Mother Panic #1
"A Work in Progress, Part One"
Written by Jody Houser
Art by Tommy Lee Edwards
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: 11.09.2016
It seems like many comics fans have been begging for some new... non-derivative characters coming out of the "big two". It seems as though the Young Animals at DC have finally heard our (or my... I'd never try and speak for anyone else) pleas with the release of Mother Panic.
Was she worth the wait? Let's dive right in and find out!
Short answer? I'm not quite sure... yet.
From what we get here... and it isn't all that much, we learn that Violet had a rather traumatic childhood. Her mother appears to have been suffering with schizophrenia or dementia. Her father is portrayed as an avid sportsman who may have vanished during a hunting trip Violet she joined him on as a young girl. Today, she is a famous... something or other. Not really sure what she does... all we know is she has her fans.
It is readily apparent that our Violet has something of a chip on her shoulder. She comes across here as utterly unpleasant and churlish in almost all encounters. She flips off reporters and curses more than I do in traffic. I suppose that gives us a bit of insight as to her character, however it does not help to endear her to us. She is cold and curt, and for the duration of this chapter, I did not enjoy my time with her. That, however, may be part of the plan.
There may be something in that... perhaps Violet Paige is being written in such a way that she is keeping the reader at arms length. We see from the opening that she does seem to have certain altruistic qualities. She does do the vigilante thing in order to save a life as well... at least, I think that's why she did it. Also, and perhaps most importantly, she still appears to be caring for her addled... and now aged mother. She is not a completely unlikable character... however, I think it's going to take some doing to get me to empathize with her.
The scenes in which Paige does not appear were perhaps the most intriguing. There is an artist who lives in some sort of porous space (just go with it). She paints in blood, and her work is... not for everyone... perhaps especially the piece commissioned and owned by a Mr. Hemsley. After an apparent make-out session, he decides to show the piece to his bodyguard... this does not go so well for either party. What I like most about this is we, the readers did not see exactly what the piece looked like. There is potential here, and I am at least somewhat excited to learn what this is all about.
I suppose I would be remiss in not mentioning that we do get a Batman cameo here. Mother Panic is, after all, operating out of Gotham City. I can recall another odd book a decade or so back about a non-bat Gothamite... Simon Dark. I did not stick with that series for all that long, however, it was notable for not mentioning Batman... at least as long as I was reading it, that is.
Technically, the book was quite sound. The art matched the story rather well, and if the plan is to make Mother Panic a standoffish kind of vigilante, the writing was spot on. The issue did feature a short back-up strip which was decent, if disposable. It immediately made me think of The Long Halloween... and those who have read that can probably figure out why.
Bit and Pieces:
Not the ideal initial outing... or at least not the one I was hoping for. This being the final release of the (first wave of?) Young Animal books set a certain expectation, which in my opinion just wasn't met. I cannot be too harsh on this, as we aren't quite sure where it's headed just yet. The storyline is rather intriguing, however, our main protagonist may be too tough of a sell.