Review: War Mother #1

Fred Van Lente serves up pure unadulterated fire in issue #1 of War Mother. This premiere issue has all the makings of an action packed, fun to follow tale of a post apocalyptic world and a female leader searching for a safe place for her people. The issue starts off with an intensity that carries through from beginning to end with both fierce action and sweet moments peppered in between. Stephen Segovia‘s art style is stylish yet simple making this issue visually appealing and propels the story forward with panels creating meaning and context without the need for words.

There’s usually a problem when male creators attempt to create a universe centered around a strong female, they either over sexualize her, make her strong because of unnecessary pain, or they make her dependent upon others for her agency. Van Lente doesn’t subject his heroine to that fate and Segovia’s art work doesn’t lend itself to the male gaze.

The creative team behind War Mother does its characters proud and creates a strong, feral and complex world in which there is a sense of equality and growth in a post apocalyptic universe. There is a female leader and while her male partner stays home with their adopted child as she goes out to find a new home for her people. Despite this non traditional role reversal there is no hint of either partner being subjugated, they are equals and both doing their part. Van Lente doesn’t make his lead character devious, man hating or unworthy nor does he emasculate her male partner, instead he shows a family functioning as it should with both partners taking on equal , interchangeable roles as care giver, protector and provider. It was a refreshing and realistic take on things that allows his character to not only be more relatable but, provide a hint of honesty and glimpse into what equality really looks like.

Overall, I found War Mother to be beautifully written and I was drawn intro into a new world order where men and women fight and raise families side by side in a broken world as the inhabitants try and find hope and retain what’s good in society. Despite the bleakness of the situation and the darkness of the cliff hanger in the final pages, we are given hope in a dark place and with everything going on in the real world, a glimpse into humanity and heroes surviving in a post apocalyptic society is beautiful and somewhat needed. Especially, if that society shows the idea that a woman can lead in a comic book universe without falling prey to sexualization and having her gender be deemed a weakness.

Story: Fred Van Lente Art: Stephen Segovia
Story: 9.4 Art: 8.9 Overall: 9.1 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a free copy for review