Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Motherlands #1 Review and ***SPOILERS***


Stop In The Name Of Breasts

Written by: Simon Spurrier
Art by: Rachael Stott, Felipe Sobreiro, and Simon Bowland
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: January 31, 2018

***NON-SPOILERS AND SCORE AT BOTTOM***

To be honest, I didn't have the slightest idea of what to expect from this book. I'm not really a solicit reader and I haven't heard much about this title at all. I've never read anything from Simon Spurrier or Rachael Stott, so I didn't even know what to expect in terms of writing or art style. The cover looks awesome, but that is by Eric Canete, so I knew the internal art would be different. But for the most part, Vertigo's titles have been on a good run lately with Savage Things and Imaginary Fiends, so I have high hopes for this one as well. Let's take a peak in and see how things go in this opening issue.


Explain It!

The issue opens up thirty years before the main story. A ten-year old girls named Tabitha Tubach is sitting in a classroom being taught by robots. The robots give our first idea of what is going on in the story. They comment on how humans always spent their time wondering about what else was out there in terms of life, but instead of making contact with aliens or gods, it was another earth. They mention String Theory briefly, but pretty much just say that there are parallel earths that humans can travel between if the other earths share a similar aura to our earth. It's a brief explanation, but hopefully it gets more clear as the series progresses.



So Tabitha is called out of the classroom because her mom is there to see her. There are floating cameras following Tabitha now, so you get the idea that her mom is some kind of reality TV star. Once in the office, the principal explains that a man identifying himself as Tabitha's father came to the school and picked up her brother, Bubba. After supposedly taking Bubba to a dentist appointment, the man skipped earth and disappeared. They called in Selena Tubach because earth-hopping seems to be her area of expertise. Surprisingly, Tabitha isn't upset. She just says that her brother has left her behind.

Turn to the third page and it's 30 years later on String 4333981. Some fugitives are trying to escape to another earth, but Tabitha isn't having any of that. She stops them by exploding one of their heads with her hands and telling Boradd Klansis Het that he is wanted for questioning. She's wearing a wicked-looking mech suit that looks like it combines a little Iron Man, a little Captain America, and the color scheme of The Atom. It's a pretty badass introduction to Tabitha, both with her remark about her brother and now crushing a head with her hand.



Boradd goes running away, hopping through portals to different strings and cursing her out the entire way, but Tabitha just calmly follows along. Eventually he makes it to String 4333993 and thinks he's lost her. Yeahhhh, no. She pops in right behind him. He grabs a random guy to hold as a hostage and starts talking about her mom, how hot she was and how awesome her show was. That pisses Tabitha off to no end, but before we get to see what she does about it, we get a flashback of the specific episode Boradd is talking about.

Selena Tubach, in costume as the Scarlet Sylph, is chasing down a trawl, which I'm going to assume are string-hopping criminals since it hasn't actually specified that yet but they've mentioned them a couple of times. She catches up to this bank robber and instead of shooting him, she simply whips out her boobs. This entrances the guy and he goes to jail without a fight. Yeah, it's pretty strange. Boradd keeps going on and on about her mom, so Tabitha just ups and shoots the hostage in the leg and captures him.

Tabitha takes Boradd to String 0. He's talking about how much information he has but when she turns him in, he wasn't actually worth much money. As she's collecting her money, some big, gross, pink-bodied lady with a human head named Oona comes in with three severed heads hanging from a string and pushes Tabitha out of the way because she isn't "worth shit." Tabitha plays a good sport and moves aside while promising to get back at her when the time is right. Tabitha is talking to the money man, Jed, when they get information extracted from Boradd's mind. Apparently, he wasn't lying, and he actually had information on one of the ten most wanted criminals in the multiverse.

Tabitha gets extremely angry at this. Not only could she have had that information all to herself, but one of the only people alive with the ability to track someone using old equipment like this guy is her mom. She really doesn't like her mom. While her and Jeb are talking, Oona is lurking in the background and hears that Tabitha's mom could track this guy, so you can bet that she's going to go after Selena herself.

There is a quick flashback of Selena's husband/boyfriend leaving her because the time of the trawl hunters TV shows, or "huntertainment," was ending, then we move to Tabitha talking to her mom at the retirement home. Both of them are pretty mopey and full of complaining, but they do end up teaming up together to hunt down this criminal and earn 12 million "points." This first issue ends with Tabitha telling Selena that this top-ten most-wanted criminal they have to go hunt down is actually her son.



I'm really not sure how to feel about the start to this new series. While giving a whole lot of information, it didn't necessarily give me the information I wanted to know. I want to know how they learned to travel along these "strings," and if the differences on different strings are subtle or not, and what exactly trawls are, and why that criminal stopped at the sight of Selena's boobs. I just don't get it. I know that it's only the first issue and there is plenty of time to explain all of that, but I would've liked a little bit more from the robot teachers on that first page that would've given a little more background.

That being said, I do think this is setting up an entertaining story. The art didn't catch my eye at first but by the end I was really digging it. The characters, while a little trope-y, are fun enough to grab my interest and it's a really cool concept if it gets explained and developed a little more. The main issue I had, aside from not getting many answers, was that I felt like it was unnecessarily "mature." I don't mind cursing or nudity in a story if it serves a purpose within the narrative, but I feel like all of the cursing and boobs and sex talk was just thrown in here to seem edgy. Maybe the sex and the nudity will tie in later on, but as far as this issue goes I thought it was really over-the-top.

Bits and Pieces:

While the concept and characters here seem interesting enough, I feel like the mature aspect of this book was pushed a little too hard for a first issue. The art grows on you the more you read and the story could end up being a lot of fun, but there wasn't a lot of information to go on here. I do think Simon Spurrier can turn this into a pretty cool series moving forward, but I'm lukewarm on it at this point. I'm going to remain cautiously optimistic and give it a couple more issues before writing it off because there is just enough in this opening to make me want to see where this is heading.


6.1/10
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