Tabitha Tubach has worked hard to get out of the shadow of her famous mother, but all that work may have been for naught… Your Major Spoilers review of Motherlands #1 awaits!
Writer: Si Spurrier
Artist: Rachel Stott
Colorist: Felipe Sobriero
Letterer: Simon Bowland
Editor: Andy Khouri
Publisher: Vertigo/DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in Motherlands: “In a crazed future where unhinged technologies and interconnected parallel Earths have given rise to a spectacular class of super-criminal, the most beloved celebrities aren’t actors or rock stars, but the bounty hunters who traverse an exotic multiverse in search of impossible prey! But when the spotlight-shunning, strait-laced tracer known as Tab finds herself in an ultra-violent race for her greatest prize yet, she’s forced to work with her greatest enemy, the only person capable of IDing him: her own elderly, overbearing and hypercritical mother, who was once the most fabulous and celebrated bounty hunter of them all.”
So, for some reason, I’ve been looking at this cover and the solicits, I got it in my head that this book was medieval high-fantasy-type stuff… I was wrong. We open with a flashback to the past (but since it’s the far-future, this past is still the future to you and me) as young Tabitha Tubach is called out of class to meet with her mother, the legendary bounty hunter/reality star The Scarlet Sylph. It quickly becomes clear that this isn’t just a normal day, as her brother has also been pulled out of school by their father, and both have apparently gone missing. Cut forward to the story’s present day, where we find that Tabitha has followed in mom’s footsteps (in a less vulgar and overtly obscene way) as a bounty hunter. But she doesn’t enjoy the same level of success and notoriety, getting disrespected and abused by her peers and her quarry alike. Then, a particularly worthwhile bounty arrives, one that causes Tabitha to f-bomb for several pages before calling in mom to help track down… her own long-lost brother.
INVENTIVE AND ATTRACTIVE ART
The thing about this issue that jumps out first is the wonderful art, showing us futuristic battle tech, various and sundry humanoids, mutants and aliens and one long chase across a futuristic landscape. (There’s also a showoff panel where Scarlet Sylph takes off her top to distract a mark, likewise well-drawn but not tawdry.) Everyone’s facial expressions are delicate and complex, and it’s worth noting that young Scarlet Sylph and old Selena Tubach are clearly the same person at different ages, a very difficult prospect for even the most talented artist. As for our story, I’m not always easy to rope into dystopian, dehumanizing future-scapes, but this issue hooked me from the first page, where we see young Tabitha casually doodling what seems to be her mother’s murder…
THE BOTTOM LINE: NOT AT ALL WHAT I EXPECTED, IN A VERY GOOD WAY
Even though this isn’t what I expected, I liked what I got and really appreciate the balance of world-building and attention to character these creators pull off. Motherlands #1 is well-drawn, well-conceived and does some fun new things with familiar tools and settings, earning a well-deserved 4 out of 5 stars overall. I recommend getting in on this one…