[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Written by: Jody Houser
Drawn by: Ibrahim Moustafa
Colored by: Jordan Boyd
Satisfied with herself for rescuing her mother, Violet has decided to go public with her “re-appearance” after 20 years. She leads a high profile life – clubbing, late night talk shows – as she lays claim to her share of the Paige Publishing fortune, but it doesn’t go unnoticed that she appears too young for someone who’s supposed to be 40. Luckily, she passes the DNA test to prove her identity.
However, Gala and her brother Victor are also aware of Violet’s activities and they KNOW that it can’t possibly be Violet- they’ve got her in a coma in a sensory deprivation chamber in Arkham Asylum. Meanwhile, the last remaining Robin, who appears to be Jason Todd is revealed to be running a gang counter to Gala and the Collective. We soon learn that he has his own ideas about Gotham’s salvation and see’s himself as the Promised One, the Bat Reborn. However, his followers have latched onto Violet’s Mother Panic identity, known to them as the White Witch. Jason has recruited Joker, Jr. who was the individual who took down the Joker last issue. Jason also has the Scarecrow on his payroll and is planning a large attack using both Scarecrow and Crane to create some mayhem of his own.
Fennic Fox interrupts Violet from a liason at a night club to assist in stopping the mayhem which Violet’s mother has prophesied. With a little teamwork they stop the Scarecrow’s fear toxin from causing too much trauma and Fennic Fox cuts Joker, Jr.’s Achilles tendons to disable him. Violet has a realization that she’s sort of being pushed into being role model for Rosie (Fennic Fox), and it’s not what she wants. Violet still has too many issues of her own to sort through, let alone assisting Rosie. However, she sees her power in the moment and is determined not to screw it up and seems committed to stopping the Collective.
Perhaps, the most interesting sequence in this issue is Rosie’s (Fennic Fox) reaction to the Scarecrow’s fear gas. The Scarecrow is on hand, and gleefully awaiting Rosie’s terror and fearful revelations. However, she turns out to be stronger than the fear toxin, clearly having already experienced the most fearful thing a child could experience, the death of one’s parents.
Violet’s begrudging heroism and role modeling for Rosie are interesting concepts and challenges to her character. The transition to this alternate Earth has not derailed Violet’s search for herself.
Sometimes this book is on the fringes of the Batverse and sometimes it is right smack dab in the middle of it. The first three issue showed how Violet is connected to Batman’s world and Gotham. This issue sort of makes it seem like Violet is playing in Batman’s world. This book seems to work best when it is on the edges of the Batverse and not immersed in it. Perhaps, there will be a resolution at the end of this series that brings both together in a satisfying manner, but right now, some of Violet’s uniqueness is being sacrificed for the connection to Batman.
How did Violet come by her unique abilities? What really happened to her father? These are just some of the questions that need to be answered. Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be enough time to fill in all the gaps before Mother Panic goes on hiatus again.
The mysteries of this future Gotham are intriguing and entertaining, but they seem to be at the expense of the title character. While this book is interesting and well executed, one can’t help but wonder what’s missing. Violet is a different and compelling character, but she suffers at the expense of Batman’s shadow too often. There’s nothing really wrong with this issue, it’s just a shame that there isn’t less Batverse and more Mother Panic.