Overview: Violet is the prisoner of the evil blood artist Gala. Can she escape Gala’s clutches and further her quest for vengeance against those who would hurt the innocent.
Synopsis (spoilers ahead): When we last left Violet she was trapped by Gala in a large hideous sculpture. Her old friend from Gather House, Jane, is seemingly in a trance doing Gala’s bidding. Violet remembers a time back at Gather House when she and Jane were attempting to escape. Something snapped inside Jane and she attacked Violet and enabled them to be caught. Violet recalls that she didn’t fight back against her dear friend and let herself be pummeled and captured.
Back at Gala’s studio, Jane’s significant other is also trapped in a sculpture. He yells at Gala to get her to stop but Jane slits his throat. Gala loves that the blood flows over the piece of art.
Gala asks Violet who sent her, but she insists that she came on her own volition. Jane is about to run Violet through with a spear but Violet uses her Mother Panic strength to break her chains and attack Jane. In the fight Jane’s skin is torn revealing mechanical parts underneath. Violet crushes her old friend with a giant skull sculpture.
Before Violet can attack Gala, the artist escapes using some kind of a transporter cube.
Back at home, Dom is looking over Violet’s injuries. She explains what happened with Jane and Gala. Dom tells her of a conversation he and Otis had with Violet’s Mother, Rebecca. It seems that Rebecca has psychic insight as to what is happening with Violet. Violet discusses this insight with her Mother who confirms that she has always been able to see what was happening with Violet. Violet hugs her Mother and says that she will always listen to her from now on.
Analysis: Writer Jody Houser continues the reveal of Violet’s grim past at Gather House. In this, story arc we have learned that Violet burned down her hated school. In this issue we learn why she might have left her friends at the school to burn. So many people that Violet cared about have betrayed her. Even Jane, whose freewill has been somehow compromised by the Gather House medical experimentation, can not be trusted. We get good insight into what has made Violet the bitter person she is.
The art is by Shawn Crystal, with colors by Jean-Francios Beaulieu, with letters by John Workman and Shawn Crystal. Visually, this book is a haunting, demon and skull filled nightmare. The creatures and images in the panels are not to be taken literally, but represent the mental impressions of the characters. In the flashback to Gather House, the guards that bring Violet back her room are depicted as burly bat demons. As bad as Gather House was, non-human devils were presumably not on the payroll. The color scheme goes from lurid reds and greens which reflect the dark decrepit secrets that are at the heart of Violet’s tragic life.
This does raise the question as to what is going on with Jane, and the story and art combination leaves some questions on the table. Why did Jane betray their escape back in Gather House? We know that she is full of robot parts, but is she an automaton under someone else’s control? Is that why she has also betrayed Violet in the present day? Is she all robot or just partially so? The complete story isn’t clear and it seems that this arc has ended without fully addressing the questions.
Gala makes some mention of something called The Collective, which is going to control Gotham. Was this organization involved with Gather House? Is Gala connected to Gather House? There are still many unanswered questions here.
I continue to be entertained by the Mother Panic title but I do have some storytelling concerns with this issue. I am still not clear on what Jane’s deal was other than she had some kind of cybernetic implants. We now have yet another shadowy organization, this time called The Collective, trying to control Gotham. Hopefully the title will get a chance to develop this group into something interesting for future stories.
Final Thoughts: Mother Panic does create intriguing mysteries surrounding Violet’s past. I like being in this world and have a lot of questions about the characters I do want answered. However, more care should be taken with clearly telling the stories at hand. I am not going to ding this issue’s rating too badly because of it because I am enjoying the title. But it is something I am concerned about for the book.