Indie Comics Spotlight – War Mother #1, Mitch Hammer: Construction Mutant #1, and Moneypenny One-Shot

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By: Jonathan Pilley (@omnicomic)

War Mother #1




“Now you’re seeing.”

When faced with a post-apocalyptic world it helps to have your wits about you, a fearlessness and a weapon that’s somehow related to you. In War Mother #1 from Valiant Comics, all of the above and more are on display. The issue is written by Fred Van Lente, illustrated by Stephen Segovia, colored by Elmer Santos with Andrew Dalhouse, and lettered by Dave Sharpe.

Two millennia from today, Earth is not the hospitable home we once we knew. Ravaged by an endless onslaught of war, disaster, and time, the world is littered with desolate badlands, fortified kingdoms, and secretive enclaves where humanity still clings to life… Enclaves like The Grove – Earth’s last known repository of scientific knowledge and bioengineered prosperity. Now, under the leadership of the lone protector called War Mother and her sentient sniper rifle, the denizens of The Grove face a critical choice: remain where they are and die, or find a new land and flourish. Can War Mother lead her people out of isolation and reignite the fires of a dying planet? And even if she can locate the distant citadel she seeks, can she fight back the horrors and perverse monstrosities that lurk just beyond her doorstep?

What’s remarkable about War Mother #1 is the way Van Lente builds out the story and builds it to a crescendo. War Mother is a character who moves quite effortlessly through her world – thanks to some deft characterization on the part of Van Lente. She’s the vehicle for the narrative as Van Lente funnels everything through her point of view in a way that takes the reader on a ride-along with her. It’s an interesting way to present the story, primarily because it lets Van Lente further embolden War Mother’s credentials based on how others react to the mere mention of her name. Van Lente really gets down to what makes the War Mother tick and by the end of the issue the reader can empathize with all the responsibility she bears.

Making the book feel very polished are Segovia’s illustrations, all of which are gorgeous. War Mother is illustrated with a quiet ferocity that is complete in convincing the reader that she’s every bit as dangerous as those who fear her believe. Panel arrangements shift throughout the book and help propel the action throughout the issue, allowing Segovia to gracefully capture all the battles that break out within the pages of the book. The way Segovia also handles perspectives of the characters is impressive as well, in that it magnifies the expressions of each of the characters to further impress upon the reader the magnitude of the stakes. The colors by Santos and Dalhouse are equally as beautiful, infusing the issue with a vividness that belies the otherwise depressed setting.

War Mother #1 is a brilliant first issue that further explores the world and character of War Mother. She’s a capable fighter who always does what’s necessary to be just, but the end of the issue shows that she might not always be able to overcome. Van Lente’s pacing and presentation is subtly fantastic as it doesn’t club the reader over the head with facts and expository. Segovia’s artwork is brilliant and a perfect fit to keep up with the story. War Mother #1 is a great first issue that fans of the character will definitely want to check out, but there’s also plenty there for newcomers as well.

War Mother #1 is available now.

Mitch Hammer: Construction Mutant #1




“Moult with me?”

The pursuit of science is everlasting. Generally, as one seeks more knowledge they end up pushing the edges of what’s known further and further. Sometime that push goes a little too far, as is the case in Mitch Hammer: Construction Mutant #1. The issue is written by Chris Lewis, penciled by Fernando Pinto, colored by K. Michael Russel, and lettered by Nic J. Shaw.

Mitch Hammer: Construction Mutant #1 is about a construction worker who runs afoul of science gone wrong at the local community college. That means big monsters. Oh, and there’s also the militant wing of the National Blood Clot association.

The issue opens in a way that’s pretty intense and Lewis isn’t shy about keeping things zany from there. The premise certainly isn’t new, but Lewis gives the issue enough in the way of unique characters and situations that the concept doesn’t feel played out. In fact, there are some subtle takes on class warfare in the issue as well as Lewis emphasizes that even though they’re just “construction workers” that at the end of the day they can be more human than those who are perceived to be higher than them socially. The dialogue lends itself to this concept in addition to being just ridiculous enough that it doesn’t lose sight of the fact it’s also telling a story. The story’s progression doesn’t really wrap anything up per se, but that works in its favor as it definitely sets up further events as the series progresses.

