Mother Panic: Gotham AD #1 – Jody Houser, Writer; Ibrahim Moustafa, Paulina Ganucheau, Artists; Jordan Boyd, Marissa Louise, Colorists
Ray – 8/10
Corrina: Excellent Restart
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: Of the three Young Animal Books that relaunched in the aftermath of “Milk Wars,” Jody Houser’s violent, twisted Gotham City vigilante tale, Mother Panic, undergoes the most drastic relaunch into Mother Panic: Gotham A.D. #1.
Violet Page returns not to her own Gotham, but to a twisted, futuristic one where she apparently never existed – dying in the fire at Gather House. As such, none of her accomplishments exist either, and she’s desperately trying to piece together the parts of her old life. After a brief recap, we pick up on where she is now – staying with a cynical, older Ratcatcher who has less tolerance for her than the original one did, and trying to keep tabs on tabs on her violent yet oddly innocent kid sidekick Rosie, who hitched a ride with her from the old universe. This character is a lot of fun, with themes that remind me a lot of Hit-Girl but written more like a real kid. The scene where she brutally dismantles one of Violet’s old enemies, Pretty, is oddly funny despite how violent it is.
That’s one of the big issues of this new universe – all the villains who Violet put away are back, and more powerful and confident than ever. Something called The Collective now runs Gotham with an iron fist, and one of their most powerful agents is the sadistic Gala, the twisted artist who was Violet’s first major villains in the last run. There’s a lot of mystery to this first issue, including someone called “The Oracle” and the question of exactly where Violet’s mother is and who’s hiding her. However, what will get everyone talking is the presence of Joker, here a broken man who essentially gave up on evil after Batman died, and tried desperately to bring him back through acts of carnage. Now, he’s nothing like he used to be, and Violet’s visit with him is almost pathetic. Despite the massive status quo changes, this run feels very consistent with the last one and is recommended for any fans of it. I also enjoyed the oddball backup, dealing with how this new Gotham is marketed – and by who.
Corrina: I said several times in reviewing Mother Panic‘s original run that I would enjoy the book far more if it was set in its own world rather than starring a vigilante among vigilantes in Gotham.
And with this revamped Mother Panic Gotham A.D. #1, I received my wish. And I love what the creative team has done with it, especially step one: removing the elephant in the room, Batman, from the equation. I’m not sure what to feel about Violet’s encounter with the Joker but I can see the Joker giving up on it all if he outlives Batman. This is the best use of the Joker I’ve seen in some time and, yes, that includes all his recent appearances in the regular DCU. (As you may have noticed, not a big Joker fan.)
Giving Violet her own unique world makes this story all about her: her movements, her confusion, her new sidekick of the dubious morals. As Violet says, they’re not bad guys but they’re not exactly heroes either.
If you’ve been wanting to try out this series, read either the “Milk Wars” installment or Mother Panic, Gotham A.D. #1 and that should be all you need.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.