Mother Panic: Gotham A.D. #4 – Jody Houser, Writer; Ibrahim Moustafa, Shawn Crystal, Artists; Jordan Boyd, Jean-Francois Beaulieau, Colorists
Ray – 8/10
Corrina: Jason Todd Alternate Is…Similar
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: As Mother Panic‘s final arc (for now) enters its second half, this is easily the darkest issue of the series yet, introducing twisted new versions of both Gotham heroes and villains with Gotham A.D. Yet, even amid this bleak tone it manages to come up with inventive twists and some truly great moments. Last issue introduced the fact that Jason Todd is back among the living here, and this definitely isn’t the mostly benevolent Red Hood we know. He’s a dangerous lunatic, who seems to have hunted down his own brothers and has dark plans to strip Gotham down to its bloody core. Violet, meanwhile, is making the most of her fresh start and has reintroduced herself to the world with a cover story for her absence. This has naturally gotten the attention of her brother and Gala, who have the real Violet Paige from this world locked up in a tank. Violet is taking her life back piece by piece, but her enemies aren’t going to give it up easily.
Of course, she has much more pressing concerns, as Jason has formed a pact with Scarecrow and is looking to keep vigilantes from making a comeback in Gotham. I’m not sure if I’m really enjoying this take on Jason all that much – he comes off like a one-note psychopath, which is a lot less charming when he’s not a teenager, and his use of an innocent teenager as a pawn to target Violet feels like a red line that no version of Jason will ever cross. As always, though, it’s Fennec Fox who steals the show in a battle with Jason’s brainwashed minion. She’s obviously a messed-up kid who’s still dealing with a lot of the brainwashing, that Retconn did to her, but you see glimmers of the little kid who’s hiding under the murderous vigilante and that’s what makes her character work. The backup, a storybook-style segment focusing on Fennec Fox and Violet’s mother, has gorgeous art by Shawn Crystal and is a nice dessert after a brutal issue.
Corrina: I love the moment when a hero decides to be proactive, as Violet does in this issue. Sure, she’s in an alternate reality. Sure, it seems like everyone is out to get her and she has few allies. But she has her mother and her sidekick and that’s enough.
This issue, Violet basically draws a target on her chest and says “come get me,” and that’s exhilarating to read. That her alternate self is still alive in this world–perhaps having rejected the assassination program?–leads me to wonder if we’ll have two Violets trying to make this Gotham a better place. That would be more fun than having the Violets fight each other.
And, yes, Jason is in this too, and while he’s more murderous than usual, it’s not too big a stretch to see Jason go down this road, so I disagree with Ray on that one. But I agree–Fennec Fox steals the show.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.