It’s been almost two months in the making, but Mother Panic #3 is finally here. We’ve been anxiously awaiting this issue, since it features Batwoman (a Fandomentals Favorite) who also happens to be Kate Kane, Violet’s ex. Hoo boy, this gon’ be good.
The Bat is Watching
We open in the Batcave. Bruce and Kate are tailing Mother Panic to try and figure out what she’s up to. With the amount of effort put into her costume and her tech, Batman figures this isn’t a fly-by-night vigilante. Cut to a flashback of Violet’s father’s funeral. She has a brother, Victor, a prominent and successful lawyer. He’s kept the young Violet out of any legal trouble after her father’s accidental death. But why haven’t we heard about him until now?
Back in the present, Mother Panic is hopping rooftops (As one does in Gotham) when Batwoman appears and suggests they have a little chat. Keener to chat with fists rather than words, Mother Panic goes on the offensive. This is the moment we’ve been waiting for.
With all the crazy convoluted events that come out year after year, pitting hero against hero, this simple fight between two street-level heroes contains more gravitas, and is executed better than any scuffle between two heroes from recent memory. This isn’t even an epic slugfest, it’s more like they are just toying with each other, feeling out each other’s weaknesses. Maybe we’re biased because Batwoman is one of our favorites, but we challenge anyone to name a better hero fight. When these two take a real run at each other, it promises to be epic.
What Even is Art?
After Mother Panic disentagles herself from Batwoman, she goes to the address that she beat out of Hemsley in issue 2. Here we find Gala, who was commissioned to create Hemsley’s “art”. The kids she’s looking for are here as a part of the exhibit. Gala seems non-plussed by the whole thing. She simply did what she was paid to do, and is considering getting out of the commissions game entirely. The fact that she treats such an appalling piece of “art” so casually ads to her menace and mystery, and we have a feeling this isn’t the last we will see of her.
Before Mother Panic can apply fist to face, Gala sets fire to the room giving MP the classic “catch the villain or save the innocents” hero conundrum. MP proves that she’s not an inhuman revenge monster by getting the kids to safety, and is congratulated by Batwoman, who was evidently watching the whole time. She’ll have her eye on the new hero, and we couldn’t be more excited at the idea of future team-ups (or smackdowns).
Odds and Ends
MP goes back to Hemsley’s garage to deal with him, but someone already has. Violet feels nothing at seeing him dead, but she’s opened up a can of worms and doesn’t plan on stopping with Hemsley. She’s going to get to the bottom of this. Then we flash back to Violet and her brother Victor after the funeral. He is taking her to Gather House boarding school. He blames her for his father’s death, and wishes her an unpleasant time with the nuns there.
Back in the present, Violet meets with her doctor. It seems her surgical enhancements are progressing well. Also, that guy she interrogated is still hanging around with her mom, and her mom is still mad as a hatter.
This issue dropped a few more hints about Violet’s backstory. So far, all three issues have each dropped a few tantalizing hints and it is beginning to become a clear picture. Young Violet was a girl who, after a tragic accident, was abandoned by her family and left in the care of an inhumane group of nuns under the direction of Mother Patrick. Could this be the origin of her heroic persona? Mother Panic–er–Patrick wears all white which is reminiscent of Violet’s crimebusting outfit. And the names are just too similar to ignore.
There are also some hints dropped that Violet escaped the school when there was a fire. The fire at Gala’s art exhibit evokes images of children in uniform being burned alive as well as a young girl escaping an immolated building which looks like the school. There is still the question of the eleventy-hundred scars all over Violet, which might have come from the school, but that question remains unanswered. We still don’t know how or where she was enhanced, or how she learned to fight, or where she got her tech. For all that we do know, there is still so much that we don’t, and we are firmly hooked.
Then there’s Batwoman. Oh, sweet Batwoman. Kate Kane’s appearance in issue two was a tease for this issue’s faceoff, and it was well worth the wait. Add to it the fact that Kate is an ex lover of Violet’s (hinted at in issue one) and we feel like these two will be butting heads often. We are hoping for many more guest appearances from Kate in the future, and now that Kate has her own solo series, maybe some crossover adventures down the road.
The art continues to be amazing this issue. The fight scene is wonderful, with the usual smattering of seemingly random images. The use of color in the book matches the mood of each scene perfectly. It’s a much darker and grittier style of art that works with the darker grittier feel of the book. As of issue four, Tommy Lee Edwards is off the book aside from cover art, and It will be interesting to see the new interior art team’s take on the character. We will miss Edwards’s art, but his skills are in such high demand that this book wouldn’t stay on schedule with him. He gave Mother Panic a great start, and helped establish one of our favorite new characters in comics.
We’ll be back next month to talk about the next issue and see how the new art team does, and to get some more answers about Violet, about Gather House, and about Gotham’s hedonistic underbelly. See you then.
Mother Panic #3
Writer: Jody Houser
Illustrator: Tommy Lee Edwards
Letterer: John Workman
All Images Courtesy of DC Comics