Panic! At the Gotham – “Mother Panic” #1 Review
Written by: Jody Houser
Art by: Tommy Lee Edwards
Two weeks ago when I heard that this comic was coming out soon, I got really excited for it. With the series set in Gotham City and Mother Panic being a completely original character, I was hooked just by those two points. Batman is my all-time favorite hero, and when there’s a new character coming to town, I get pumped. Now that Mother Panic #1 has hit the shelves, it’s time to delve into it, cowl first. This is “A Work In Progress” Part 1.
I’ll just say it right now the story and characters here are amazing. It’s a very mature comic and rightfully so. We have a damaged character named Violet, a native to Gotham City and possibly a drug/alcohol addict. That, coupled with a dark past with her parents and a celebrity status, tops off her character. She feels like she would come from Gotham and, of course, roam through alleyways as a costumed vigilante. What I love is that she’s someone who doesn’t play by Batman’s rules, nor does she work with him or like him very much. I think Raptor from Nightwing would approve of her.
The art here is superb as well. It’s a dark, sketchy, noir art style that feels perfect for a gritty Gotham story. I also dig Mother Panic’s costume design as it doesn’t feel like any type of Bat costume from the past. When she fights back alley goons, it’s a classic BIFF and POW type of fighting that works so well in this style. As Violet punches bad guys, we get image flashes of stylized objects that may reference something within herself or her dark past. Batman also makes a very brief appearance after Panic beats those goons and I hope that they cross paths again in the future. We don’t know yet what her motives are, what her costume is based from or if she’s had any inspiration from Batman. That makes me excited to learn about Violet as the story progresses.
There is also a backup story about a Gotham late night radio show at the end of the issue that I loved as well: “Gotham Radio: Scene One: 1621.” The art here is a little cleaner in the penciling but it totally works as it still captures that dark feel of witching-hour in Gotham. As we see the people of Gotham listen to the broadcast throughout the story, we get a little cameo of Alfred cleaning the case for the Robin costume. It’s little things like that that I love. The Bat-cameos don’t feel force through this whole issue and it makes sense why we’re seeing them. As the issue comes to a close, I smell a detective-type story coming out of this one. Both stories do leave off on excellent cliffhangers and can’t wait for the next issue.
Mother Panic exceeded my high expectations for a new series and left me wanting more. Houser and Edwards did such a great job with the story and art, respectively, that it’s definitely worth checking out, even if you’re not a Batman/Gotham fan. Violet seems like an interesting character that I can’t wait to learn more about. It’s not like any other Bat-verse comic we’ve had and it’s such a breath of fresh air when we get something new that’s so good.