Publisher: Vertigo Comics
Writer: Si Spurrier
Artist: Rachael Stott
Colours: Felippe Sobreiro
Release Date: 31st January 2018
It seems fitting to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Vertigo not just by looking back, but by looking forward also. It’s easy to get stuck in their impressive back catalogue, but let’s not forget that it’s still going strong. It’s also easy to think that its shtick of edgy, dark, funny comic for “mature” readers has been superseded into irrelevance by a post-Indie, post-Image generation.
Motherlands is here to prove you wrong.
Now let’s be clear: this is not some metaphysical, metatextual mind-melter. It’s a romp through reality, a fun, irreverent and occasionally rude chase through a multiverse of modified humans, bounty hunters and infinite possibilities. And, to be honest, that’s exactly what Vertigo needs, reminding us that it doesn’t have to be earnest or intellectual – it can be just damn enjoyable grown-up comics.
Mildred (yes, Mildred) is the daughter of the greatest Retriever – bounty hunter/media personality – of all time; her mother would use her wit, weaponry and womanly assets to take out the Multiverse’s most wanted, all the time to camera. But Daddy left and took her brother (willingly), escaping across reality. Now, 30 years later, Mom’s a haggard wreck in a home, Mildred’s a down at heel, hardworking, unmodified human hunter. No glamour, no glory, just pulling down the scum of the Strings (parallel worlds) for rent money. But when the score of a lifetime comes along, she’s got no choice to join up with her crotchety old mother and hunt down … Well, you know who by now, right?
It’s a good premise, if not unpredictable. But it’s also royally entertaining, and will bring a grin to your face, I guarantee. The art is edgy and engaging – let’s face it, Stott knows her sci-fi, and boy can you tell – with a clear continuity between time periods, and the colouring gives a distinct, logical sense of the individual Strings.
This is an excellent addition to the Vertigo canon, bringing a very British, 2000ad vibe to current line-up (which again, after 25 years, seems very fitting). I know that maybe I shouldn’t emphasise the sheer, ludicrous enjoyability of this, but I’m all too aware that many folk will go into this expecting hard sci-fi and existential angst. That’s not what Motherlands is. It’s foul mouthed, disrespectful and trashy. Long may it continue.
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