Sunday, May 7, 2017

Comic Book Review: Mother Panic #6 "Broken Things , Pt.3"

By: Jerry Montgomery
April 29, 2017

Mother Panic #6
“Broken Things, Pt. 3”

Written by: Jody Houser
Art by: Shawn Crystal

If you're unfamiliar with Mother Panic,  it's  one of several titles printed under DC's
Variant cover for Mother Panic #6
Young Animal line which has been developed and curated by Gerald of the alt-rock band My Chemical Romance. These line of comics are inspired by those experimental comics of the 80's and 90's, exploring fine art, bold ideas, mature themes and off-beat characters.  These are comics made for “dangerous humans”. Dangerous in the way of making you think and see differently.  The Young Animal imprint  takes place in the regular DC universe but you'll find extreme violence, language  and situations.

Mother Panic is about Violet Page, a young, Gotham socialite who moonlights as a masked crimefighter. Sound familiar? She's brash, quick tempered and recently out of a stint at rehab.  Her father was killed under mysterious circumstances when she was a little girl  right before her eyes and her mother developed Alzheimer's at an early age, leaving poor Violet to be brought up at Gather House. Sent by her brother, who blamed her for their father's death. Suffice to say, Gather House was not much of a school, serving only to mess up it's students. It's not a place that you'd want to send your child, that's for sure. It is here that Violet develops a healthy need for revenge and her name, Mother Panic. Mother Panic, the nickname the kids gave to the head of Gather House, Mother Patrick. All she wants is vengeance on the people who wronged her as a child and her mother. Issues 1-3, the “A Work in Progress” story arc focused on the burgeoning career of Violet , not so much as a costumed hero, but that of a costumed vigilante.

Issue #4 was the beginning of the current story arc, “Broken Things” and the introduction of new character, the foppish, Pretty, best described as a having a face
so beautiful, he is hard to look at. Picture Oscar Wilde out there as ruthless villain. It turns out that he too is a screwed up product of Gather House and like Violet,  he's on a mission of vengeance. Not really trusting him, Violet agrees to join forces since they appear to be hunting the same people but of course,  nothing lasts forever and Pretty begins to believe that Violet is more foe than friend as their methods and means begin to differ from each other. In issue #5, the relationship further deteriorates as Pretty wrecklessly targets Layton and Violet does not share in his enthusiasm.

Issue #6 continues with Pretty's descent into madness and paranoia towards Violet. Through a series of flashbacks, the Gather House is further exposed in what it's students’ were really subjected to. Can anybody say, Point of No Return?...or La Femme Nikita? Pretty puts his plan into motion against Violet and anybody else she may care about as his fury and sense of betrayal increases to critical mass. In the meantime,  Violet becomes more paparazzi fodder and the issue of a TMZ style tabloid show but even worse, damages a budding friendship over her perceived enjoyment of violence. Given Jordan's preferences to where to party at, you can certainly pose the question, who, is scarier? The final act is set for the basement, but what is going on down there?  There's plenty of questions begging to be answered such as what's up with all that medical equipment? Pretty is able to make his way there but what surprises await him and why are there tons of rats in the cellar? Granted it is a cellar but that many? Maybe the Ratcatcher has something to do with it. Regardless of it all, it ends with a gruesome bang. Anybody seen the movie, Willard?...Anybody? The backup story, Gotham Radio, Scene Six ccontinues tool as the death of pro-Batman radio host is further speculated on, on the air.

The Verdict: I have been told that the previous issues of Mother Panic,  bordered on schizophrenia with jumbled storylines and subplots that further confused the story but that is not the case with issue #6. It stays on track throughout the book and writer Jody Houser seems to wrap up this story arc with a horrific conclusion. My one big complaint about the issue is that of artist, Shawn Crystal. For the serious subject matter,  his cartoony style seems way too out there and would be better suited for a comical subject or at least, a less serious book. I think Mother Panic is still trying to figure out who it is but seems a promising enough idea to stick around for a bit. You may have only one question left about this title. Can a book about Gotham City still be about Gotham City without being about Gotham City? Roast your little noggin about that.

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