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Mother Panic

Violet Page is a native Gothamite who comes from a wealthy family. The social status her family finances afford her is one of the reasons she’s achieved celebrity. The other reason is the scandal that arose from her father’s sudden death when she was 13; a death which was publicly attributed to a mysterious hunting accident, but the truth is far grimmer and won’t be spoiled here.

Being in the spotlight has led Violet to develop a love/ hate relationship with the media, with the emphasis usually being on hate though Violet is willing to use the media to her advantage. Or maybe she’s slightly addicted to the attention? Despite having the trappings of moving through a rarefied social circle, she seems to hold many of its elements and her peers in contempt. When Violet isn’t out in the public eye she is checking in with her mother who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s when Violet was young.

Violet also has a secret life. A life whose trajectory she was unknowingly put on by her one sibling, a much older brother named Victor. After their father’s death, a software developer named Ashley Layton convinced the brother to send their mother to a nursing home and Violet to the strangely named Gather House boarding school. Layton serves as a “recruiting officer”. Mother Patrick is a cruel, hands on head mistress of the boarding school which is a front for a sinister program in which training programs turn “students” into calculating fighting machines. Research and development, really surgical enhancements, are often performed on the students. Violet is no exception.

Ten years pass from the time Viktor hands Violet over to Gather House and her return to Gotham City. When she does return she brings with her Dr Suditi Varma as her “private physician”. Previously Dr Varma had worked with a number of research groups which were all involved in helping the human body reach its fullest potential, typically pushing the ethical limits of such research. Varma helps Violet maintain and manage her health and Gather House augmentations as she dons a tech enhanced costume to become Mother Panic (presumably an allusion to Gather House). A section of the building in which Violet and her mother live is set aside as Violet’s headquarters and medical facilities for Varma. Another part of the building is set up as very imaginative living quarters for her mother. Violet’s costumed activites soon come to the attention of Batman, who views her as a loose cannon and dispatches Batwoman to investigate her. We know from Batwoman’s reaction after a fight that Mother Panic has augmented strength and extensive experience in hand to hand fighting. She often relies on a high tech glider for transportation.

Following the events of the Milk War crossover between some of the Young Animal books and Justice League, Mother Panic was transported to a different world in which Gotham City simultaneously tries to appear bright and hopeful, thanks to officials and investors, and more dystopian. Mother Panic encounters dopplegangers of her mother, brother, and the Collective (who abused her and imprisoned her). Writer Jody Houser gives Violet a much deserved happy ending at the end of the Mother Panic Gotham AD mini.

Jody Houser doesn’t shy away from showing Violet having interest in men and women and makes Violet’s private and sex lives a matter of public knowledge and speculation. An example is her relationship and very public breakup with another celebrity named Shawna Schulz which is alluded to in the first issue. In a following issue a valet attendant rudely tells Violet he “knew” her “girl phase” wouldn’t last. Houser shows Violet in bed after a sexual encounter with a man in issue #2 and on a date with another woman in a later issue in the first arc.

Violet and Mother Panic both first appear in Mother Panic #1.

Mother Panic and Violet Page were created by Gerard Way, Jody Houser, and Tommy Lee Edwards. Art by Edwards.

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