Redemption #1: Time for a Feminist SciFi Spaghetti Western

Crime novelist Christa Faust and artist Mike Deodato Jr. are on a roll with AWA Studio's imprint Upshot. Just as her crime series Bad Mother concludes, her feminist Science Fiction Spaghetti Western begins. Redemption #1 sets the stage for a post-apocalyptic Western where the deadly laconic Clint Eastwood-style gunslinger figure is a tough, mean old lady.

Redemption #1: Time for a Feminist SciFi Spaghetti Western
"Redemption #1" cover art, courtesy of AWA Studios

Set in an unspecified post-apocalyptic future of desert wasteland towns where water is a precious commodity, the series immediately plants its flag in the sand. A woman doctor is sentenced to death for helping an underage rape victim abort her unwanted foetus. The town's mayor is a patriarch who controls the populace, especially the women, with an iron fist – his brutal sheriff literally has a metal cybernetic eye.

Redemption #1: Time for a Feminist SciFi Spaghetti Western
Page from "Redemption #1", AWA Studios

The woman has been plotting a revolt, and her execution threatens to stop her campaign dead, so her daughter sets out to find help: a former soldier turned bounty hunter who's the deadliest gunslinger and fighter in the wasteland.

Redemption #1: Time for a Feminist SciFi Spaghetti Western
Page from "Redemption #1", AWA Studios

Deodato cheekily and unsubtly chooses Linda Hamilton as the model for Cat Turner. That's right; it's Linda Hamilton in a hat and duster with the T-800's steel right hand because her real hand was cut off in a betrayal years before. That's enough to keep her pissed off for decades and enough to make her kill a bar full of what were almost certainly assholes before she gets a drink. This is the Linda Hamiton we saw in Terminator: Dark Fate – grizzled, bitter, cursing like a sailor, and remorselessly, ruthlessly violent. Imagine if she continued to work after that movie and was offered the roles she deserves.

Redemption #1: Time for a Feminist SciFi Spaghetti Western
Page from "Redemption #1", AWA Studios

The first issue of every AWA Studios Upshot comic is the first half of the story's set-up. It usually takes the end of the second issue to show what direction the series is going to head in, though by the end of Redemption #1, you get a pretty good idea of what's to come. Action! Beatings! Hiss-worthy, mustache-twirling villains! Betrayals! Lots of shooting! Everything you expect from an action series. Spaghetti Westerns, generally written and directed by Marxist screenwriters and directors in Italy in the 1960s, have always been overtly political and definitely on the left. They weren't liberal; they were always openly socialist in their message.

Christa Faust pushes a pro-choice, feminist, anti-patriarchal message practically from page 1. Hence, you know what you're in for, and anyone who objects to any of this is pretty much revealing themselves. This is a prime example of polemic through pulp entertainment, which some might argue is the best kind of pop entertainment of all. We're talking Mad Max meets Sergio Leone meets Feminism here. The stage is set for all-out action, backstabbings, literal stabbings, and lots of shooting, mostly of misogynist men getting their comeuppance. You're either here for the ride, or you're not.

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About Adi Tantimedh

Adi Tantimedh is a filmmaker, screenwriter and novelist who just likes to writer. He wrote radio plays for the BBC Radio, “JLA: Age of Wonder” for DC Comics, “Blackshirt” for Moonstone Books, and “La Muse” for Big Head Press. Most recently, he wrote “Her Nightly Embrace”, “Her Beautiful Monster” and “Her Fugitive Heart”, a trilogy of novels featuring a British-Indian private eye published by Atria Books, a division Simon & Schuster.
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