Written by Jody Houser
Interiors and Variant Cover by Ibrahim Moustafa
Interior colors by Jordan Boyd (pgs 1-10, 13-20) and Marissa Louise (pgs 11, 12, 21, 22)
Lettered by John Workman
Cover by Tommy Lee Edwards
Edited by Molly Mahan
Executive Editor: Mark Doyle
Mother Panic created by Gerard Way, Jody Houser and Tommy Lee Edwards
Young Animal curated by Gerard Way
WARNING: This review contains a lot of spoilers. If you have not read this issue yet we suggest checking out our spoiler free review by clicking here.
This issue is a great start point for readers new to Mother Panic as it starts where “Milk Wars” left off. We had seen where Mother Panic had been left back in Gotham in the finale of “Milk Wars” but no further info was given, but here we are told we’re starting at a different bat time and a different bat channel. A new reader will put the past together with Violet as she pieces together that she’s in the wrong year and wrong Gotham.
In the opening scenes we see a mysterious, sullen figure who is singing about getting what you wanted only to realize it’s not what you wanted at all. The following sequence shows violent angry that she had agreed to help save the world when the mission she feels she is on is to seek revenge on those that harmed her.
In this version of Gotham Violet never made it out of the fire at Gather house and as this piece of information sinks in for Violet she realizes everything she did and the life she had built never existed. And if that wasn’t enough, she’s also realizing that she doesn’t know where her group of people are or if they, specifically her mother, are still alive.
The only familiar face Violet can find is Otis. He’s older and crabbier than the Otis she knew but nonetheless he’s someone she recognizes.
Alone though she may feel, there’s still one more familiar face and that would be Rosie. Violet had saved her several times in the past, and that made Rosie committed to finding a way to stay with Violet. As a result she had followed Violet on her journey to save the universe and is now stuck in this new alternate Gotham with Violet. We are told she went out to get some supplies, and it is through her eyes that we see yet another familiar face, but not one we wanted to see- Pretty. Yup. Long dead, face eaten by rats, Pretty. And this time he’s shaking down a shop owner on behalf of the “collective that now runs Gotham.
Rosie, still dressed as a sidekick from time spent with Father Bruce, confronts Pretty and stabs him in the leg. Pretty fleas but not before uttering the threat “The dragons are coming and you’ll be the first to burn.” (Hint at what’s to come??)
As we try to figure out who the collective is, and the shop keeper thanks Rosie, she let’s him know on very certain terms that her protection doesn’t come for free.
Elsewhere, we are watching as Gala makes costume design critiques at what I assume to be a meeting of the “collective” and to no ones surprise, Victor Page, the brother who shipped Violet off to Gather house, is in attendance and he asks Gala if he can visit “the Oracle.” This is the first time we’ve heard mention of the Oracle, and since it’s coming from Victor, we can probably safely assume that whoever or whatever it is, is either a new brand of bad heading up the collective or perhaps someone being manipulated by the collective and used for their will. Regardless, I don’t like the sound of it. It screams potential for a baddie/metahuman and with Rebecca still missing (and the only known metahuman thus far) I fear what she may have become in this new Gotham.
But that’s all the info we’re going to receive just yet on that mysterious encounter as we rejoin Violet, Otis and now Rosie who has returned with the supplies she had promised to acquire. I love the exchange that goes down at this point where Violet asks if Rosie killed anybody and Otis says “I thought you guys were heroes” to which violet replies with “Said we weren’t the bad guys. Not the same thing.” And rosie nonchalantly explains her encounter with Pretty and how she had stabbed him like it was a totally normal thing and not disturbing at all. This whole exchange really shows where their current mindset is at.
The mood changes suddenly, however, when Otis says he’s received a message and may know where Violet’s mom is. It doesn’t take long for Violet to jump into action. As she races off to meet this new contact that might have some answers for her the thought process she goes through is yet another great show of Jody’s incredible writing skills. I love how Violet says “I’d finally gotten some hope that I could piece her back together. It wasn’t a disease that took her mind away. It was something that was done to her. I’ll get her back whatever it takes- even a deal with the devil.”
And it looks like that just might be what she’s about to do as she approaches the man we saw singing at the beginning of the issue. Throughout their conversation it becomes clear she’s talking to a significantly depressed Joker who is mourning the loss of Batman. Violet quickly nips this in the bud and states that’s not who she’s looking for and goes on to question him for information on Rebecca Paige.
