With just a few words, and highly detailed art, so much is conveyed in this stand alone issue for War Mother, Valiant’s newest hero. If you haven’t read a single 4001 A.D. book or tie-in there could be some trepidation. From the outside, it looks like a long going and complicated story. However, everything you need to know, for this story, is slowly unfolded throughout this issue.
Several comparisons have been made about Ana (War Mother) being a comic equivalent of Furiosa from Mad Max: Fury Road. There is no doubt that Furiosa fans will find a kindred spirit in Ana. However, her unique environment and desires set her apart from Furiosa. Ana is a great character in her own right.
The best thing this issue does is convey so much about this world with so few words. Tomas Girello’s art and Brian Reber’s colors is one obvious reason. There are a few panels, in the beginning, that are unclear with heavy facial shadows, cross hatching and awkward figures. However, once Ana gets out of the village and onto her main mission, her solo figure in the jungle landscape wins over. Overplayed panels with clear gutters keep the action tight and the drama intense. Action sequences are bumped up with diagonal views and Ana crossing panels. It helps to make for a quick read, but you don’t feel cheated by the intense plot.
Ana’s village, The Grove, grows their own technology. That’s right, grows, with items called “bio-materials.” This helps to create a unique and easily lovable character named Flaco. Similar in feel to Machine Man or Vision, Flaco still takes a different approach to sentient mechanics and cyborgs. Instead of coming into the story knowing everything and needing a lesson in humility, Flaco is every bit a child and unsure of himself as any other new being. It’s only with Ana’s guidance and teaching that he learns what he is capable of doing. This allows for some great “motherly” lines from Ana, “… because I tell you,” fashion.
Ana is the mother of the village because she goes out and finds the technology and materials they cannot grow. Van Lente hints at great sadness and loss within Ana’s own life. However, he doesn’t have it drag the whole story down in exposition. It’s part of her, but it is not all of her. It’s just enough to explain, clearly, why she is willing to make the plot altering decisions she, and Flaco, make.
Among the threads of the story there is high intensity action. The “War” part of Ana’s title is not in name alone. There is also commentary on selective DNA conception processes, affluent parenthood, and the idea that childbearing is a woman’s ultimate goal. The rapid fire of these jokes has me in tears, from laughing so hard.
There is such a strong feeling of hope, power and joy at the end of this issue. It makes me crave more War Mother. If you need more she is yout may want to check out Valiant’s event from last summer, Book of Death. It’s only a cameo, but I’m looking for all the War Mother available, right now! Hopefully, Valiant capitalizes on this strong figure and pushes ahead with future issues or the full series that Ana deserves.
The Verdict: 9.0/10