[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Written by: Jody Houser
Interiors by: Ibrahim Moustafa
Back Up Story Drawn by: Paulina Ganucheau
Colors by: Jordan Boyd and Marissa Louise
All of the Young Animal titles have experienced a shift in status quo following the events of “Milk Wars.” So far, the changes seem to be natural pushes forward for the characters. However, for Violet Paige in the new Mother Panic: Gotham A.D. #1, she’s still stuck in a world she doesn’t know and she must begin navigating the new landscape and determine just what’s going on in this new world.
Violet realizes she’s not in the Gotham City she knows and begins doing a little investigating. In this reality, she learns that she died in the fire that destroyed Gather House. As she recaps her own recent history and her involvement in saving the universe during the events of “Milk Wars,” it’s also revealed that there’s no Batman here, and it appears she’s also gone forward in time.
She finds Ratcatcher at home, and learns Rosie, the orphan she’s taken under he wing, has come along to this new world with her. However, her own mother is not there. She makes this her priority. Meanwhile, Rosie has been out procuring food, and runs into someone from the Collective, the art/crime group from just before “Milk Wars.” Additionally, the Collective has taken over the city and seem to be running nearly every aspect of Gotham including its inside-out make over. This puts Violet on alert that she’ll have to deal with them as well as. Otis gives Violet a lead on someone who might be able to help her find her mother.
On a pier, on the waterfront, Violet comes upon a hooded figure in a familiar purple suit with a bizarre songs on his lips. Violet has been sent to see a very different Joker. He’s a bit despondent which he attributes to the lack of bats in the city. He recounts his attempt to draw the Batman out, but to no avail before he gives Violet the information on her mom she’s looking for – Arkham Asylum. She was the Joker’s neighbor inside.
Violet is very familiar in this new milieu. The mystery of the Batman’s disappearance and the rise of the Collective are both interesting plot points that should provide significant opportunity to explore this new Gotham and Violet’s place in it. It may be a red herring, but the Joker assisting Violet on her mission makes for an interesting pairing. Allowing the reader and Violet to explore this new Gotham together is an effective way of introducing this new status quo for Mother Panic.
There is a back up story that features Gala and the Collective. It’s short, but entertaining, and compliments the lead story by fleshing out the Collective’s role in Gotham.
While nearly everyone likes Batman and Gotham City, shunting Violet off to a new reality seemed like a perfect opportunity to prevent Batman’s shadow from falling over her. She definitely has her own methods and motivations, but with Batman’s presence there’s always the danger that he will be used to “save” the book if isn’t doing well. While it appears a possibility that Violet might actually save the Batman in this first arc, making Gotham about Violet post “Milk Wars” is perhaps a missed opportunity.
If you’ve never read Mother Panic, then this new #1 is a great place to start. This issue provides a bit of recapping so the reader is not totally in the dark, but since this new world is mostly a mystery to Violet, it’s a world the reader can discover with her. This dark and grim concept offers a couple of interesting mysteries that should be satisfying for Violet to solve, not the least of which is “What happened to Batman?”