Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Mother Panic #4 Review and **SPOILERS**

Gather 'round

Mother Panic #4
"Broken Things, Part 1"
Written by Jody Houser

Art by Shawn Crystal
Colors by Jean-Francois Beaulieu
Letters by John Workman and Shawn Crystal
Cover Price: $3.99
On Sale Date: March 8, 2017

Mother Panic, already?  Would'a sworn I had a couple more weeks before heading back to Violet-ville.  Luckily, despite my reservations the opening arc ended on a (relative) up note... hopefully that will continue here.

As we enter our second storyline we find ourselves in the hands of a new-to-us artist... let's check it out!

Now it just wouldn't be a big night in Gotham City without a terrorist attack, right?  We open the second arc of Mother Panic with the Gotham Museum of Science and Technology goin' boom just as a fella by the name of Ashley Layton was about to commemorate the Rosemary Layton Memorial Wing.  A tall slender character with a skull-headed walking stick named Pretty is very likely the culprit.

We get a bit of Violet as dilettante in her talk show appearance.  In it she flexes her impression management muscle by purposely acting rather course.  Makes me wonder if she knows that she is in a comic book, because she has always been an a-hole to me... even in situations where she is alone.  At least there is a bit of validation in knowing that at least some of her behavior is a "put on".

The sight of the next talk-show guest, Mr. Layton is enough to give Violet a pause.  We learn that he is at least partially responsible for Violet's time at Gather House.  As we proceed though the issue, we learn that this is likely not an isolated incident.  It turns out that Pretty is also an alum... and his stay was likely facilitated by Ash.

The subplot concerning Violet's mother still bubbles away in the background, which I feel is a good place for it... at least for now.  The creators are wisely keeping the focus on Violet for the moment... I would imagine the Paige drama will come to a head sooner or later.  An additional subplot is introduced which concerns a sort of street-person Pied Piper, which is more than welcome.  I'm always a fan of a good subplot.

The art for this arc is... interesting.  It's certainly not my cup of tea, though I'd be hard-pressed to put my finger on exactly why.  It's angular and almost cartoony... without really committing.  For scenes of Violet out of costume, I find I quite appreciate it... like it, even!  If we jump to the scene where Mother Panic fights Pretty... it's pretty rough.  Is he supposed to look almost exactly like Violet?  Am I just seeing things?

Where this issue shines is in its flashbacks.  Gather House backstory is filling in pretty well, even if the direction we are headed feels a bit cliche.  After all, in fiction there are only a few ways a "creepy boarding house" deal might go.  I'm still pleased with the progression, and look forward to peeling back a few more layers of this mystery.

Bits and Pieces:

As we enter a new story arc we are given plenty of breadcrumbs to follow and the backstory of our protagonist continues to fill in.  The  art is uneven and a tad confusing, however the story is becoming more and more engaging.


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