Gotham is an inherently violent place, and MOTHER PANIC: GOTHAM A.D. #4 fully embraces that brutality. Our hero Violet Paige, aka Mother Panic, has been surrounded by violence for a long time. But MOTHER PANIC: GOTHAM A.D. #4 takes it to a whole new level.

And it’s pretty badass.

MOTHER PANIC: GOTHAM A.D. #4 Takes a Turn

At the beginning of this series, Violet and Rosie (a young girl she has reluctantly taken as her sidekick after saving her life a few times) found themselves in a different reality, where they save this version of Violet’s mother. When Violet’s brother learned that his sister — or a version of her — has been spotted in Gotham, he and his allies were completely thrown by the introduction of a second Violet Paige in their reality.

Is There An Imposter In MOTHER PANIC?

Now, they’re convinced she has to be an imposter of some kind. Because her very existence is frustrating to them, Violet makes sure she is seen as much as possible. Meanwhile, while her mother and Rosie hideout. Of course, Rosie isn’t okay with operating on the sidelines and leaves to find Violet.

MOTHER PANIC: GOTHAM A.D. #4
MOTHER PANIC: GOTHAM A.D. #4 page 1. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Jason Todd, our villain who they call Lord Robin in this reality, is a damn mess with a cringe-worthy alias. We got a hint of that in MOTHER PANIC: GOTHAM A.D. #3, but the picture is even clearer here. He’s mounted the bodies of all the past Robins, as well as the Joker, on the wall of his home base, which is just plain terrifying. He has Scarecrow and Kid Joker doing his bidding, as he acts as the mastermind and ringleader of the criminal underground.

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When Scarecrow and Kid Joker cause chaos on the street, Rosie, and Violet swoop in. But it’s a total bloodbath. Kid Joker kills innocents left and right with his creepy little knife. Rosie shanks his ankles, which Violet does not approve of. But it does the job. They capture Kid Joker, who will no doubt prove useful in future issues.

Scarecrow, however, is not so lucky. When Lord Robin (ew) finds out that his plan has failed and that the “White Witch” (Mother Panic) has Kid Joker, he shoots Scarecrow in the head.

Violent, But Not Off-Putting

Some particularly graphic comics can be difficult to get through. If the art is too true-to-life, that can be a problem. But it’s also very challenging to create believable gore. Finding that balance is a challenge that MOTHER PANIC: GOTHAM A.D. #4 manages.

MOTHER PANIC: GOTHAM A.D. #4
MOTHER PANIC: GOTHAM A.D. #4 page 2. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

The art team of Ibrahim Moustafa (interiors), Jordan Boyd (colors), and John Workman (letters) find a way to make the violence jarring, but not nauseating. It’s disturbing, but not difficult to read. They’ve found a balance that creates the moments writer Jody Houser probably envisioned without alienating any readers.

Additionally, they depict environments that are truly beautiful. Illustrations of Violet’s nightlife are vibrant and inviting, making you want to go to the club with her. The area in Gotham where Scarecrow and Kid Joker attack honestly looks like a nice place to sit outside and read a book, which makes the violence all the more jarring.

There are simple touches throughout — like plain, bright backgrounds — that make the important elements pop, but keep the whole book looking clean and inviting. MOTHER PANIC: GOTHAM A.D. #4 is simply a great book to look at.

These People Are Scaring Me

Rosie and Violet are awesome characters who steal every page they are on. Houser clearly has a great handle on the characters she’s created, and it shows in every issue.

MOTHER PANIC: GOTHAM A.D. #4
MOTHER PANIC: GOTHAM A.D. #4 page 5. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

But they’re not the stars of MOTHER PANIC: GOTHAM A.D. #4. No, it’s the villains that really stand out this time. Much like in the fabulous film  THE DARK KNIGHT, some very creepy dudes make Gotham a living hell. Kid Joker and Lord Robin (dear God, I hate that — which is totally the point) are worse than any villain we’ve seen Batman face. And they prove it by killing the Joker and the Scarecrow.

You simply cannot reason with these two, or so it seems right now. Perhaps Houser will break them down and show us something different. As of right now, they’re one-note characters. (Granted, it is a horrifying, effective note.) But that doesn’t seem like Houser’s way. She created complex, interesting people in her books. So maybe we’ll find out more about these two soon.

Can Mother Panic Handle This?

Violet is dealing with a lot of crap in MOTHER PANIC: GOTHAM A.D. #4. And she hasn’t even really started the larger fight yet! Defeating with the two street criminals who are fond of brutal deaths is enough for anyone. But there’s only more conflict to come.

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This is a bigger threat than Violet has ever faced, and she’s not even in her own reality. It seems like she just can’t catch a break. And even though readers have faith in Mother Panic, you have to wonder how this will wrap up in the next two issues. The fact that we’re not positive it’ll be alright in the end is a phenomenal, exciting thing.

MOTHER PANIC: GOTHAM A.D. #4 by Jody Houser, Ibrahim Moustafa, Jordan Boyd, and John Workman
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
There is a lot of death in MOTHER PANIC: GOTHAM A.D. #4. The art makes the violence jarring, but tolerable, which is a great feat. The plot is exciting and disturbing, making us unsure if it'll be alright in the end. The characters are amazing, but the villains shine more than anything.
96 %
So Brutal

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