Mother Panic may work in Gotham, but she is not one of the Bat’s people. Violet Paige, a Gotham City socialite, has taken up the vigilante identity of Mother Panic to settle a personal score with the evil underside of the city’s elite. Is she a hero? Hard to say, but somewhere between her dark past and personal code of honor Violet is making a name for herself among Gotham’s masked heroes.
Mother Panic is an excellent introduction into Gerard Way’s (Yes, THAT Gerard Way) new Young Animals imprint at DC. The imprint is a well-curated collection of new takes on some older DC characters, settings, and concepts. Mother Panic is Way’s own brainchild- masterfully brought to life by writer Jody Houser and artist Tommy Lee Edwards. Vol. 1 collects issues 1-6 of the title.
Overall Score: 8.6 out of 10
Creativity of concept: 10/10
While Violet’s life may certainly find its roots in traditional Batman mythology (Family tragedy, fame, vigilante justice), The story itself feels completely fresh. Violet is not an innocent bystander to a family destroying crime, but the potential suspect of one. Betrayal, secrecy, and areas of gray are the fabric of Violet’s life, and Mother Panic’s origin. Houser’s writing treats readers to another take on Gotham high society and the despicable criminals that work their way through it. There is also a well-written bonus story that tags along with the issues to give readers an even more in-depth take on the common folk of Gotham.
Points can certainly be awarded to the art for the simple fact that it fits the gritty tone of the story, however, the first few issues seemed to leave too much to the imagination when it came to getting a clear picture of our protagonist’s face. Halfway through Volume 1, the art changes direction completely. The characters look more angular and rigid. A personal complaint comes from reading the stats of Violet Paige given in the book. She’s 6’0 and 180 lbs. As someone who is only an inch shy of that height and close to that weight myself, I felt that the way Violet was drawn in the first few issues was much more realistic to the stats. By the end of volume 1 she more closely resembles the button mother from Coraline– stick like with lots of sharp edges.
By readability, I am taking into consideration the flow of the story. Do the plot breaks between issues take away from important moments? Did I find myself losing interest and having to pull myself back into the story? Fortunately, when reading Mother Panic, the answer is no. The first 6 issues flow beautifully and keep the reader engaged throughout.
If you’re looking for a “gateway” comic to get you into the medium, or hoping to read as much as you can about the city of The Dark Knight, or if you’re looking for a complex and entertaining new character- I would absolutely recommend picking up a copy of Mother Panic Vol. 1: A Work in Progress.