The Red Mother #5 is published by BOOM! Studios. It comes from the creative team of writer Jeremy Haun, artist Danny Luckert, and letterer Ed Dukeshire.
After the cliffhanger ending of Issue #4, this one begins with a bang. Daisy is face to face with the Smiling Man and surrounded by a cult-like crowd. One of the cult members, an old woman, declares the Smiling Man the “Herald of the Red Mother”. Acting quickly, Daisy knocks the old woman out and makes her escape from the encroaching crowd. However, despite her best attempts to outrun him, the Smiling Man is in close pursuit.
Thinking fast, Daisy ducks into the subway. But in her panic she nearly falls onto the tracks in front of an oncoming train. At the last minute the Smiling Man appears and catches her, pulling her onto the platform and uttering her name. Despite a moment of hesitation, Daisy seizes the opportunity and pushes the Smiling Man off the platform and, seemingly, into the train. With the Smiling Man apparently dealt with Daisy returns to her life. But perhaps the safety that seems too good to be true actually is.
With The Red Mother #5, Luckert hit the first real climax of the story. The action-packed first half leads into a more calm and subdued ending. Despite this, the trademark tension and ill omens remain ever-present throughout. Much as Daisy is clearly struggling with the newfound horrors in her life, the reader is equally unable to shake them. Even the most mundane of panels feels as though it is barely hiding some unknown terror. This has always been a strength in the series, and it’s a relief to see it continue. On the other hand, the ending, while wonderfully ominous, is a little more abstract than the series has been in the past. Without spoiling, I will simply say it would have been nice to see something a little more concrete rather than what did happen.
As with previous issues I have nothing but praise for the artwork and colors. The smiling man remains eerie and unsettling despite being heavily featured in the first half. Oftentimes the more you see a monster the less effective it is, but thankfully this antagonist is at least partially immune to such rules. Extra praise must be given to Luckert for his dedication to drawing Daisy realistically. Despite this issue features her showing the most skin of any so far, her proportions and body are realistic and displayed thusly. As with the rest of the series, Luckert’s colors are also an integral part of the story conveyance. Meanwhile, Dukeshire’s letters are solid and very clean. The SFX adds additional weight to the events of the story.
While the ending wasn’t quite as strong as previous issues, The Red Mother #5 continues this series’ streak of excellence. It serves as an ending, of sorts, but at the same time makes it clear that the central conflict is far from over. How this conflict will manifest in future issues, I don’t know. But I do know that I can’t wait to find out, and neither should you.
The Red Mother #5 is available now from comic sellers.