save you. Sorry, that sucks, but STOP. This Jason is angry about not being Gotham's most important vigilante and has convinced a bunch of down on their luck kids that Batman is a god, and he is Batman's next incarnation. It's a freaky son of god/ Buddha situation that is every bit as unsettling as seeing Joker's strung up corpse decorating Jason's lair. It seems that even with no Batman to bitch at, Jason finds a way to be a massive inconvenience to the heroes of Gotham and blind to the irony of the chaos his "heroic" actions create.
That being said, I do appreciate the creepy recasting Mother Panic has done for Gotham's key players. Homeless Joker is my favorite by far. Actually seeing the Joker lose interest in crime without Batman is an eerie confirmation that this reality plays by its own set of rules. Even cult leader Jason Todd is a refreshingly horrific twist on a whiny irritant of a character. That's Mother Panic's charm- taking the Gotham we know and reshaping it so slightly that the surprises are in the details. The series is an optical illusion in a sense. You have to get close to see the full truth. As an issue, Gotham A.D #5 is not a standout. It's a crucial chapter that doesn't exactly get the heart racing the way other issues have- not bad, but not excellent either. I'm excited to see where the title leads in it's encroaching August end date. Mother Panic is a Young Animal title with the capability of appealing to both the classic hero fans and fans looking for stories that are a little edgier. I'm still coping with the fact that Mother Panic and the other Young Animal titles are wrapping up next month, but maybe it is better for stories to complete at their planned end than drag on and lose quality. So how will the White Witch of Gotham's story end? I have no idea. But I hope it involves Jason Todd getting decked.
Mother Panic Gotham A.D. #5