'Mother Panic' a comic that's too damn good for this world

‘Mother Panic’ a comic that’s too damn good for this world

By Stefania Rudd, Brandy Dykhuizen and Arpad OkayOur Week In Review sums up our weekly comic book coverage while taking time for a new review or two before it’s all over. Did we miss your favorite books this week? Well. This is where you need to be.

'Mother Panic' #8 is assessed in our WEEK IN REVIEWMother Panic #8

DC’s Young Animal/$3.99

Written by Jody Houser.

Art by John Paul Leon.

Colors by Dave Stewart.

Letters by John Workman.

AOK: Jody Houser and John Paul Leon are a match made in the darkest corner of Heaven. To get the whole of the story they tell in Mother Panic, you have to read the pictures. Violet Paige crime fighting via Google tells you something about her. The precise, geometric scars all over her body tell you something else. Her private quarters in the Panic compound are a treasure trove of personality clues if you know how to look. Casual clutter covers provincial furniture. Bed by Ikea, armoire by Louis XVI. Most of the drawers are left half open. Violet’s busy mind. Everybody gets this treatment. Ratcatcher’s stack of books, his cactus. Corporal Jones, the officer down, and his prosthetic leg. Rebecca’s underground windows. I love these details.

And then there’s Remains. Gotham villains are so delightful; they have looks (black trash bag ghost, Shadow of Guadalupe with twin pistols) and they have purpose. They run out a story only they can see, one only pain can tell.

Telling stories. Pain. Loss. These threads wind together, a cable shot through the comic. We don’t just get clues to Violet’s inner workings by feeling along the surface, this issue has her diving deep into self, reliving dreams of her past, popping pills and telling tales. Twisting the real events and making excuses for why she lies. Playing a totally different kind of dress up than the street fighting White Knight.

In that twisted truth, the real deal can be found. Everything the series has established thus far is culminating, approached from a new and unexpected angle. Mother Panic is a tour de force, and the eighth issue is its best chapter yet. Spare and sharp action beats, an unshakable foundation of character study, a comic too damn good for this world.

9.5 out of 10

Beautiful Canvas #1

Black Mask Studios/$3.99

Written by Ryan K. Lindsay.

Art by Sami Kivela.

Colors Triona Farrel.

Letters by Ryan Ferrier.

BD: Rather than carry out her assigned hit, Lon Eisley hits the pavement with her intended victim, putting as many miles and dead mutant goons between her and Milla Albuquerque as possible. It’s tough to carry out your violent duties with a pregnant girlfriend at home and a spectral child hot on your heels, reminding you of your busted moral compass. Ryan K. Lindsay and Sami Kivela employ a jarring story filled with arresting violence to explore the fallacy of childhood innocence and the adult temptation to just say “fuck it all” and start over.

The siren song of rebirth comes with its dangers, though. Especially when wiping the slate clean would erase part of a performance art project belonging to billionaire psychopath who isn’t used to being told “no.” And here’s where Beautiful Canvas gets gorgeously twisted. Being a gun for hire would be the least ghastly aspect of Lon’s life once she crosses Milla – it would be ill advised to run away from someone who enjoys pulling strings just to see them snap.

Beautiful Canvas has sadism in spades, but somehow its cavalier violence doesn’t come across as unnecessary. There are fantastically inventive moments of gore, highlighting how easy it can be to snuff out a life, interspersed with the most basic of human dilemmas: how do I make this relationship work? Lindsay and Kivela go to daring lengths to show how life imitates art and vice versa. It’s a twisted, freaky world out there, and this book knows which buttons to push to make us crave more.

9 out of 10

Jem and the Holograms: Infinite #1

IDW Publishing/$3.99

Written by Kelly Thompson.

Art by Stacey Lee and Jen Hickman.

Colors and lyric lettering by Sarah Stern.

Letters by Shawn Lee.

SR: The world of pop music is not for the faint of heart. In fact, if we can learn anything from Jem and the Holograms as well as the Misfits, it takes quite a bit of moxie. In the first issue of the “Infinite” story arc, old habits die hard for Pizzazz, who can’t seem to follow Elsa’s advice to just let things go.

Things kick off with an argument where Pizzazz accuses Jem of getting in the way of her band’s success. Jem is over it and just wants both bands to exist and thrive like they’ve been doing. Not good enough. They part ways and each of the women retreats back to their bandmates to regroup. Here, the stark differences between Jem and Pizzazz are made clear; what kind of bandmate/friend are they when nobody’s looking?

For Jem and her Holograms, things become challenging once someone arrives from an alternate Earth and pleads for their help to save the world. Fortunately, both the Holograms and the Misfits are in the best of hands.

Kelly Thompson knows these characters through and through from her previous work on Jem and Misfits. Stacey Lee and Jen Hickman both take on art chores, different styles that become compatible through Sarah Stern’s gorgeous hues. Knowing that there is an alternate Earth out there, one these characters have chosen to enter, will allow a freedom through which this creative team will certainly thrive.

8.5 out of 10

From earlier this week — 

“Until the end of the world”: The 5 greatest moments in Ennis & Dillon’s ‘Preacher’

Preview: The Holograms and The Misfits face off in ‘Jem and the Holograms: Infinite’ #1

Preview: If you can’t do the time, don’t mess with it! ‘Rocket Girl’ returns this August!

For next-level comics criticism, PanelxPanel is essential reading

‘Redlands’ plays a wicked game of dread and terror

BOOKS FOR BABES: ‘I am Groot’ an adorable way to enjoy Marvel’s ‘Guardians’ franchise

This ‘Batman/Elmer Fudd Special’ Preview won’t make a “bat season” joke, we promise

Here’s what we know about Marvel Legacy (insert whiny sigh here)

BUILDING A BETTER MARVEL: Cloonan’s ‘Punisher’ run an example of how to keep a book new-reader friendly

What books did YOU read this week? We want to know! Tell us about those feelings of yours in the comments section below.

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