Yeah… Mother Panic… Uh… Well… You know, Iron Fist debuted on Netflix! Let’s just talk about that instead!
Honestly, I feel as though I could copy and paste most of what wrote in my previous review for this issue. I don’t know what happened to Mother Panic, but it lost its way, and it did it way too early in it’s run.
There are aspects of this book that resemble what we were originally introduced to, but for the most part, this feels like a completely different series. I praised early issues of Mother Panic because it felt like it took place in the Batman mythos, but unlike the other “Bat books,” this title contained a darker, less heroic tone, while focusing on the very real evils found within the high ranks of the social elite… Now, this book just feels like a cheesy, super hero knock-off that is trying to capitalize by using Batman cameos, while also introducing D-list Bat villains. Harsh? Maybe, but it’s also the truth.
The biggest disappointment for me, narratively, is the drastic change in tone. The edge that once was is nowhere to be found. In fact, it feels as though Houser has thrown in more f-bombs to try and remind readers that this is an “adult comic.” It’s cheap. In fact, it reminds me of an immature sixth grader is uses the word “fuck” as often as possible to try and come across as “cool” or “more adult.” In case you’re wondering, it doesn’t work… You know what did work? Pedophilia, human trafficking, murder for art… Those were all incredibly creepy stories to dive into, and pushed the limits.
The art also doesn’t help in the battle concerning tone either. I know I had reservations about the finer details of Edwards’ art, but God I miss him. At least his work had some grit to it. Crystals work looks like it’s meant for a Saturday morning cartoon. It simply doesn’t work. Sure, if this book were meant to be a comedy, you could pull it off with dark humor. But that’s not the case. It’s a miss-match of the worst kind. You know when you have two friends that start dating, and you know they’re not going to work because their personalities, morals, and outlook on life are so completely different… That’s the reality of Mother Panic at the moment.
As for the plot itself, in the previous issue, Violet met Pretty – another screwed up product of the Gather House. Like Violet, Pretty is on a mission of vengeance… And that’s about all we know about him, or his motivations. The two appear to have joined forces to a degree – granted, the details of doing so are rather sparse and more coincidental, but alas the reality – and are now seeking similar targets. The entire relationship is odd, and it doesn’t flow well concerning believable character development or plot progression. It’s all rather convenient… and weird. Convenient and weird! But not the good kind of off-beat, eccentric “weird.” No, this is more like the, “I’m pulling crap from left field and right field without much backstory so that it has shock value, or is hard connect with so people can call it ‘different’ as a form of praise” type of weird. Honestly, it’s just bad.
The story juggles the relationship between Violet and Pretty before Violet finally settles on an opinion of him (which will probably change in the next chapter), before shifting its focus to Violet’s mother. Now, here’s a bag of crazy for you. As odd as Violet’s mother might be though, she’s uniquely in tune as well. Her special nature creates a type of awareness that is different from most people, and has led her to find another new friend (or perhaps friends is more appropriate) in the house. I feel as though Houser wanted this reveal to be exciting considering it’s a minor Batman villain, but it really isn’t…
I’ve honestly found myself struggling to review Mother Panic these past two issues. When crazy is as illogical as this narrative is, there’s really not much you can say to accurately speak to it. In the end, it feels like the creative team is trying too hard. If that weren’t bad enough on it’s own, nobody appears to be on the same page concerning what this book should even be. I’d recommend going back to square one, but we’re only five issues in… We’re still at square one. *Sigh* I just don’t know anymore.
The main story isn’t the only aspect of Mother Panic that appears to have been neutered. The back-up story, ”Gotham Radio,” has also experienced a drastic change in tone and taken some weird liberties with its plot as well. Although “Gotham Radio” hasn’t fallen from grace as drastically as the main story, it’s still disappointing the see a decrease in quality none the less.
Breakdowns for this issue can be found in the spoiler tag.
Pick a lane. Alright, we spent three issues setting up the fact that Violet isn’t an emotional person, she keeps people at a distance, she doesn’t show or feel much sympathy, etc. Then she meets Pretty, finds out he is a product of the Gather House, and feels the need to hug him and essentially befriend him. Now, in this issue, she is put off because he responds to her as if there’s a connection between the two characters – a connection that she established. Following that, she meets to team up with Pretty, but the plans fall through. After that, she learns the limits Pretty is willing to go – which should be no surprise considering what he’s already done – and decides to disown him… This is poor, inconsistent writing.
Killing Children. This is the one moment that pseudo took me back to Mother Panic’s original tone. Killing someone’s child as an act of revenge is dark. I wish I could have appreciated this moment more, but nothing really develops from it. There isn’t enough of a backstory with Pretty to warrant any feelings from this, nor is there much of a fallout between Violet and Pretty. It’s there for shock value, not story.
Rats. Why is Rat Catcher in this book? Why? You want your book to take a step down in quality? Add Rat Catcher to the narrative. Better yet, try to make a reveal concerning him a “moment.”
- If you like weird, simply for the sake of being weird, then I guess Mother Panic is for you.
- You’re a Rat Catcher fan.
- There’s a character named Pretty… That is all.
Overall: Mother Panic had promise. Had being the key word. Now, the book is just a mess. The narrative is inconsistent, unfocused, and quite frankly, not worth your money. I’ll be surprised if the title publishes more than twelve issues. I might actually look into trade waiting my reviews going forward.