Bad enough Tabitha has had to accept a bounty on her own brother, now her dying mother is getting involved to try and save his life. What’s a futuristic cyborg bounty hunter to do? Your Major Spoilers review of Motherlands #5 awaits!
Writer: Si Spurrier
Artist: Rachael Stott
Colorist: Felipe Sobreiro
Letterer: Simon Bowland
Editor: Andy Khouri
Publisher: Vertigo/DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: May 23, 2018
Previously in Motherlands: Bounty hunter Tabitha Tubach has been given her most difficult bounty yet: Her own brother! Things are complicated by the presence of her elderly mother, a former bounty hunter herself, who wants to save her son from her daughter. Can they work out their family differences before the Multiversal Mafia kills them all?
Face to face with her own brother (who is also the imposing masked weirdo from the cover, which should tell you all you need to know about his innocence), Tab is interrupted by the arrival of her mom, Selena, who gets involved seemingly to save Bubba’s life. He escapes, but mother and daughter have a tense confrontation of their own, during which Tab explains that Selena’s money ran out years ago, and she has been paying out of pocket for her mother’s health expenses. Worse, Selena stole the cybernetic rig she has been using and ran away from the care home, just in time for the Multiversal Mafia to attack. Tabitha makes short and gruesome work of their pursuers, but Selena’s injuries force her to use the rig’s healing functions, which brings back her memory…
The memory that she is a clone and the real Selena is already dead.
THAT’S A SHOCKER
Motherlands #5 isn’t your standard fare, and sometimes it’s hard to understand but even harder to explain. The last page reveal is really effective for both Tab and Selena, but it works for the audience because of the strength of Stott’s art and the slow, subtle build throughout the issue. Stott creates some amazing combat sequences in these pages, and I have to say I appreciate how the technology has its own style. Rather than streamlined, everything is large and bulbous like a fifties automobile, an aesthetic which I really enjoy, especially in Tab’s bulky, oversized armor unit. This issue also has some wonderful character work and dialogue, as Tabitha remembers her mother trying to “comfort” her after a teenage breakup, a moment which informs their contemporary conflict and really sells the point that they are family, with decades of history to play with. That’s the kind of detail that some comics can never nail, but Spurrier and Stott have it cold in these pages.
BOTTOM LINE: THE GOOD KIND OF WEIRD
In short, Motherlands #5 is a throwback to early Vertigo, or even before, in the pre-Vertigo science fiction titles of the late 80s, like Skreemer or Tailgunner Jo, and it delivers both hard-hitting action and mother-daughter arguments with equal skill and entertaining art, earning 4 out of 5 stars overall. Next issue is the last, but I’m hoping to see more from this creative team, especially if it’s in this world…