The answer does indeed come, but apart from dead, it’s got to be the last thing Violet wants to hear. “I knew the names of all my neighbors in Arkham.”
As the joker continues on his weird ramblings Violet bursts his bubble along with his balloon animal as she bluntly tells him she doesn’t care about the people he’s killed or his “dead boyfriend” but that she wants to fuck over the collective and thought he would be down to help.
He tells her in song that there is a pussycat (presumably cat woman??) that also remembers the bat. He tells Violet where she can find her and Violet feels like asking for help and getting it from the Joker feels wrong, but she seems to find comfort in reminding herself “he was never my monster. I’m after the ones who still bite.”
And speaking of the ones that still bite, we shift to Arkham Institute where Gala is granting Victor 5 minutes with Rebecca. Since the last time we saw him he was asking to see the Oracle we are left to wonder if Rebecca really is the Oracle. But is she still good? Is she someone to fear? And most importantly Can violet bring her back this time?
I really loved this issue even though I gotta be honest, my heart is bleeding for Violet right now. She survived the trauma of Gather House, risked her life to take out these terrible people. Only to find herself in a world where the few she loved are lost to her and she has to start over to do everything she had already done. Talk about rebuilding from hell!
I do enjoy that up until this issue Violet’s driving force was anger of what was done to her with her heart getting in the way, but in this issue she’s still angry but not because of what has happened to her so much as what’s happened to the people she loves. Whether she even notices it or not she’s focused way more on love than vengeance, and the fact that I have to question if this was intentional is just another show of how great Jody is in writing Violet. I can’t imagine anyone else being able to writer her so brilliantly. She’s such a dynamic character.
To be honest there’s just so much going on in this comic that I could go on forever and still feel like I missed something so here’s just some of the questions I came up with while reading this issue that I hope will be answered in the issues to follow:
Is anything that’s happened in the past still in tact?
Did what Batman do to help her stay intact?
Did the baddie that Pretty killed stay dead?
How many more foes is Violet going to run into (I really want Jane to stay dead personally, but since it was her only direct intentional kill I’m not hopeful)?
Who is the collective?
Is Otis still a trustworthy ally?
Will Violet be able to save her Mother from the collective? From herself?
Is her mother the Oracle?
What does that even mean if she is?
Will Rosie grow up ruthless under Violet’s supervision or will we see Rosie melt through some of Violet’s rage and they will essentially save each other? (I mean, kids have a way of doing that.)
Will Violet ever find her way back to her time?
Will we ever see the bat again?
Will we see Violet fight harder to take down the collective with saving her mother as her driving force?
Will love triumph over revenge? Will Violet triumph over the collective?
How far will she go to save her mom and will she make so many “deals with the devil” to do it that in the end she will lose herself, or will this experience have her find even more love and humanity as she had started to in previous story arcs?
Will Violet go dark without Batman to keep her focused?
With the bat gone will the Joker find his mojo again when Mother Panic shows to be a formidable foe?
I guess we’ll all just have to wait and hope issue #2 will bring more answers.
In addition to the flawless writing on this issue. I also have to mention the art. I have loved all the art that has been done on these books, but I have remained partial to the art from Tommy Lee Edwards. Now I don’t know if that’s because I loved his attention to detail, or that his version of Violet was given a much more average build and less “itty bitty waist with a round thing in your face” or simply he was the first artist on board so I connected with Violet through his art, but needless to say I was skeptical when yet a new artistic face was announced- Ibrahim Moustafa.
After seeing Ibrahim’s work in this issue I have to say I’m thrilled to see he also is a master of detail and seems to lean towards giving Violet a more average build. I think his art will be a perfect fit going forward and I’m happy to welcome him on board.
One more worry I had about this issue was colors. We also welcomed new colorists and a new Gotham with this issue. I was afraid color schemes would be drastically changed, but I found the dark tones still remained while also receiving some brighter aspects. It felt like it belonged and was dark enough to satisfy my black little soul, while bright enough to speak to my own inner white witch. Great job all the way around by all.
Bottom line? Hardcore fans of Mother Panic (like myself) will find all the elements (even her love of swearing) that they love, while feeling her inner torture as she must rebuild from the ultimate rock bottom. New readers will be able to jump right in with a brand new story that does a fantastic job at filling in the past so it’s easy to catch up, follow along and fall in love. Now, if you haven’t already, go pick it the fuck up and get reading! 😉
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