REVIEW: Mother Panic #5

This is my first taste of the Young Animals line published by DC. The comic line headed up by former “My Chemical Romance” front man Gerard Way. I’ve read some of Way’s work in the past. It can be… eclectic. I wasn’t sure what to expect going in.

Then I read the issue.

I’m still unsure of what I was supposed to gather from this issue. So I read it again.

Same results.

The problem with jumping into the middle of an ongoing series is playing catch up. A new reader relies on the publisher or the writer to throw them an occasional lifeline when getting deep into plot. Jody Houser, while being a talented writer, seems completely uninterested in giving the reader even the smallest of hint as to what the hell is going on. The feeling of reading this title seems to be that if you can’t be bothered to go back and read from the beginning; then don’t expect us to stop and explain it to you. (Personally I hate that approach)

I’m at a distinct disadvantage in this review, because Houser didn’t even clue me in on the names of some major characters in this issue. Is Mother Panic the name of the heroine in this series? Is that a reference to the overall plot? Who is the character on the rooftops that our main character interacts with multiple times? Do you see how maddening this can be for a new reader?

From what I can piece together from this issue is that our main character, Violet is a vigilante by night, working against an evil church/corporation that use children in hideous experiments… But Violet is also a carefree party girl who is trying to keep up the illusion of a secret identity. In the middle of all of this Violet is trying to connect and care for her mentally unstable mother.

I can see glimmers of hope for this title. Moments where the confusion melts away and you can get a clear glimpse of the potential this series COULD have, if it could be bothered to give a shit about its readers. Unfortunately the series is mired down in its own self-importance to resonate with traditional comic fans.

The one major highlight of this title is the art. Shawn Crystal brings a funky style of design to each and every character and page. The artwork is the saving grace of this issue. I wanted to see more of what Crystal had in store than anything the potential story line offered. I TURNED THE PAGE TO SEE THE ART and forgot about the story; a huge tip of the hat to the art team.

This one is destined for the quarter bins if it continues this trajectory, as this is a huge waste of artistic talent. I’m giving my final score based mainly on my love of the artwork.

Final Score: 2 Stars out of 5.

Mother Panic #5
Story: Jody Houser
Art: Shawn Crystal
Colors: Jean-Francios Beaulieu
Letters: John Workman and Shawn Crystal
Publisher: DC COMICS

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