Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Mother Panic #2 Review and *SPOILERS*

Mother Panic #2
"A Work in Progress, Part 2"
Written by Jody Houser
Art by Tommy Lee Edwards
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: 12.28.2016

I remember reading comics as a teenager... if I ever came across a comic that used a four-letter word, boy I felt like I was getting away with something.  It was the pinnacle of depth and "maturity" for a 13-year old Chris to see "the F word" written in a comic book.  I will say, if Mother Panic hit the shelves in ye old 1993, I'd have thought it was the bee's knees... the cat's pajamas, even!

Now, seeing a whole bunch of curse-words in a comic as an adult... well, it's not necessarily a bad thing, though I'll concede it kinda makes me cringe.  Now, why in the world am I saying all of this?  Read on...

So yeah, this book loves pointless and excessive swearing.  It makes me feel like I'm getting away with something, but for the wrong reasons.  As a kid, a book with "mature language" was sort of something I wanted to get "caught" with... as it would show whoever caught me that comics can be "for adults".  Today, I'm scared my wife is going to look over my shoulder to see what I'm reading... and simply roll her eyes at the immaturity of it all.  Not a deal-breaker by any means, and hell... I usually curse more before I get out of bed in the morning... but I felt it was still worth mentioning.

Anyhoo... enough of that, and on to the story... which I will attempt not to spoil too much.

Here we learn a bit about Violet's backstory... perhaps an explanation why she is how she is.  It appears she was sexually abused... or almost sexually abused, the book isn't entirely clear... and that's fine... both would be horrible things to have had dealt with.  I'm not sure how I feel about this... not sure if there is any thought of using this to "explain" her sexuality... which could become pretty sticky.  I'm fairly optimistic we're not going to "go there" but, cautiously.  We also learn just what happened to her father... which I won't really go into just yet.

There is a theme of consequentialism throughout this story thus far.  We've already established that Mother Panic is neither a hero nor a villain.  She might be the protagonist of the story, however, there is very little heroic or moral about her.  Consequentialist theories of ethics don't really define the actions or behaviors of the individual... it is the consequence that decides the moral soundness of the individual.  Mother Panic/Violet is not a nice person.  She is very "means to an end" in her approach, and I feel like this is an interesting thread for the creative team to explore.

Violet is a fairly complex character... and might be looked at as dangerous... or even insane by those around her.  It is her goal-oriented behavior that I would argue defines her as a rational individual.  Even with as emotionally distant and mentally fragile as she might appear (at least to me), there is a desired goal for all of her behavior... there is a method to Mother's madness.

Our cast gets a bit more fleshed out here... we get a tad more time with both Violet's mother and Hemsley's bodyguard.  They have a nice little conversation.  Not enough to overstay its welcome nor really give anything away though.  I'm pleased that it was included.

Our Violet out of costume scenes portray her as using a man as a sex object, and making it quite clear that it was only a one-time deal.  She is wildly unpleasant here, but knowing what we now (sorta) know, it is... well, not so much understandable... but not so outlandish to observe.

Our bat-family cameo comes in the form of Batwoman this issue.  She looks on as Mother Panic patrols, and wonders why in the world she'd be wearing white.

Bits and Pieces:

A less pleasant read than the opening chapter... but somehow better overall.  The story does manage to progress, though Violet is still proving to be quite the tough sell on me.  There is an immaturity and petulance here, which might ultimately serve the story well... however, it is making these initial offerings a bit tough to digest.


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