Hey gang! Hope you’re all rugged up in this wintery weather – the dash between my house and the train station are easily my least favourite part of my commute at the moment, given that I basically become an ice block for the duration. Thankfully, the majority of my downtime can be spent indoors reading more comics, so now you get to read my thoughts on this week’s multi-panelled marvel.
It should be obvious to anyone who’s Pulp more than once that I’m a big fan of DC’s Young Animal imprint, especially considering I seem to be talking about their titles every few weeks. The good (or bad) news is that I’m fairly sure that this week’s title is the last I’ll be picking up for a while, considering I think I’ve read my way through 95% of the content they’ve put out. This week, I’ve picked up the continuation of Jody Houser’s (Faith) excellent Mother Panic series: Mother Panic: Gotham AD.
After the mind-bending events of Milk Wars, Violet Page has crash-landed in a whole new reality. Dumped in a Gotham City 20 years in her future, nothing is the same. The once lawless urban sprawl has been co-opted by the Collective, a sinister cabal hiding behind a shining corporate front. The Batman has vanished, thought dead, and masked vigilantes are outlawed with the GCPD cracking down harshly on anyone who would break the status quo. With her sidekick Fennec Fox in tow, Violet is determined to rescue her captured mother and restore some semblance of normality to a city that has been warped beyond recognition.
With Gotham AD, Houser did the best possible thing she could have done for Mother Panic: she removed Batman from the picture. While I really enjoyed the brief crossovers between the Bat-family and Mother Panic in previous stories, I felt like the connection to Batman made the story a bit too familiar; despite the vastly different storylines, Mother Panic still felt like another iteration of Batwoman. With the deliberate removal of Batman and the shift to a new reality, Mother Panic was able to stretch its legs a lot more – now, rather than being a Batwoman clone, it felt more like an Elseworlds story a la Batman Beyond or a multiverse title like Spider-Gwen over at Marvel. While there are still distinct connections to the Batman mythos, there’s plenty of changes to established characters in line with the new reality – some that I liked, and others that raised my eyebrows.
While I definitely miss Tommy Lee Edwards’ (Turf) art style, Ibrahim Moustafa (Doctor Fate) does a job of capturing the angular, heavily lined artwork that drew me to Mother Panic in the first place. I particularly enjoyed the redesigns of a number of characters to fit with the new reality – in particular, Selina Kyle’s protégé Holly (a.k.a Catgirl) got an urban jungle-style rework and it looks pretty darn cool.
Overall, Gotham AD is a great send-off for a character that really grabbed me. Of all the Young Animal titles, I think I enjoyed Mother Panic the most, and I really hope that the character pops up again in the future. It’s not an ideal jumping-on point for new readers, but fans of the character should love it.
Written by Alastair McGibbon