After a senseless, horrific attack results in the death of her lover and the loss of an eye, Daisy (a young designer) gets a replacement eye. But the attack and new eye results in Daisy seeing horrific visions.
For many creator-owned projects that suffer many problems, I can usually say the central conceits are interesting. There have been many series that aren’t tightly written, but are very creative and burst with ideas that deserve better. Alas, I can’t even say that for The Red Mother.
That little synopsis I opened this review with? That’s just about the extent of creativity and world-building this series offers. All the plot and horror elements could be boiled from five issues down to one or two. Other than creepy visions that pop up randomly, there’s virtually no threat to our heroine other than her getting slightly startled every other page.
While things could develop later, the horror elements already present are terribly cliché and underdeveloped. Seeing a skeletal woman in red is not original or scary in its presentation. Seeing a smiling black figure with a white face is not original, scary in its presentation—and even worse, it’s horribly derivative of the far better psychological horror/thriller/indie series, Gideon Falls.
Daisy, other than having suffered an initial loss at the beginning, is exceptionally uninteresting. She lacks a strong personality and any dimension or complexity. To make up for that, she’s surrounded by an over-abundance of forgettable one-note caricatures who serve blunt, boring purposes: the psychiatrist who gaslights, a creepy old lady who’s creepy, a friendly friend, etc.
It doesn’t help that writer Jeremy Haun is trying oh-so very hard to make this a realistic story about grief and loss and overcoming such things. Such ambitions hardly work when the beats are rushed and stuck inside such a silly frame.
Danny Luckert does a decent job merging the mundane with the nightmarish, but his style isn’t distinct enough to elevate the mediocre scripting. By far his greatest assets are his facial details, which help to sell Daisy’s suffering in particular. Although his style isn’t exceptionally detail-oriented compared to others, the details at play especially in the backgrounds strike a good balance of not crowding but assisting the storytelling. It’s decently atmospheric stuff, no more no less.
But overall, despite there being five issues collected here, there’s not much to say about the first volume of The Red Mother, which features a shockingly threadbare story and characters.