Soccer moms finally get their Breaking Bad moment in Bad Mother #1, from AWA’s Upshot imprint. Written by acclaimed crime novelist Christa Faust (Silver Sable and the Wild Pack), penciled by Mike Deodato Jr. (Wonder Woman) and with colors by Lee Loughridge (Batman Adventures, Stumptown), the first issue is in stores now, with the second issue comig October 14th.
In the first issue’s back matter, Faust discusses her inspiration for the series, one of which was the award-winning television series Breaking Bad, in that it shows “ordinary people being pushed to their breaking point and beyond by circumstances beyond their control.” She then went on to apply this to a suburban setting, and that a combination of the two can lead to some truly dark stories, Faust also mentions the crime noir novels of James M Cain. Bad Mother’s protagonist certainly fits this mold: April Walters is a mother of two living with her workaholic husband in the suburbs. Completely normal in every way, April is overlooked in every aspect of her life; her husband bails on dinner plans and her son ditches her as well. In the first few pages, she witnesses a robbery. One of the robbers decides to take a hostage, looks right at April and grabs someone else – April is overlooked even by violent criminals. April is frustrated with her lot in life, but keeps it all in.
Soon after the robbery, April’s teenage daughter Taylor comes home late, battered and beaten. Believing her daughter’s boyfriend Chase is responsible, April storms out of her house and drives to Chase’s. When she arrives, she finds Chase and another person dead, clearly the victims of a violent attack. In a panic, April rushes home to find Taylor now missing.
Distraught, April phones the police. The detective in charge remains indifferent to April’s plea, informing her his hands were tied due to policies and procedures. When he and April return to Chase’s house, the bodies are gone and the bloody scene cleaned. Running out of options, April attempts to call her husband, but he is out of the country. All she can do is light a cigarette. In the final pages, we learn Taylor has been abducted, and there is a conspiracy at work.
If Faust and her collaborators were looking to establish a Breaking Bad-type vibe, they have certainly succeeded in doing that. April Walters is normal in every way Walter White, initially, was living a bland, unfulfilling life in the suburbs. Both of them are in situations where the normalcy they have experienced will not serve them anymore, and choices must be made – most of them not good. April’s search for Taylor gives Bad Mother a revenge thriller vibe as well. All of this adds up to an impressive first issue, one that promises to take a normal person to the limits and back.