[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Writer: Jody Houser
Artist: Tommy Lee Edwards
Violet Paige has anger issues. She likes to hurt herself. She is willing to hurt others. She is, a total mess. In this issue of Mother Panic, we learn a bit more about Violet’s past, we see her mother having a tea party in a forest that is inside her home, and we see her have a change of heart. Well, maybe. It is hard to explain because Violet does not understand it herself.
The Young Animal line is a combination of Vertigo and traditional comics. That pays off in this issue of Mother Panic. How many times have you read a comic and thought, he would totally drop an F-bomb right there? I know I have because I know that if I were in that situation, I would say it. Violet Paige says it and so does everyone else. Adults read comics too and while we love our regular titles, we want something that is a bit more mature, too. We want something that is just for us. Jody Houser delivers that for us with this book and for that, we should say thank you.
Artist Tommy Lee Edwards is amazing. This book is dirty, but our hero wears white. Kate Kane even shows up in one scene to ask, “Who the hell wears white?” A totally crazy person wears white. OK. Yes, all the bat people are crazy to some extent, but Violet is over the top vengeance crazy and her white costume only reminds of that when, in the hands of Edwards, we see blood stains on a white costume. It is really breathtaking in a scary way, not in a “oh my isn’t that pretty way.”
Houser and Edwards give us a look at Gotham in a way that we all knew was there but did not want to consider. In this issue, Violet goes to a Victims of Gotham fundraiser and gala. At the party, the guests are dressed up like villains and victims. It is sick and disturbing and it feels pretty realistic. One must be off one’s rocker to live in Gotham. The people at this party are so out of touch with reality. People are killed every day by crazy super villains. It is good to raise money for them, but it is sick to turn it into a costume party. It is unsettling, but it is real and that makes it good.
Because Violet is unsettled and unsure, the book is as well. It time hops and it moves from scene to scene without a lot of clarity. Because the focus is on Violet and her trip through whatever it is she is working through, it makes sense, but I can see where it could be a distraction for a lot of readers.
I am not sure how long this book is going to go. Violet has a lot to do and I do not see how she comes out of this in one piece. The story is compelling, the action is intense and the artwork is excellent. I have a good feeling about this.