By Dustin Cabeal
War-Mother... is just a weird combination of words to say together. Also, and I know this is shitty to bag on first, but that Mack cover isn’t good. The image is fine, but the font and everything else is at this point dated. The dude’s artwork hasn’t evolved, and so seeing this cover was like seeing a left over Daredevil cover from the heydays of Marvel’s rebound in comics.
That aside, this issue was an interesting start. I know there was a one-shot or a mini (I forget) before this and Fred Van Lente manages to recap the events of that story throughout this issue. It still leaves new readers feeling a bit left out, myself included because I didn’t read that storyline. I do get that the society in which War-Mother is the protector of, had a ruler that wouldn’t let the people leave his walls. Kind of a dick father figure, but he did keep the food and protection flowing. Sounds like he just wanted some friends, but you had to play by his rules. Just saying, it’s a post-apocalyptic landscape… maybe just roll with the punches or kill the fucker.
Anyway, War-Mother is looking for a place that the fam can live because the dude keeping everything alive is… well dead. This puts her through some interesting conflicts with some mutated freaks and such, while the story bounces around giving backstory and developing War-Mother’s relationship with her husband and adopted child, who creepily calls them adopted parents.
I’m curious to read more of this story. I don’t know how it fits in with the Valiant landscape, but at the same time, I hope it’s just on the fringe. That’s really what will make Valiant grow in that it won’t be tied to continuity like so many other publishers. Taking chances on titles like War-Mother is quite interesting.
Van Lente’s writing is of course solid. He’s familiar with what’s become the Valiant style because he helped craft it. He’s more and more at home with the publisher and has yet to crank out a bad book with the publisher. My point is, if you’ve enjoyed his other Valiant work, then you’ll enjoy this issue as well.
As for the art, I would have read this regardless of who wrote it (no offense Mr. Van Lente), because I love Stephen Segovia’s artwork. He’s become a recognizable artist at Valiant. His style is one of the core artistic styles that people think of when they think Valiant. Essentially, he’s helped create their “House Style, ” and Valiant is all the better for it. The art is fantastic, flowing nicely when there’s action, feeling human and approachable when there are character moments. Segovia has become masterful over the past few years.
Here’s the thing though, while War-Mother is a solid first issue, it’s nothing spectacular. It’s solid, it’s consistent and leaves you on the hook wanting more. For sure, I’ll be back to read more, but I’m not blown away by this issue. It’s good, but it’s not a game changer or even particularly fresh. That doesn’t mean it’s not entertaining or that the series won’t have these moments later one, just that it’s not present in this first issue. There’s nothing wrong with that either.
Writer: Fred Van Lente
Artist: Stephen Segovia
Colorist: Elmer Santos with Andrew Dalhouse
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Publisher: Valiant Comics