Mother Panic #1 (January, 2017)
“A Work in Progress, Part 1”
“Gotham Radio, Scene One: 1621”
Writers – Jody Houser & Jim Krueger
Illustrator – Tommy Lee Edwards
Back-Up Pencils – Phil Hester
Back-Up Inks – Ande Parks
Back-Up Colors – Trish Mulvihill
Letterers – John Workman & Deron Bennett
Editor – Molly Mahan
Special Thanks – Shelly Bond
Curated By – Gerard Way
Cover Price: $3.99
Had an idea that I thought might be pretty cool. For those who know (or care), there are a handful of new releases I cover for Weird Science DC Comics… and if there was one book that made me want to run (not walk) away from comic book reviewing… it was early Mother Panic.
I hate, hate, hated this book… and would get agita at the thought of not only reading… but writing about this book. It was definitely the low-point in the Young Animal line for me. Fast-Forward a year-and-change, and it’s just about the only Young Animal book I can stand to read! Go figure.
As I currently quite dig the book (comparatively), I thought it might be only fair to revisit the first issue of the series, and maybe give it our first-ever Discussion, Review, and Retrial.
To check out my original thoughts on Mother Panic #1 (from November 9, 2016), click here.
We open with Violet Paige returning to Gotham City after being away for some major surgery. Upon arrival, she is greeted by her waiting public. Ya see, she something of a dilettante (also referred to as a “celebutante”)… so, she’s more or less famous for being famous. She’s kind of a jerk.
We flash back to when Violet was a child. She’s about to go on a hunting trip with her father… and it’s made plainly clear that her mother might not be quite in her right mind.
We shift scenes to an older man taking his bodyguard to a storage facility of sorts in order to show him a piece of artwork he’d had commissioned. The bodyguard, Dom, finds the piece… interesting.
Back to Violet, she’s about to head into some kind of high-society party. As she enters, she flashes back to that hunting trip she’d taken as a young girl. She and her father are accompanied by another man… it’s the fella who commissioned the art.
Back in the present, Violet is at the bar. She is approached by a reporter who wants to ask her some questions about the “mysterious” death of her father some fifteen years earlier. She politely tells him to back off.
It’s made pretty clear that she is there to find that man with the art. We’ll call him Hemsley… because that’s his name. Hemsley, however, is looking for Dom… for some reason. He calls some other bodyguard-types to fetch him… because, as they put it: He (Dom) witnessed something he wasn’t ready for.
They proceed to beat the hell out of him… until…
Mother Panic swoops in and takes out Hemsley’s men. There is a mess of symbolism between her blows… which really feels “too cute by half” at this point. When the dust settles, she grabs Dom and takes him away… just as a certain other Gotham Crusader arrives on the scene.
She takes Dom to her compound… and learn that while Violet’s (oh yeah, Violet is Mother Panic… not sure if that’s been made clear) father is dead… her mother yet lives! She’s still quite mad though.
We shift back to Hemsley who is frantically seeking the artist from whom he’d commissioned the work… claiming that it could get her “caught”. He is allowed to pass though… this, hole… into a white room full of… other holes. Not sure if this is supposed to be on a separate plane of reality or whatever. Even with the benefit of hindsight, I’m not entirely sure. Anyhoo… this is where we meet Gala, the blood-painter… who, well, paints with blood.
Back at the compound, Mother Panic has Dom chained to a toilet so she can question him about Hemsley. He doesn’t appear to be terribly useful at this point.
We close out with a vision of a large burning home.
Our backup features a radio personality waxing philosophically… well, it would seem deep if he were in junior high school, but whatever. He talks about gratitude… and claims that he is thankful for… the Batman. At which time, he is murdered in the studio.
This short-feature closes out with a hooded man saying “Thanksgiving”.
I guess time doesn’t always “heal old wounds”, because I still really didn’t care for this. I mean, it’s clear that Violet’s churlish and flat-out unlikable character is kinda the point… but, that doesn’t necessarily make it any more fun to read about her.
A lot of these panels feel like they were written “for the retweets”. I mean, there’s literally one where Mother Panic says “F*** the Bat” How adorable, right? That’s gotta be worth a few retweets… maybe some Tumblr re-whatevers. It’s full of many of the things that I’d cite as “mature” in comics… when I was 13. Today, however… some two decades-plus later… it just makes me cringe.
One of my main complaints about this book (the first time through) was the over-dependence on cursing… I get that I’m very likely not in the age-range this book was looking to attract… but, when I read this… I feel kind of embarrassed. This is the kind of book I wouldn’t want my wife to see me reading, because… a) it’s rather petulant, and b) it might inform her opinion on what “mature comic books” entail.
Now, with all of that said… I cannot deny that this has many of the “nuts and bolts” a first issue of a comic book ought to have. This was definitely the easiest to follow of the initial Young Animal offerings, with only a bit of flashbacking and symbolism to really have to parse… instead of all the psychedelia from the rest of the line.
The art here… ya know, I remember really liking it the first time through… but, this time around I find it a bit too scratchy and unclear for my liking. Perhaps I’ve just been spoiled by the more cartoony/comic booky artists this book would have later on down the line.
Overall… still not a fan of these early issues of Mother Panic. I was hopeful that my current enjoyment of the book/character might allow me to have a better appreciation for the initial outing… but it only makes me realize just how large a leap in quality this book has made over the past year and change.