The Red Mother #10 is published by BOOM! Studios. It comes from the creative team of writer Jeremy Haun, artist Danny Luckert, and letterer Ed Dukeshire. Issue 10 begins immediately where the 9th issue left off. Daisy finds herself under attack by the same man who ambushed Cordelia. As she struggles, the man talks about The Red Mother and how she is returning. As he readies his knife to strike, his arm is caught by an unseen figure who is revealed to be The Smiling Man.
The attacker tries to flee but is brutally killed and tossed aside. Daisy backs away in horror only to realize that the Smiling Man does not seem to be threatening her. Confused, she is distracted by the sound of her phone buzzing on the ground behind her. After looking away for a moment, she turns back to see that the Smiling Man has gone. On the ground, she finds a strange object that her attacker attempted to remove from his pockets as he was slain. With the threats gone, Daisy returns home, unaware of the greater conspiracy that she remains wrapped up in.
With The Red Mother #10, a new wrinkle has been added to the story. The Rosemary’s Baby-esque cult who seems to be guiding Daisy’s every move is still very much present. But the mysterious attacker and his strange needle and statue are an unknown quantity. It is a strange move to introduce an opposing force this far into the series, but Haun does a good job of making it feel organic and appropriately disorienting. Besides that, this issue was quite busy, with a lot of plot happening over its 24 pages. It appears that some of my theories, particularly regarding the color palette, were accurate. I wish I could go further in-depth, but suffice to say that it seems there has never been a red background in the series when the Red Mother or the cult were not involved.
Additionally, there is more of the fascinating subtext that examines Daisy’s survivor’s guilt and how she is coping. However, now it appears that the effects are becoming more physical for Daisy rather than manifested through the horrors around her. Again, I can’t say much without spoiling, but Daisy appears to be undergoing some interesting changes as well. There are many avenues that Haun could take to resolve the story, and I can’t wait to find out where the story goes as it moves toward its conclusion.
The art from Luckert is great as always. This issue, in particular, is considerably gorier and more violent than usual. The way the Smiling Man dispatches Daisy’s attacker is visceral and disturbing. The colors continue to be vital to the story as well. It seems, more than ever, that tinges of red, pink, and violet are slipping into the world around Daisy. Even buildings painted white seem to have a reddish hue added. I’ve definitely spoken at great length about this over my reviews, but it bears mentioning. Rarely have I seen artist and writer so in tune with a work that even the colors seem to be deeply ingrained in the narrative. The letters from Dukeshire are well implemented and help add to the tension and horror. Particularly how much more grisly the attacker’s death is when the letters of his speech seem disjointed and strained.
All in all, I was somewhat surprised by The Red Mother #10. I thought I had a grasp on where the story was going and this issue threw a curveball. Whether that affects my estimates of the greater overall narrative has yet to be seen, but regardless, it was fun to be caught off guard. In terms of psychological horror I there isn’t another series out there doing it better than Haun and Luckert right now.
Red Mother #10
In terms of psychological horror I there isn’t another series out there doing it better than Haun and Luckert right now.