[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Writers: Jody Houser and Jim Krueger
Artists: Shawn Crystal and Phil Hester
Here is what we know. Violet Paige is a total badass because she was sent to a place called Gather House. It makes Ma Gunn’s look like preschool. We know that there is a former resident of Gather House who is blowing up buildings. We know he is mad at Violet for not blowing up buildings with him. We know that Violet’s mother is crazy and that last month, she started talking to rats. Here is what happened this month. It turns out that the rats were not actually talking to her, but that Otis Flannegan, AKA the Ratcatcher, was living in the basement of Violet’s mansion and HE was doing the talking. To get into it more would be giving away too much. Violet is a mess. She might actually have a woman in her life that she kind of likes, but the angry, arm breaking outbursts cause a lot of static in her personal life. As one gossip reporter says, “Is it that she has too much coke, or not enough?” That is never a question one wants asked about oneself.
In the “Gotham Radio” story, Cory Edgars goes on a rant. It is really fitting considering what this book is about. He might be saying things that people need to actually hear.
Backstory is always good and Jody Houser gives us plenty. We already knew Gather House was a nightmare, wrapped in a crap sandwich, but man, it was really, really worse than that. The thing that Houser does so well is tap into the crazy part of the Bat-verse that we all just accept and move on from. By using this new voice and showing us a new perspective on why people who live in Batman’s world are messed up, she reminds us that Gotham is the worst city in the world. Horrific things happen to people who live there. Gather House is a thing. Rich people dress up like monsters for fun. The “heroes” are people who dress like monsters and beat up people who are monsters…and a chain smoking police commissioner.
Here is something no one ever says, “Hey kids, forget Florida, let’s go to Gotham City.” Seriously, can I have a ticket to Somalia instead? The thing is, Violet, just like Bruce, Kate, Jason, and the rest has seen some horrific events in her life. She wants to come back, wear white and right the wrongs. She just swears and kills people because, honestly, that is what someone in her position would do.
Shawn Crystal has to draw face eating rats. Who is Shawn to tell Jody no. I am not going to tell Jody no and I can not draw at all. Let me state this again. FACE. EATING.RATS. Damn. I wish I had a pic to show you. Wait. No I don’t go buy the book. FACE EATING RATS. Here. To keep you happy, I check out this mind trip instead. It is not as good as the FACE EATING RATS, but it is pretty good.
This is really the first time that the “Gotham Radio” part of the book ties right into what came before it. It might be a bit on the nose, but honestly, I loved it. See my rant above.
This is not really a story about Violet Paige. She is not the narrator. Crazy bomber-guy is the bad guy. Meh. While he does paint an excellent part of the back story, we already have to contend with the Gotham Radio story line, so we did not need him to be the lead. Joker can be the lead, Harley can be the lead, Ratcatcher, lives in the basement and talks to crazy ladies. This guy belongs with Otis. Interesting, but not worthy.
As we delve deeper into Violet’s crazy past, we get more and more invested. I have my fingers crossed still that Jason Todd will show up because, honestly, Mother Panic and the Red Hood are a match made in Gotham.