It’s a man’s world, and Maya Kuyper is doing her best to rise above. But all of her foibles that come with being female are superpowered, thanks to an experimental drug she found in her deceased father’s lab. When life gets tough, Maya becomes M.O.M.: Mother of Madness.
Somewhere in this comic, there is a story. Somewhere, buried in the Ferris Bueller-style fourth-wall breaking, the Family Guy-style aside gags, the on-the-nose commentary that feels like perusing Jezebel headlines, and the frankly gorgeous art. The scenes where Maya’s powers manifest are engaging, and I love the scenes with her precious parents (who should be protected at all costs, but this is comics, and characters must go through personal hell to have some kind of development). And, even though this story is set almost 30 years into the future, Emilia Clarke satirically captures the doldrums of modern living quite effectively.
I’ll use a quote from the book to highlight its biggest weakness: “But right now, we have some obligational expositional backstory to get through. You did twenty-two Marvel movies–you can give me five pages.” Here’s the thing…the book is 40-something pages long (to be followed by two more of the same length), and there might have been five interesting pages. It took true commitment to make it through the narrative and quippy dialogue bits, all of which felt unfortunately cliché.
I know what you’re probably thinking at this point, and I’ll make this clear: I truly have no issue with someone using their celebrity status to break into comics. I get the criticism–there’s a lot of people out there trying to catch their break, but here comes Mr. or Mrs. Celebrity just waltzing in through the door. But that person had to do a lot of hard work to have the ability to waltz in through the door, and I’m never going to fault them for that. And speaking of celebrities writing comics, this book was WAY better than Keanu Reeves’s BRZRKR.
But I like them to be good, and this book disappointed me. By the time we got into the superpowers and puppet-mastery intrigue, it was far too late to retain my interest in the next two books.
The artwork does so much to give this book some redemptive qualities. I was truly blown away by how the action sequences played out, the page layouts, and how Maya’s abilities were portrayed. The flat textures, sharp lines, and use of pointillism really gave this comic a retro feel while still remaining very modern.
The Mother of Dragons has traded in her fire-breathing lizards for Madness but, unfortunately, fails to take flight. While there were brief glimpses of meaningful storytelling, M.O.M.: Mother of Madness #1 leaves the madness behind in favor of blandness.
M.O.M.: Mother of Madness #1
Story buried in the mess3.0/10
Retro, imaginative artwork9.0/10
More madness, less exposition5.0/10
- Writers: Emilia Clarke, Marguerite Bennett
- Artist: Leila Leiz
- Colorist: Triona Farrell
- Letterer: Haley Rose-Lyon
- Principal Contributor and Producer: Isobel Richardson
- Editor: Laurenn McCubbin
- Logo, Cover, Costume Designer: Jo Ratcliffe
- Publisher: Image Comics