Writer: Jody Houser
Artist: Shawn Crystal
Colorist: Jean-Francois Beaulieu
Editor: Molly Mahan
In this issue, Mother Panic has a major art team shift. Do I like it? Nay, I do not. This issue starts the beginning of a brand-new arc and what feels like a whole different comic. The issue introduces us to a new character whom seems like a villain, but may in fact be an ally in Violet’s war on the people who ruined her life. The issue ends with a big emotional moment with these two characters that I can’t help but feel doesn’t fit the Violet that was established in the previous three issues. I mean, this is the girl who cussed out Batwoman because she ended up having to save some kids.
One of my major complaints from this issue was that the story wasn’t told in a clear or impactful way. The first element that I think through that off was the coloring. Edwards was previously creating all of the art for this book, and it seems that Beaulieu merely looked at the color pallet that Edwards used but not really the way he used it. Edwards’ work often used yellows, purples, and oranges in contrast to each other, but because they were all muted, they blended well together and cultivated a certain “grimy” Gotham feel. Beaulieu uses a lot of the same colors, but they aren’t muted, and instead give the book a very bright and chaotic feel that don’t seem to match the grittier story this book was telling.
The second compliant is that I don’t like Crystal’s new art direction for this book. He has a very cartoonish style that contrasts very heavily with Edwards, which was much sketchier and photo realistic. This is particularly clear when it comes to body proportions. This book involves a good bit of violence and I found myself almost laughing at some of the fights pictured because of the size of fists compared to the wrists supposedly holding them up. It is so directly in contrast to Edwards’ more serious and sketchy style that it feels like the whole book is something new.
I realized that this is an extreme response and maybe some people didn’t mind the change or even liked it, but for me- this complete 180 made me feel like I had somehow been tricked into reading a different book then the one I thought I was getting. That feels pretty lame.
2.5 stylistic changes out of 5.