Valiant’s ‘War Mother’ #1 a treasure trove of stunning apocalyptic imagery
By Brandy Dykhuizen. Don’t you love it when you pick up the first issue of the series, and you can just tell it’s gonna be a great run? War Mother #1 packs quite a bit into its inaugural 32 pages, and every inch of it counts.
The 41st Century looks like one hell of a mess, with Earth having transformed into a Mos Eisley-level gathering of scoundrels. Biomechanical humanoids scavenge the ruins for tradable trinkets and spare parts. Grinning, bipedal dinosaur-like monsters scavenge the ruins for the humanoids. The War Mother, Ana, and her War Son, Flaco, try to make sense of it all from a distance and forge a path to survival for the remaining humans. Their options have become limited since she killed the previous leader: Either stay home in The Grove and die, or move the community out of The Grove and live to die another day.
The affection Fred Van Lente feels for Ana is apparent at every turn. She’s the mother, the martyr, the woman who can beat the baddies, stock the mess hall, raise a child and coddle an ungrateful husband before breakfast each day. It’s not that she wears many hats or stretches herself thin, she just performs the necessary tasks because there’s no one else who can. And besides, isn’t blowing shit up a little bit fun?
While it’s clear that mayhem must ensue in order to come out on top, Van Lente lets us know this book is not about that. Ana’s characterization is deliberate, measured and even-keeled. The sky is falling around us, but we still get the impression that slow and steady wins the race.
Stephen Segovia treats the titular character with equal awe, posing Ana in most panels like a monument, hair blowing nobly in the wind (even indoors — gotta love that). Like the story, the art is straight-forward, functional yet arresting. It captures your gaze and reaps rewards for more thorough second readings. Elmer Santos’ and Andrew Dalhouse’s reverential respect for light sources sews Segovia’s pages together into a cohesive whole. We feel The End of Days’ slow burn right along with Ana and Flaco.
War Mother will be exciting, there’s no doubt about that. It’s gearing up to be the kind of story you could imagine on the big screen. Buy it for the dystopian survival wars, love it for the TLC that bore it.
Written by Fred Van Lente.
Art Stephen Segovia.
Colors by Elmer Santos with Andrew Dalhouse.
Letters by David Sharpe.
8.5 out of 10