By Cat Wyatt
Motherlands #6 is the final issue in this series by Vertigo, and it has been quite the emotional roller coaster. We’ve been following the life of Tab, which has had its painful moments. The last issues revelation has left us anxious to see what happens next, though that emotion is tinted with a hint of dread…
The issue starts off in the past as we’ve seen again and again. This is the moment where Tab has decided to move on and make her own life out of things. Can’t blame the girl – her mother hasn’t done much for her and she certainly never made any attempt to ensure Tab’s happiness. At least this way Tab has control over her own life.
Naturally, Sylph takes offense to the idea of Tab wanting to strike out on her own. She legitimately can’t fathom why Tab isn’t happy with her, or why she’d want to leave. She certainly doesn’t think that Tab could handle herself, or be happier carving her own path out of life.
Back to the present, and the nasty revelation we’ve just heard. Sylph is dead. She has been dead for a couple of weeks now. The woman that Tab has been interacting with this whole time is a clone. That’s why her memories were wiped, so she wouldn’t know that she was, in fact, a clone, rather than the real thing.
Sylph went through all of this trouble, and for what? A chance at redemption with Tab? A chance to get Bubba back? Both? Or was it something more than that? Was this a final last-ditch attempt to ensure her legacy lived on?
Tab…understandably Tab doesn’t take the news too well. The news of the loss as well as the lost opportunity to gain something back in her relationship with her mother… it’s palpable. Plus there’s the obvious fact that once again she’s been tricked and used by her own mother. Only this time there’s nothing she can do or say to make her mother understand why that was wrong because her mother is gone. She’s in a place where she’ll never hear Tab’s screams of pain and anger.
Meanwhile the poor Sylph clone really isn’t doing much better. Think about it, she just learned that she’s a clone. She’s still dying, she’s not the original, and even worse, her original, the origin of her self-identity, is dead. That would be overwhelming for anybody.
Couple that with the flood of recently renewed memories…and it’s tough. She now knows what Sylph planned and just how much she went through to make it happen. She did it all so that Tab could hunt down Bubba. Apparently she wanted Bubba taken in, but she couldn’t bring herself to do it personally, as it isn’t right to do that to one’s own child. We’ll apparently ignore the fact that she’s okay with using her own child to hunt another child…
There’s likely more to what Sylph was hoping to accomplish here, but if there is she won’t state what it is. Likely her clone has an inkling, being that they more or less share an identity and everything that comes with it.
No matter how much Tab is hurting right now, or perhaps it’s because of the pain, Tab has decided to finish the mission. That means taking on the Hub to get to Bubba. She’s a beast in the fight, showing how little she cares about her own physical wellbeing as well as the damage she causes to others. Her clothes get ruined, she takes countless bullets, but she takes out more of them than they counted on.
Apparently Tab was more ready for this fight than we realized. She had quick-scab dermal spores, three anti-sepsis implants, and a didactic dampener to help ignore the pain. Between those three things she’ll walk out of this building just fine. Not sure what her emotional state will be after the fact, but that can be dealt with later.
Her casual attitude around Bubba was all the motivation he needed to show his true colors. It’s a shame, really. Bubba was given everything Tab ever wanted, and he wasted it. That alone would have kept Tab from ever reconciling with the brother that abandoned her. Taking a gun to her head certainly didn’t help any. It turns out that Bubba only cared about his reputation and the money…so apparently he didn’t end up all that different from his mother after all. Ironic, isn’t it?
In a way Sylph did get her dying wish. Bubba was arrested, not killed. If that’s all she cared about, then she got it. He may not have much of a life from here on out, but he’s alive. Hopefully that’d be good enough for her, because she burned a lot of bridges to get it done. Not that she cares, being dead and all.
As traumatic as the whole experience was, Tab will probably come out on top of all this. She’s gotten closure about two messed up relationships with her life, is finally getting credit for her abilities to do her job, and has earned some self-confidence. That’s huge. And hopefully it’s enough.
This was a fantastic and emotionally jarring series. They never once pulled the punch, and they were unafraid to make you feel for the characters involved. They may have let it build up too strongly at points, but the end result was worth it. It’ll be interesting to see what the creators work on next – hopefully they stick together as a team.