Series: 4001 A.D.
Written by Fred Van Lente
Art by Tomás Giorello
Colors by Brian Reber
Publiher: Valiant Comics
Summary from Comixology: “Witness the battle-scarred debut of Valiant’s top-secret new hero! As the war for 4001 A.D. rages, the coming of War Mother starts now in all-new standalone adventure torn from the pages of the summer’s biggest comics event! In the 41st century, much of the planet has been reduced to a barren wasteland. New Japan orbits the Earth as a floating oasis that towers over the ashes of the old world. The survivors of this desolate new age, robbed of the planet’s once-lush natural resources, must endure great hardships to survive. Amidst the devastation, one outpost of scientific knowledge has thrived by adhering to a strict code of isolation. But even the denizens of this walled city must venture out into the wasteland to gather supplies from the remnants of what was. This task is designated to one and one alone: War Mother. But all is not peaceful, even in New Japan. When the space-faring empire begins jettisoning city-sized sectors to Earth during the onset of a civil war, War Mother is called upon with a new mission: mega-salvage! Armed with a newly born sentient sniper rifle, War Mother is a one-woman army bent on sacking the crash-landed sector’s technology-laden debris for anything of value to her tribe. But, as calm turns to chaos, Sector 8146 will reveal a telling secret about Earth’s true order that will collide War Mother against her community, her code, and her calling?and bring destruction down upon one of humanity’s last surviving outposts of order. Out of the ashes of the summer’s most ambitious crossover event, New York Times best-selling writer Fred Van Lente (GENERATION ZERO) and spectacular rising star Tomas Giorello (Conan) introduce the Valiant Universe to the boldest new hero of this century or the next when War Mother makes her history-shattering debut!”
Of all the 4001 A.D. one-shots, I anticipated this one the most. Well, maybe it was a tie between this and Shadowman, but nonetheless I have been eagerly awaiting the release of War Mother. There’s just something about a strong female character who kicks ass and vanquishes her foes. I don’t know how to explain it, or why it captivates me so much. It just does.
I love that the title is War MOTHER, and not something obvious and cheesy like, Lady Murder, or Death Queen, or Warrioress. (Yes, Autocorrect, you’re right. That isn’t a word.) I appreciate Valiant having the foresight and intuition to let the characters banner reflect the most powerful thing about women, which is their ability to give life. I mean, they’re f***ing superheroes for Chrissake. (No, Autocorrect, you’re wrong. That is a word, and I googled it to be sure.) Women grow humans inside of their body and then birth them. I’ve watched my own wife go through it three times and it is by far the most incredible human attribute and we dudes just sit there like, “Uh, I… I can pee standing up…?” The idea of a War Mother, a woman built and designed to birth war, or at the very least be the sole protector of an entire city, is deeply and profoundly satisfying.
War Mother feels like a flawlessly original character influenced by some iconic classic characters. I’d say there’s a little bit of Frank Castle in there, crossed with some Furiosa, and even a little of Valiant’s own Eternal Warrior. But I noticed a little Ghost Rider maybe too. That sounds like a stretch, right? I’ll explain. So, War Mother’s “sentient sniper rifle”, which she calls FLACO, is fully brought to life when she partners it with her targeting interface, which a small device that looks similar to an iPhone. When that is locked into the rifle it becomes aware and she can communicate with it. One of the things I love about the Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance film is when Johnny uses the spirit to take over a giant mining machine and proceeds to lay waste to all the guys attacking him. I like the idea of him being able to utilize the spirit to take control of any vehicle, not just a motorcycle. I see the same possibilities here with War Mother. You could put a bazooka in her hands, or a drop her in a big-ass tank and she could turn all her ensuing enemies to ash.
I’ll say this though, I look forward to more from this character because I’d really love a story-arc where she has to manage a tough situation without Flaco or her targeting interface. I know I’m getting WAY ahead of myself here, but I just thing it would be exciting to see how she handles things without those two at her behest.
The artwork of War Mother is handled by Tomás Giorello, who’s previously done work on Batman and Robin, Green Lantern, and the Star Wars comics from Dark Horse. He’s also done covers for Bloodshot Reborn and Wrath of the Eternal Warrior, so some of you Valiant fans may recognize his work from that. I really love his style. It seems like it’s got a little John Romita Jr. influence to it, but it doesn’t feel blocky like JRR’s form does. There are some absolutely beautiful panels, one in particular where this huge, underground dwelling creature comes erupting from the dirt to attack War Mother, where Giorello’s detailed line-work is perfectly accentuated by Brian Reber’s colors and the whole page feels like it’s jumping out at you. It makes you hope to see more from this team in the future.
If you haven’t been reading Valiant’s 4001 A.D. event, then I strongly urge you to head down to your local comic shop and pick up all the issues, but even if you don’t read it, you can still read this story and not be lost. There’s enough of a recap to let you know what’s going on so that you don’t feel lost. The story is self-contained as much as it can be, and even leaves some mystery in the past so that not only could we get some great ongoing stories from War Mother, but Valiant has left themselves room to explore her origins as well.
Do yourself a favor a pick up this comic. Fred Van Lente nails the story and the tone, and the art team of Giorello and Reber paint a gorgeous scenery and cast of characters. 4001 A.D.: War Mother #1 hits comic shops tomorrow, or you can click the link at the top of the page to get it digitally from Comixology.
Music Pairing –
I recommend pairing Danish black metal songstress Myrkur with War Mother #1. Her music makes for a fantastic soundtrack to the story.