The Red Mother
Anyone who knows me knows that I love Horror. Horror in feature films, tv movies, books, and now even in comics.
When I chanced upon the first issue of this Jeremy Haun penned series, I had no expectations. Apart from the catchy title, and the main cover that feels like it’s Disney’s Merida on a homicidal rampage, it doesn’t give you all that much. But it is definitely catchy, ominous and mysterious.
And while some people don’t like vague in their reading, this is the element that works in its favor, both for the story and for the genre in general.
Like in most horror stories, everything starts out sweet and nice until tragedy strikes. And nothing could be more tragic than one resulting in loss and the victim being left in its wake with no foreseeable resolution. Enter Daisy. She is a successful young woman, working in I.T. on an app and is considering a trip to Norway with her beau, Luke as they come out from a pizza place and talking a walk home. What began as a romantic exchange between the couple turned out in horror as they passed by an iron gate leading to a darkened garden.
An unusual sound or one that they mistook for a mewling cry came from the darkness behind the gate. We don’t see it but like the characters, we hear it. Luke, despite Daisy’s protests, enters to investigate which turned out to be his undoing as he is pulled further into the darkness by something that equally attacks Daisy before plucking out her eye and leaving her to lapse into a red-filled haze before losing consciousness.
Red was all that she saw.
Like me in the next two pages, all I saw was equally red with the title, “Red Mother” printed on it. Very cinematic fade-to-red touch if you ask me.
Next, we find Daisy recovering from the hospital and being checked on by the police. The attack has been reported but no leads turn out as to where Luke may have gone or may have been “taken”.
In the succeeding panels, we see Daisy start to put her life together, in spite of the loss and unanswered questions. The panels see her waking up from nightmares, dodging calls from her best friend, Pari, who was the one who invited her to join her in Norway and at times refusing to continue on with the life that she led.
Finally, her loss becomes temporary gain as she is fitted with a new eye, one that would bring some form of normalcy back into her life. But her new normal is far from organic, or akin to a form of normal that any human would need to acclimate to a new set of living conditions. It in fact has given her a little insight into the one who attacked her that fateful night.
We know it’s the Red Mother But the question on my mind after reading and probably on yours too, was “What is the Red Mother? Jeremy Haun’s pacing is both filled with dread and the stuff that horror movies are built on. That is you don’t show everything at once and allow the dread to percolate and simmer underneath the surface until you decide on the big reveal.
Well, the reveal at the end is still not in its entirety, as we know it’s a being of immense evil that has chosen to show itself to Daisy in the only way it knows for now and that is through her new eye, which more often than not is marked by an impending headache.
The characters are both likable and relatable and ring true because of Jeremy’s writing and also due to Danny Luckert’s illustration.
We see and feel pain when we read it and so is terror when we come across it.
Best to read this at night for me for the full effect. But even during the day, it will leave its mark on you until you read the next issue that follows. An engaging winner of a read in my books and I will most surely get the next and even collect the graphic novel upon its release. 5 Stars for this one.
Here's the cover for issue #2. Sleep well.