With the title of “Mother Panic” I was instantly intrigued because it sounds like a band I would totally put on my dancing shoes for. I had high hopes for this book and I was not disappointed.
The story is about a woman named Violet who I identify with waaayyy too much. You know when you’re in a public place and you are just not in the mood for the social mingling expected of you? Violet feels this hardcore, and mutters in her head the whole time, which really gave her character a good push with helping the audience understand who she is. She’s moody, but why? She’s a celebrity, but “one of us”.
When it comes down to it, Violet is one of the good ones, but she is definitely the embodiment of an anti-heroine. Snarky but with a good heart, she doesn’t look half bad decked out in her heroine harb either. It’s badass but not overly sexy, and really reminds me of Samus before the grand reveal that- tada! – that’s actually a women kicking ass. Peeks into her past make the reader want to know more about her life, and why she is at this point in her life where she is torn in all different directions.
One of the main things I look for in a comic book with a woman hero is how she is drawn when she’s actually fighting, and I was not displeased with what I saw. Tommy Lee Edwards does a fantastic job of presenting what is simply a hero, and gender goes by the wayside in a lot of panels. There are no unnecessary overly exaggerated fighting poses that show all her peaks and valleys, and sex is kept completely out of it, as it should be. If she’s fighting for her life, why would we need to see that her squat game is strong? I was extremely pleased how Violet was presented, and it truly is a breath of fresh air to see a simple strong hero, boobs aside.
Jody Houser has done a supremely excellent job on writing a tale of a heroine who is also human, and what lies on the other side of a story that I’m extremely interested to see clash. It is clear enough to give you a strong sense of Violet’s character, and just vague enough to keep us wondering the motives behind the violence camouflaged as art that is taking place in the underbelly of Gotham. There is an urgency and panic about this world, but it is blanketed by a quiet that is threatening to break at any moment.
The abstract mini panels that Tommy presents during certain scenes are in a world of awe all their own, but only aid the story and put us in a kind of limbo that other comics simply do not. It’s an entirely different approach, but it is done so well and just further pushes the book along into a place that I honestly was not expecting. Combine that will his sketchy yet clear color palette and style direction, and Mother Panic is a new piece of art on every page.
And the variants? All of them are gorgeous, and I need them all. Now. There is not one bad or lackluster cover in the bunch, and each one really does a dazzling job in giving us another angle of the book.
I do firmly believe that Mother Panic will please a wide variety of readers, and this series is setting up to be such a grand and unique work of art all its own.
Artwork: 5 Stars
Story: 5 Stars
(W) Jody Houser (A/CA) Tommy Lee Edwards