Toward the end of the first issue of Mother Panic, a character says Gotham has two flavors of costumes: “psychos who hurt and psychos who help.” Mother Panic doesn’t reveal which psychos its characters are just yet, only that there are plenty of them in DC’s brand new, R-rated Gotham comic.
Mother Panic is a fresh Gotham story put out as part of DC’s Young Animal imprint. It features a new costumed hero named Violet Paige, a wealthy socialite who comes back to Gotham City for one thing: revenge. While we don’t know her tragic backstory just yet, or who exactly she wants revenge for, the Gotham seen in Mother Panic is completely different from anything seen in previous comics. The story highlights Gotham’s upper social circles where the wealthy gather at parties, do drugs, and commit a little serial murder. There are no traces of the Joker, or Penguin, or Two-Face. It feels like a wholly different city.
Written by Jody Houser (Valiant’s Faith), Mother Panic is an original Gotham superhero story that interprets Gotham in an abstract light, where the bad guys don’t wear costumes, but make up for it by owning luxury torture chambers. It’s a city where the hero can say things like “fuck the bat,” after beating up a bunch of thugs.
And when Batman does get referenced, even making a subtle cameo, it feels weird because this is not a normal Gotham story. It’s violent and dark, and doesn’t hide it behind the Batman mythos.
Violet Paige’s unnamed hero is something of an anomaly in the Batman universe. Dressed in all-white, she sticks out against Gotham’s dark backdrop. Her tools and costumes, including a flying motorcycle feel too futuristic for the timeline, appearing almost Batman Beyond-esque. Her motive also contrasts with the other heroes in Gotham in that she doesn’t even want to save the city from bad guys. She is seemingly only after the people who wronged her and her mother in her childhood.
Mother Panic is an exciting take on Gotham, and as the final series in DC’s Young Animals alongside other great stories like Doom Patrol and Shade, the Changing Girl, Gerard Way’s imprint has proven to be a rousing success. As a bold, interesting new story filled with completely brand-new characters, Mother Panic’s first issue teases a handful of Gotham’s new psychos, and they’re probably just getting started.
Mother Panic is available now in comic book stores and digital retailers.