It’s celebrity comic time, as happens every so often, with Terminator and Game Of Thrones actress Emilia Clarke joining Keanu Reeves and the rest in co-writing a new comic that has definitely split opinion and with good reason.
There’s plenty of symbolism on the cover, notably the Pussy Riot style balaclava, and although I don’t think it’s an attractive cover it does try to encapsulate female empowerment and such, which seems to be the main theme of the book, alongside the old trope that all men are shit.
Now I have zero problem with equality, feminism and the like, and I am fully aware that the scope of toxic masculinity is likely far wider than most people, especially men, would imagine. Emelia Clarke has delivered a comic book that centres around Maya, a twenty nine year old single mother who gets period based powers when she takes a potentially lethal experimental drug. Yes, her powers are based around her menstrual cycle, at their peak when it is. All the emotions that women feel at this time give her different powers, although until the end of this first issue she doesn’t actually use them for anything meaningful.
The basic idea is an interesting one, which in the right hands might result in a fun book. The thing is, this is definitely not in safe hands, even though Clarke is joined by Marguerite Bennett (Bombshells, Angela Batgirl), usually no slouch at this comic lark. My first problem is that it’s set in 2049 for seeming no reason. Everything is the same as now, except we are bombarded early on with haha-look-what-we-did company names (Oober! Tynder!) and the news voiceovers almost smirk with their own cleverness. Next problem is the way that the men in Maya’s workplace are portrayed, because EVERY SINGLE ONE is a misogynistic asshole, with attitudes that even Mad Man would think a bit too much. This is also at odds with the 2049 setting, for me, as I really can’t see this being the case. I get that these people exist, and will in the future, but it’s all just a bit sad, coming over as a piece of bitter revenge writing. Maybe it’s supposed to be funny, but I wasn’t amused. Then we have the excessive dialogue all over the place, which feels like reading a novel rather than a comic. This isn’t your snappy dialogue (and voiceover exposition) though, it just goes on and on, force feeding Maya’s backstory to the reader to the point where gagging is the only option.
Art wise, there’s a lot to like, with Leila Leiz bringing a lovely, clear and lively talent to the table. She’s a new one on me, but I’d happily read anything she is involved with in the future. Unfortunately, good art can’t salvage a confusing, unexciting script.
I’ve seen people saying they love this, and many of them are women, so I fully accept that maybe it resonates more with female readers (sorry for assuming anyone’s gender). I can only give my own opinion, however, and I found M.O.M to be a messy, poorly written book that has potential I feel that it will struggle to reach. There’s three issue in total, each forty pages long, but I don’t think I’ll be tracking down the next two.