Review: ‘Mother Panic’ #11 Offers Quiet (And Tenderness) Before The Storm

"I'm tired of living with monsters."

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Violet finally confronts Jane, another survivor of the horrors of ‘Gather House’. The two women share an intense and revealing conversation where both women admit that they are still reeling from the torture, both physical and emotional, that they suffered. We also finally see the night where ‘Gather House’ was burned to the ground. It all adds up to more fuel for Violet, who vows even more strongly now to destroy anyone associated with the house. But can Jane be trusted? Meanwhile, villain and art serial killer Gala comes ever closer to finding out who Mother Panic is, but just who is helping her out? And what’s up with Otis, The RatCatcher? 

Mother Panic #11Mother Panic #11
“Under The Skin Part 2”
Written by:
Jody Houser
Art by
: Shawn Crystal
Colors by
: Jean-Francois Beaulieu
Letters by: John Workman & Shawn Crystal
Cover by: Tommy Lee Edwards
Mondo Variant Cover by: Jay Shaw
Mother Panic created by: Gerard Way, Jody Houser and Tommy Lee Edwards

Writing

Jody Houser is doing something interesting with this book, and this issue proves it. This book at its core is about living through and surviving abuse and trauma. I mean, yeah, it’s a Gotham set vigilante book, and in a way, ALL Gotham vigilantes are trauma survivors. But Houser really gets into the emotion and psychology of it, specifically in this chapter. The rooftop conversation in this issue between Violet and Jane is a great example of dialogue that serves up so much vital character information without resorting to much exposition. Violet’s measured responses conflict with the thoughts we are privy to as readers, and we finally see she may be on a cold mission of revenge, but she is also damaged and in much need of connection with someone.

Mother Panic #11
“Mother Panic #11

Gala continues to be a creepy and effective villain.  Her scenes are disturbing and leave you wanting to learn more about what makes her do what she does. Having the art ‘gimmick’ puts her in line with the Gotham Rogues, but her connection to high society adds a good twist.

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And I can’t end this review without mentioning Otis, The Ratcatcher. This obscure character is quickly becoming one of my favorites, as Houser portrays his relationship with his rats as pretty tender. Otis also just seems to be a nice, misunderstood weirdo, which is perfect for this book (and Young Animal).

However, everything ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, and I can only gather (ha!) that the shit is about to hit the fan in this book, and Violet’s quest for revenge is going to bring all these things together.

Mother Panic #11
Mother Panic #11

Art

The pencils, inks, and colors on this book come together extremely well. This issue is drawn by Shawn Crystal, who has alternated arcs with series co-creator (and cover artist), Tommy Lee Edwards. Crystal draws a distinctly in more stylized linework that really lends’s itself well to the designs of Violet’s Mother Panic suit (I LOVE the huge gauntlets/gloves). The use of thick outlines also adds weight to the pages.  I also love the way he draws faces and hair. A lot of expression and mood is conveyed in the character heads and expressions.

Jean-Francois Beaulieu’s colors add an incredible amount of mood, especially when juxtaposed with Violet’s crisp, stark white costume design. There are a lot of blue hues and dark shadows. All this creates a great atmosphere.

Mother Panic #11
Mother Panic #11

Conclusion

We are almost at the one-year mark for this title, and it’s still going strong. Of all the Young Animal books, Mother Panic is the most accessible and superhero-friendly. Get on this book as it ends its first twelve issues, and let’s hope for at least twelve more.