This is an issue from back in 2017 on DC’s Young Animal imprint. I picked it up at my local shop as part of a buy one get one free clear out of some back issues, and largely grabbed it due to the impression another issue of Mother Panic I was able to review had left on me. That and I love Jody Houser’s writing.
The cover features the titular character plunging through the middle of a burning building. The art feels gritty and raw, with the building and Mother Panic in muted colours. The fire is vibrant and the colourist did a great job with contrasting it with the building. Also, if you look closely, you can see Batwoman in the top center of the page.
Mother Panic is set in Gotham, and as such has some overlap with the Bat-Family. It’s blatant in this issue with appearances from Batman and Batwoman, but the art style feels a bit like a Bat-Book as well. Gotham is not a clean and sunshiny place, and neither is this book. The fight scenes are well drawn, and I enjoyed that the use of colours was limited in this issue. The art sets a great backdrop for the story.
This issue was the third the story arc titled “A Work In Progress”. It begins with Batman and Batwoman investigating Mother Panic to try to determine who she is, her motives, and if she’s a threat. Batman’s appearance is very limited, which is important, as having a connection to him can be helpful, but too much and it might as well just be another issue of Detective Comics. Batwoman plays a larger role, and has a fun fight scene with our protagonist, before disappearing. She later reappears as a bookend to the action. From what I was able to gather(having not read any other issues in this run), Mother Panic is a revenge tale. She has been wronged, and is trying to get back at those that hurt her.
While this issue isn’t a perfect jumping on point for a casual reader, I still enjoyed it. There was some good action, just enough history on the character to get you wanting more, and the art was fitting with the Bat-Family of books, but with its own distinctive flair. Keep in mind this book is aimed at a slightly older audience, so if you’re not comfortable with your kids reading coarse language, well, you’ve been warned.