TITLE: Mother Panic TPB Vol. 1
YEAR: June 2017
COMPANY: Young Animal
Writer: Jody Houser
Illustrator: Tommy Lee Edwards/Shawn Crystal
Colors by Jean-Francois Beaulibu
Letterer: John Workman
Editor: Molly Mahan
DC’s Young Animal Curated by Gerard Way, Jody Houser and Tommy Lee Edwards
One of the newer titles I have read is “Mother Panic” from DC Comics imprint “Young Animal”.
Started in 2016, the imprint was developed by American musician and comic book writer, Gerard Way (author of “The Umbrella Academy”) and stories set in the DC Universe but stories that are created for mature users with a more experimental approach.
“Mother Panic” was created by Jody Houser and artist Tommy Lee Edwards and the series is set in Gotham City and revolves around Violet Paige, a young woman who is a celebrity and a woman with a sharp tongue. One can say that she also has deep issues.
She lives with her mother who had an early onset of Alzheimer’s Disease and her mother lives in what looks like a scene in “Alice in Wonderland”.
By day, Violet hits the social scene and by night, she is the white clad hero known as Mother Panic. And as she tackles the scum that exists in the city, she has caught the attention of Batman and Batwoman.
But Mother Panic is not a superhero, she is a woman that is out for revenge.
She carries scars after killing her father after a misunderstanding and she was put into the Gather House by her older brother Victor, who despises her for what she has done to their father.
But the Gather House was where children were experimented on and what horrors and what abilities that Violet has gained is not known. And now, she uses her skills to get revenge on those responsible for experimenting on children but also to use her abilities and her wealth/technology to go after corrupt slime and twisted individuals that were also experimented on in the Gather House.
After reading “Mother Panic TPB Vol. 1: A Work in Progress” (which covers issues 1-6), there are things that I enjoyed but things that I was not thrilled about.
First, let’s talk about the good. I love the fact that Young Animal is a mature and dark comic book series that showcases a character that uses profanity and grit that you usually don’t see any a “Batman” or “Robin” comic book. It’s violent, bloody and in someways, a bit reminiscent to Marvel Comics “Weapon X” program, but in this case, children who were taken in for a home for troubled children but instead, were tortured, mutilated, experimented on and who knows what hellish experience they had lived for years behind those walls.
One scene shows Violet having sex with a guy and he sees cuts and scars throughout her entire body. But it’s also interesting to see how Violet reacts to certain situations, for one, after having sex with a guy, she cuts her finger intentionally with a razor blade and draws happy faces in blood all over the man’s room, in hopes that by doing so, he’ll never call her again.
Also, it was an interesting confrontation between Mother Panic and Batwoman and to see her use the F-Bomb while arguing with her after a short fight. I found Violet’s action and profane mouth to be quite interesting and I felt Jody Houser’s writing was entertaining.
The artwork by Tommy Lee Edwards was also awesome as I enjoyed the illustrations and inking, but to my surprise, it only lasted for two issues. Shawn Crystal takes over with issue #4 and the artwork is much different as it almost resembles a manga-style of character design. But I admit that while I was getting so used to Tommy Lee Edwards, I felt the artwork change was abrupt (and it changes again with issue 7 as John Paul Leon takes over. So, wish there was a bit of consistency with artwork.
But for the most part, I really enjoyed the series and the gritty anti-hero storyline with a lot of potential.
The TPB also includes an Afterword by Gerard Way, variant covers, character design and promotional art and also the six “Gotham Radio” short stories are included as well.
If you are interested in checking out an exciting, dark, violent and mature series set in Gotham City in the DC Universe, definitely give “Mother Panic” a try!