[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Si Spurrier
Artist: Stephen Byrne
Issue two of Motherlands, titled “The Family That Stays Together Slays Together”, shows the reader just how difficult Tabitha and The Scarlet Sylph, A.k.a., Selena have had it. The title also will leave the reader unsure if either of these women will track down their target at all!
After years of estrangement, Tab and her foul-mouthed mom Selena must work together to track the multiverse’s most wanted criminal! But in a city made of fungus, their hunt hits an immediate snag: our mother-daughter duo aren’t the only bounty hunters on the job…
The art in this issue is wonderful. Stephen Byrne has tweaked his typical style to fit that of Stott’s from the last issue. A few differences are noticeable in the style, such as lighter lines, and the way faces are detailed, however, the design is fluid. I didn’t even recognize a change in artist at first.
Beyond the art, and even the story itself, the interaction between daughter and mother in this issue is remarkable. When the two protagonists argue, it isn’t your typical argument shouting match. It feels as though you are sitting in someone’s kitchen as they have a fight with their parent/child, and are awkwardly pretending to be invisible. The way that Spurrier has orchestrated their relationship feels personal and intimate.
On the 13th and 14th pages, we see a lapse of time with Tabitha in the exact same position. Readers will note a variety of changes in Tabitha from panel to panel. She looses some weight in her face and neck in her later years, she has a different hair cut and most of all her eyes change. Seeing the changes in a perfect one to one comparison creates a visually interesting passage of time that is refreshing compared to a typical transition.
Due to the change in art style, Tabitha appears to be younger in this issue compared to the last. Her features are slightly softer and her expression less intense. With the constant changes between, current and past timelines, between adult and child Tabitha, the indications of age on her face are critical. Especially when taking into account that this is only the second issue of the series.
Motherlands issue two is a look inside the life of a family with a rough past. There are funny moments, but only funny initially, as the reality of the situation sets in you will only feel more and more for Tabitha.