War Mother TPB
Writer: Fred Van Lente
Artists: Tomas Giorello, Stephen Segovia
Colourists: Brian Reber, Elmer Santos, Andrew Dalhouse
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Review by Josh Rose
You know who has great characters? Valiant. You know what they do? Create awesome female characters and give them their own series. Faith is one. Ana (aka War Mother) is another, and they couldn’t be more different. Set in the year 4001 AD, and thanks to New Japan orbiting the earth, the world is dystopian. Monsters, androids, cyborgs, and humans have evolved in this world. Some areas are desolate, and others like the Breath of the Jade are dense jungles. War Mother TPB is about Ana and her tribe trying to survive in the middle of a jungle while their village falls apart.
Let’s talk about Ana’s character. She’s called the War Mother. She’s the bread winner in the family and one of the leaders in her village. This creates a bit of conflict between her and her husband. She was raised to put the tribe before herself. But, she’s determined and hard as nails. She scavenges for materials for the village, and sometimes that means she has to fight other scavengers.
Fred Van Lente has this strong female character in a setting that is strange to readers. He’s touching a bit on gender roles and how that affects masculine egos, but mostly he’s exploring the relationships between all of these different characters: between Ana and her gun Flaco, Ana and her family, Ana and the rest of the village, and her sons’ relationships with their parents and each other.
Van Lente also does a great job introducing readers to this new world in 4001. Ana explains how the world works to Flaco, who was just activated for a scavenging mission, and, to Max, a boy she adopted from New Japan when he fell to Earth. All the explaining and complex relationships aside, Ana and her people live in the middle of a jungle with tons of creatures that want to eat and scavenge.
Tomas Giorell and, Stephen Segovia step in and make it an action epic with tons of explosions and blood. And the androids that have the appearance of 1800’s French servants are a lot of fun to look at. The colourists–Brian Reber, Elmer Santos, Andrew Dalhouse–all do an amazing job. Their use of greens really make it feel as if you’re in the jungle. The purples and blues even feel like real sunsets, using deeper purples as the pages progress to almost complete blue for the night.
And, how about that Dave Sharpe? He did an amazing job of providing lettering for each of the different intelligent species in the Jade. The humans have a slightly different style than the Urbanites, the androids and even Flaco, Ana’s gun. He has a different styles for each sound effect and echo as well. Letterers are truly under-appreciated, and Sharpe deserves some recognition.
Buy it. Post-apocalyptic, dystopian future? Check. Monsters? Check. Action and romance? Check. Bad-ass woman of colour with a huge, talking gun? Double check! War Mother TPB has it all! And best of all: no prior Valiant experience required!
War Mother TPB will be available in stores Wednesday, February 28, 2018.