MOTHER PANIC/BATMAN SPECIAL #1
Written by Jody Houser, Magdalene Visaggio
Art by Ty Templeton, Keiren Smith, John Workman, Sonny Liew
Edited by Molly Mahan
Published by DC Comics
Release Date: February 7, 2018
The Milk Wars continue as Mother Panic meets the Bat…and spills some milk.
Mother Panic has been a wonderful part of the Young Animal line since its first issue, and Violet’s trademark rage is on full display in this special. Houser does a great job writing the issue in a way that it will make sense for readers passing through because of Milk Wars, but is not completely homogenized and generic for regular Mother Panic readers. This issue features the strong dialogue and pacing I’ve grown to expect whenever I see Jody Houser’s name, and she does a great job tying in Milk Wars in a way that feels organic, not just slamming an event onto a title or character that doesn’t. The addition of the Bat, who has always lingered in the periphery of Mother Panic due to the title being set in Gotham, was a hilarious twist I didn’t see coming. The angle for his inclusion in this series gave this comic a very similar tone to that of the JLA/Doom Patrol special, and will make this chapter read very well when Milk Wars is most likely collected as a trade.
Ty Templeton’s pencils fit the aforementioned tone very well and Keiren Smith’s colour work captures the darkness in Violet’s past, while also making this comic feel at home as part of Milk Wars. The JLA/Doom Patrol special was positively psychedelic, a tone not normally seen in Mother Panic, but Templeton and Smith merge the two well. This issue does not feel out of place with the event, nor with the “source” book of the title character, which is no easy feat. Templeton’s linework gives this comic a retro feel in a sense, with a very classic Batman look contrasting nicely with the sharp edges of Mother Panic. John Workman’s lettering continues to give Mother Panic an edgy feel, like the reader is constantly being destabilized, much like Violet’s world.
Mags Visaggio & Sonny Liew’s backup continues the pulpy tale started in Part 1 of Milk Wars, giving readers the kind of bizarre extra material that often stands the test of time outside of an event. I’m curious to see what they do with this.
The second chapter of Milk Wars is a winner, with Mother Panic/Batman delivering laughs, solid action and some solid character moments. Mother Panic is one of the shining stars of the Young Animal lineup (and I would argue DC’s entire catalogue) and this issue is yet another great chapter from Houser. Templeton, Smith and Workman deliver strong work and the net effect is a damn good comic.
The Verdict: 9.0/10