By Cat Wyatt
Motherlands is one of those series that really knows how to rip out your heart and stomp on it. Every time you think you’ve got the series figured out, and that you’ve seen the worst it has to offer, it throws another curveball at you. Motherlands #5 is no exception to this rule, so be prepared. The last issue left us off with Tabitha finally successfully tracking down Bubba, only to find him grieving over his dead father.
Now, if you’re wondering if Tabitha is the type of person to bring down a bounty while they’re in mourning, well you really shouldn’t be wondering that. The answer is very clearly and obviously yes, she absolutely would do that. Even if the bounty was her brother.
There are a few problems with this scenario. One obviously is the fact that Tabitha is willing to kill Bubba if she has to. This is probably because she feels abandoned and betrayed by him, but that’s hardly the point. The second issue here is that Bubba doesn’t seem to recognize Tabitha. That’s fair, he left when he was pretty young, and all of their communication after that was strictly him sending messages to her, never the other way around. And the last issue is, obviously, Sylph. For whatever reason she’s stubbornly parental about Bubba and under no circumstances wants to see him hurt or dead.
So there you have it, the most awkward family reunion ever. Oh wait, it gets worst! Bubba thinks that Sylph showed up out of the blue and killed Frank, his father and her ex-lover. Um, awkward. Also, pretty easy to believe, given what we know about her.
Sylph doesn’t try and make excuses about it, which is probably for the best. She even admits that she may have done it, but she simply can’t remember doing it, thanks to having her memory wiped. In retrospect, makes it sound like she did it and then wiped her memory of the truth. To be fair, the woman really does not handle rejection well.
There’s really no better time for a bunch of shocking revelations that an awkward family reunion, right? Well let’s hope so, because there’s a lot of it! Tabitha has been footing the bill for Sylph staying in her nursing home, which at a quick glance seems pretty generous, given their relationship. So naturally Sylph thinks the money was going towards making her stay there and be miserable, as opposed to you know, giving her the lifesaving cancer treatments she needs. Sounds about right.
Apparently Tab took up the bill, no pun intended, when Sylph’s money ran out. She would have moved her someplace nicer if she could have, but between the money and the fear that the move would kill her mom, she let it be. This makes it pretty clear that no matter how much Tab would love to just hate her mom, cut her out of her life and be done with it, she just can’t bring herself to do so. It’s pretty heartbreaking, actually.
Speaking of, that chair Sylph is in? Remember how she stole it? Well the original owners are still tracking it, and thus her. This directly results with our favorite bounty hunter, the pink goo lady, showing up; because this whole situation isn’t complicated enough. The fight is pretty decent, all things considered. Not as fun as the last fight they had with her, but its close.
Also, the chair isn’t what we thought it was. Everybody, including Sylph, thought it was a life support chair. It makes sense; she’s fighting off cancer and needed mobility, so one would naturally assume that the chair is providing both, right? Wrong. Okay, it’s still providing mobility, but that isn’t its primary purpose. It’s something much worse.
The revelation of what that chair does, or in this case did, and the implications it brings with it…it’s all pretty horrific and gut-wrenching. Tab has been through a lot this series, so it’s really difficult not to feel for her. Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse for her, with all of her mommy issues, they found a way to top it.
This issue, like the others, has managed to find a balance between action and emotion. Granted, the emotion is almost always of the gut punch sort, but it still solicits an emotional response from the readers, and in that sense it’s successful at its job. Unlike the last few issues though, this one has left us with more questions than it’s raised. Previously it was fun being along for the ride, as it was easy to get defensive of Tab and mad at Sylph. But now we’re wondering what the heck is actually going on, and what motive Sylph could possibly have for acting this way.
The artwork has been pretty consistent through all of the series, and in an odd way really matches the emotions being shown. The artwork is raw and not afraid of showing us the hard truth, or in this case graphic details. There are no punches pulled, which is both good and bad. Many readers probably would have been happy to see a little less of Bubba, if you know what I mean, but that’s the way it is.