Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Mother Panic #5 Review and **SPOILERS**

Pals with Pretty?

Mother Panic #5

"Broken Things, Part Two"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 22, 2017

Last issue, it looked like Mother Panic might have made a brand-new friend.  Not sure she's really all that great with other people... but, hell... it's not like we know all that much about her at this point, right?

Let's check in with Violet and Pretty and see how much they might have in common.

What Happened...

After the events of last issue, we find ourselves learning about Pretty's time at Gather House.  We learn that Pretty's "gift" was beauty... while Violet's was strength.

Violet checks in with Dr. Varma as well as her mother.  I appreciated the juxtaposition of these two scenes.  Varma is someone she has to count on, while her mother is someone she can't.  Her mother is, of course, rather troubled... and we actually get a panel here where, after hearing her mother talk to an inanimate object (or is she?), Violet kneels down and closes her eyes.  This might be the first bit of organic character I've seen her show.  She is saddened and frustrated with the situation.  It's a very human reaction.

Which sort of makes her use of "distractions" seem a bit more natural.  Here again, we see Violet head out into the Gotham night scene to dance her troubles away.  Though, even here... she is haunted by memories of Gather House.

Violet is given the opportunity to sort of even the score with Layton... by sniping his young son while he sleeps.  This is an interesting scene... in which Mother Panic has a very important decision to make.  Is an eye for an eye always the way?  Do the ends always justify the means?

Our wrap up is pretty "reveal" heavy.  We learn a bit about Dr. Varma's earlier days, and come to find out exactly where our pied-piper pal is really shacking up.

What I Dug...

I wasn't sure how well I would take to Shawn Crystal's art, but I gotta say, it's definitely growing on me here.  This may be due to this issue being more out-of-costume character heavy.

Speaking of character, I appreciated the scene between Violet and her mother.  This was the first time we have ever seen Violet not be an a-hole... which may lend a bit of credence to her claims that her bad-girl act is something of a put on for the people.  I eagerly await seeing that veneer crack, if it reveals a newer more likable Violet.

The bit in the club where Violet had a flashback to Gather House was pretty well done.  Her headbutting her date for the evening was a pretty powerful scene, and facilitated some backstory being filled in.

We do get a bit of story-progression here, with the added wrinkle that current Violet-confidant, Dr. Varma was part of the Gather House experiments.  I am looking forward to seeing how this plays out.

Our pied-piper subplot gets a bit of advancement as well.  Not sure who he is, or why he's there... but I am intrigued.  We get close-ups on his face, which reveal his is not completely unlike his rat pals!

In a real character-building moment, Violet refusal to take "an eye for an eye" might be her first step toward becoming a protagonist I can actually like.  It also illustrated a marked difference in the constitutions of she and Pretty.

What I Didn't...

I know I say it every month, but... Violet is still perhaps the most unlikable protagonist I've read in quite some time.  Even with what we are beginning to learn about her past, I'm still having a tough time rooting for her.  I feel as though we have no reason to want her to win this.  Some small steps were taken here... but, at this point we're five-issues and $20 into this.

I know I also say this every month but... the profanity.  I really wish we could go back to a time where a Mature Readers book didn't just mean "cram as many four-letter words in as possible".  It feels as though this book is targeting a high-school age demographic with it's tone and "edge", which... I'm pretty sure falls outside the age-range of the "Mature Reader".

I'm wondering how it could be that Batman (or any other hero) didn't already uncover the happenings at Gather House.  I mean, Batman is normally portrayed as knowing just about anything.  I find it hard to believe that he wouldn't know about this.  Even if they are sticking with the New-52's five-year timeline, it's still a bit strange.


A bit of a mixed bag.  There are plenty of things to like here... even quite like; however several complaints from the earlier issues still remain.  This second story arc is a marked improvement on the opener, and I am hopeful this will continue.


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