Review - War Mother #1 (@ValiantComics)

"Now you're seeing."

When faced with a post-apocalyptic world it helps to have your wits about you, a fearlessness and a weapon that's somehow related to you. In War Mother #1 from Valiant Comics, all of the above and more are on display. The issue is written by Fred Van Lente, illustrated by Stephen Segovia, colored by Elmer Santos with Andrew Dalhouse and lettered by Dave Sharpe.

Two millennia from today, Earth is not the hospitable home we once we knew. Ravaged by an endless onslaught of war, disaster, and time, the world is littered with desolate badlands, fortified kingdoms, and secretive enclaves where humanity still clings to life... Enclaves like The Grove - Earth's last known repository of scientific knowledge and bioengineered prosperity. Now, under the leadership of the lone protector called War Mother and her sentient sniper rifle, the denizens of The Grove face a critical choice: remain where they are and die, or find a new land and flourish. Can War Mother lead her people out of isolation and reignite the fires of a dying planet? And even if she can locate the distant citadel she seeks, can she fight back the horrors and perverse monstrosities that lurk just beyond her doorstep?

What's remarkable about War Mother #1 is the way Van Lente builds out the story and builds it to a crescendo. War Mother is a character who moves quite effortlessly through her world--thanks to some deft characterization on the part of Van Lente. She's the vehicle for the narrative as Van Lente funnels everything through her point of view in a way that takes the reader on a ride-along with her. It's an interesting way to present the story, primarily because it lets Van Lente further embolden War Mother's credentials based on how others react to the mere mention of her name. Van Lente really gets down to what makes the War Mother tick and by the end of the issue the reader can empathize with all the responsibility she bears.

Making the book feel very polished is Segovia's illustrations, all of which are gorgeous. War Mother is illustrated with a quiet ferocity that is complete in convincing the reader that she's every bit as dangerous as those who fear her believe. Panel arrangements shift throughout the book and help propel the action throughout the issue, allowing Segovia to gracefully capture all the battles that break out within the pages of the book. The way Segovia also handles perspectives of the characters is impressive as well, in that it magnifies the expressions of each of the characters to further impress upon the reader the magnitude of the stakes. The colors by Santos and Dalhouse are equally as beautiful, infusing the issue with a vividness that belies the otherwise depressed setting.

War Mother #1 is a brilliant first issue that further explores the world and character of War Mother. She's a capable fighter who always does what's necessary to be just, but the end of the issue shows that she might not always be able to overcome. Van Lente's pacing and presentation is subtly fantastic as it doesn't club the reader over the head with facts and expository. The artwork by Segovia is brilliant and a perfect fit to keep up with the story. War Mother #1 is a great first issue that fans of the character will definitely want to check out, but there's also plenty there for newcomers as well.

War Mother #1 is available now.