Pinto’s pencils do an excellent job of keeping pace with the overall ludicrous tone of the book. Mitch Hammer is illustrated with an appropriate level of being grizzled; it’s not so much that it becomes a caricature of what it’s attempting to purvey. All the characters in general are illustrated with heavy lines that offer rather sharp angles for the most part that Pinto peps up with heavy cross-hatching here and there. Stacking and overlaying panels accompanies the steady build-up of the pace and Pinto realizes that keeping things moving is important for a book as frenetically charged as Mitch Hammer: Construction Mutant #1. Russel’s colors are a mix of reds and greens primarily, contrasting between the human construction workers and the representation of the aforementioned science gone wrong.

Mitch Hammer: Construction Mutant #1 is a harmless first issue that nails what it aims for. Mitch Hammer is a construction worker with a big heart and – by the end of the issue – a closer connection to his profession. Lewis’ script is engaging and amusing, offering up some rather entertaining lines throughout that do nothing but entertain. Pinto’s pencils are clean and do a great job of emphasizing all the action that quickly unravels as the book proceeds. Mitch Hammer: Construction Mutant #1 takes a tried and true concept and spins it in a way that it can claim ownership to a new take.

Mitch Hammer: Construction Mutant #1 is available now.

Moneypenny One-Shot




“Oh leave Agent Moneypenny alone. She’s here to protect us, after all.”

When it comes to characters, James Bond has more or less cornered the market on the international spy business. There are others in his organization that support him though; some of whom aren’t nearly as feted because their roles are perceived as nothing more than support. In Moneypenny One-Shot from Dynamite Entertainment, that’s shown to be far from the case. The issue is written by Jody Houser, illustrated by Jacob Edgar, colored by Dearbhla Kelly, and lettered by Simon Bowland.

On a ‘routine’ protection mission, Moneypenny discovers a complicated assassination plot that bears a startling resemblance to a terrorist attack from her childhood. Can she call upon her secret agent skills to stop the plot?

While James Bond’s exploits and abilities are often the center of attention in that universe, Houser wants to remind readers that he’s not the only agent with a propensity for awesomeness. Houser’s approach in Moneypenny One-Shot is to explore the past of the titular character herself in a way that’s intertwined with the overall narrative. Moneypenny is clearly every bit as capable as most other agents and Houser’s narrative explores her training and tribulations to get to where she is today. The dialogue is fairly succinct yet extremely effective at doing just that – Moneypenny reacts to situations with a cool calmness that’s makes for a top agent. By the end of the issue, Houser allows the other characters to demonstrate a subtle and unspoken reverence for Moneypenny on the part of those who know her best, enforcing the notion that she’s confident in her abilities and in general.

Giving the book a retro feel are Edgar’s illustrations. His style is somewhat pulpish in its appearance and the characters are illustrated with clean, thin lines throughout that allow them to stand out effectively against the settings. Seeing Moneypenny spring into action is quite beautiful because Edgar’s style affords her an elegance as she charges into battle despite plenty of bullets whizzing by her. The fact that Edgar chose a very formal panel layout also plays into the notion that Moneypenny is a lot more business than pleasure – the complete opposite of James Bond in many stories. Kelly’s colors are largely muted and bolster the book’s somewhat anachronistic feel in a good way.

Moneypenny One-Shot is a fun issue that really delves into one the more prevalent characters in the James Bond universe. Moneypenny is generally depicted as a calm and reserved agent behind a desk, but there’s enough in the issue to prove to readers that she’s anything but that. Houser respects the character and wants to ensure that the reader respects her just as much. Edgar’s illustrations are a great fit for the overall tone of the book. Moneypenny One-Shot offers a pretty brilliant origin story of sorts for Moneypenny and by the end of the issue the day is saved without nearly the same collateral damage that the other 00 agent is known for.

Moneypenny One-Shot is available now.


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