Horror comics are an acquired taste, and one that I usually find hard to stomach. That’s why I’m more than surprised that I loved the first 2 issues of The Red Mother as much as I did. This is a supernatural horror story with a clear footing in reality – a comic book genre that is leaps and bounds out of my usual comfort zone. I’ve always been a fan of the “cape and cowl” comics. You know, superhero books full of SNIKTs, THWIPs, and BAMFs. There is comfort in familiarity, but I’m well aware that the medium is limitless, and the comic landscape can support any type of storytelling.
When I first first came upon the The Red Mother #1′s macabre, blood-red cover, I almost second guessed my decision. A horror story? But where are the spandex and superpowers? Should I just grab my usual Batman #2784 and stay in my lane? Luckily for me, curiosity eventually killed this catabolic comic book lemming.
BOOM! Studios’ The Red Mother comes from the creative team of Jeremy Haun and Danny Luckert. The Red Mother tells the tragic story of Daisy who lost her love, her eye, and her grip on sanity all in the same night. Now stricken with horrific visions of an unknown terror, her phantom eye becomes a window to what lies beyond her twisted, new reality.
For a story with potentially otherworldly implications, writer Jeremy Haun’s take on protagonist Daisy’s humdrum life is perfectly grounded. There were moments in the issue I was so caught up in the dialogue and authentic characterization that I almost forgot I was nose deep in a horror story. That is until artist Danny Luckert threads in images that raised the hairs on the back of my neck. Luckert’s art is extraordinary throughout the first two issues and complements Haun’s storytelling seamlessly. The main characters are all uniquely designed, and, unlike many busy comics, the backgrounds are populated with fully realized people (and the occasional terrifying monster). The covers are not only bloody magnificent, but the level of excellence is consistent to what we get on every page, as well. The first issue is all about building the horror slowly towards the final page, where, at last, the terror creeps up on you.
The debut issue from David Luckert and Danny Haun not only gave me a newfound appreciation for the horror comic genre, but also the urge to triple check the locks on my doors each night before bed. I could not wait to dive into issue #2 of The Red Mother which is now my most anticipated comic book.
I can’t commend Danny Luckert enough with just how frightening the Red Mother looks. In every appearance, the monster pops off the page, almost like it doesn’t belong with the rest of the panel and it’s trying to escape into the reader’s lap. I share in Daisy’s terror as the panel turns blood red, signifying the appearance of the Red Mother. The way in which Luckert illustrates Daisy’s paranoia sends shivers down my spine. *Shudder* The entity that haunts Daisy made its first appearance at the end of the first issue, and it’s still unsettling here. Bravo, Danny Luckert, you conjurer of comic sinistry.
Jeremy Haun shines in this dark, follow-up story. Writing natural, yet riveting, dialogue in the guise of the supernatural is no simple task. He is great at adding plot devices through conversations and simple details. For instance, Daisy’s therapist suggests she might be suffering from Charles Bonnet Syndrome. This passing thought instantly plants the seed of doubt in the reader that Daisy’s visions of the Red Mother could just be her mind’s own creation. Are they just hallucinations manifested from her traumatic loss? The plot thickens. Hauns also clues us in on Daisy’s fascination with puzzles. What could seem like a side note, this interesting trait will most certainly play a part later on. Like a jigsaw puzzle, The Red Mother #2 rewards readers who pay close attention to the details but see the big picture. Along with the beautiful artwork, it’s another reason to reread these stories as many times as your valor can muster.
I didn’t know what to expect from The Red Mother #1 and #2, but I am so glad I gave horror a chance. The issues delivered compelling stories, amazing illustrations, and a dash of supernatural terror. I still am not quite sure who the Red Mother is, but the mystery has me wanting to read issue #3 stat. Fans of horror have a lot to love here. If you are reading this review and still are sleeping on The Red Mother, you, my friend, are missing out on some spectacular nightmares.
Creative Team: Jeremy Haun (writer), Danny Luckert (artist)
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
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