When humanity finally made contact with other intelligent life, it wasn’t gods or angels or aliens who came to say hello. It was people. The next door neighbors down the line of causality. This was The Hub – the endless, ever turning wheel of alternate reality strings where every decision yielded a world where the opposite decision played out.
Soon hand-held devices called Puncturers allowed anyone with the cash and the nerve to hop between realities. Criminals began to plunder The Hub for whatever riches they could. Bounty Hunters began to hunt the criminals across reality. And this, in turn, led to the bounty hunters becoming celebrities, with their own television shows.
Thirty years later, the golden age of trans-reality TV is over. Bounty Hunters still work to keep the criminals under control, but there’s little glamour and less pay in the work. Still, the job suits Tabitha “Tab” Tubach fine. She just wishes people would stop comparing her to her mom, Selena Tubach a.k.a. The Scarlet Sylph – the sexiest and deadliest bounty hunter ever. Unfortunately, Tab’s latest job will require her seeking her mother’s help and partnering up, as they go after the one criminal neither of them could ever catch.
Motherlands #1 takes some time in getting its core concept established, spelling everything out through a series of flashbacks to the childhood of our protagonist. There’s quite a lot to unload involving the concept of “puncturing” reality, yet ultimately there is little difference between the Bounty Hunters of this world and the Judges of the Judge Dredd comics writer Si Spurrier used to pen. What separates Motherlands from Dredd, however, is a more openly outrageous aesthetic that is far closer to Rick and Morty than 2000 AD.
Most of that appearance is due to artist Rachael Stott, whose animated style stands out in sharp contrast to the common clay of Vertigo artists. The crystal clarity of Stott’s pencils and inks belie the darkness of Motherlands‘ world. This proves perfectly suited to depicting both the high-action, smoldering sexuality of the flashback sequences to Selina Tubach’s days as The Scarlet Sylph and the more gritty yet equally insane reality of Tabitha’s bounty hunting, particularly in the opening sequence where she chases a naked fugitive across several alternate Earths. Indeed, thanks to this sequence and some rough language, the above page is all we can show you of the book’s interior!
Despite this rough opening, there’s enough promise to Motherlands to warrant picking up the second issue. While the world concept may be derivative, there’s enough twisted humor here to forgive the basic concept. Even with that, the book is worth checking out for Rachael Stott’s excellent artwork, which looks fantastic with the finishes added by colorist Felipe Sobreiro and letterer Simon Bowland.