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There is always a need for more stories, especially in the comic medium, with female-identifying protagonists and writers behind them. AWA Studios's Bad Mother will be one of the first of many books to be helmed by a female writer. It's a five-issue limited series by author Christa Faust and artist Mike Deodato Jr. As a writer, Faust is no stranger to thrillers, having written several novels in the genre, as well as several novelizations and novel tie-ins for some popular movies and television shows. She won an IAMTW Scribe Award for her novelization of the summer blockbuster Snakes on a Plane. On the surface, Bad Mother looks to be simply about a soccer mom who has the Punisher, Walter White, and the dad from Taken on her mood board. However, from the first two issues, it's clear that Faust is giving this character and story much more than that.
Bad Mother follows April Walters, a suburban soccer mom who could use a vacation from her tiring, thankless life. Initially, the reader gets a short glimpse into the mundane routines April experiences in her day-to-day. In the first issue, April has an unfortunate encounter at the local grocery store with a member from the Lululemon coalition of moms. The fellow mom has strong feelings about regular apple juice versus organic and doesn't hesitate to share them freely, to April's dismay.
From the beginning, Faust makes it clear that April's life is full of annoyances and she could desperately use a break from it. Her day gets progressively worse as the issue continues. By the end of Issue 2, it's clear April is going to get something like a break from her regular life. With her husband away on a business trip, April goes from a tired mom to a tired mom on a mission to save her kidnapped daughter. But April might be in over her head, as she soon finds out her daughter is in greater danger than she initially thought. There's something much more nefarious going on in her neighborhood, and it doesn't appear as though local law enforcement will be of any help, but April looks like she's up for the task of doing whatever it takes to get her daughter back.
Five issues make up the miniseries, which means there is a lot to pack into each issue in order to tell a compelling, cohesive story. The first two issues set the tone well thanks to Faust's pacing, and artist Deodato's art gives the comic a gritty noir feel. The character design of April Walters is a breath of fresh air. She looks like a mom you would run into at your local Walmart who is trying to find last-minute ingredients for a science project she just found out was due the next day and her child hadn't mentioned anything about it until an hour before the stores closed.
The familiarity brought on by the character design makes for more compelling storytelling because April is far more relatable. In the few interactions with her family that Faust gives April, there is no doubt this is a woman who is underappreciated and underestimated, qualities that seem like they'll work in her favor as the story progresses.
Bad Mother couldn't have arrived at a better time, with the resurgence of older women who would be considered past their prime cast in the genre roles we often see both real and fictional men in. Movies like Netflix's The Old Guard, which stars Charlize Theron, and the return of the Terminator franchise's beloved protagonist Sarah Connor, played by Linda Hamilton, showcase that genre stories featuring older women are more than welcome. Older women in genre are often invisible and consistently relegated to minimal support roles to their male counterparts, so stories that center these women are not only needed but necessary in making sure they are no longer placed on the back burner. Bad Mother seems like it's on its way to being another substantial addition to these stories.
Bad Mother #1 will be available from AWA Studios on August 5.