MOTHERBRIDGE: SEEDS OF CHANGE by George Mann & Aleta Vidal

MOTHERBRIDGE: SEEDS OF CHANGE

George Mann (georgemann.net)

Aleta Vidal (behance.net/aletavidal)

Dark Horse Comics (darkhorse.com)

£16.99

Buy a copy from your favourite independent bookshop

Utopia has failed and mankind has retreated to walled enclaves, leaving the remains of the Motherbridge, and the mythical creatures that it spawned, to fend for themselves in the world outside. In order to maintain the “purity” of the race, people who are in any way different are exiled beyond the walls, and so Hayley Wells finds herself out in the wilderness. From the moment the gate closes, Hayley has one single purpose: to bring down the walls and get back to her family.

George Mann has created a beautiful, intricate new world – beautifully illustrated by Aleta Vidal – for his latest venture. As a reader, we get the feeling that we’ve walked in on the middle of something, wondering if we’ve missed reams of stories about the World Mother and the Motherbridge, or of the events that caused the failure of the utopian society that they helped to usher into existence. But Mann takes us directly to the dystopian aftermath, a few strokes of the author’s pen and the illustrator’s brush serving to fill in the gaps in our knowledge.

From the moment Hayley is exiled from civilisation, she finds herself in danger. Rescued from the clutches of a World Mother cult, she finds herself in the company of Constanza and Doyle. When they encounter a mythical beast – half man, half deer – they come under fire from a team of hunters, until Hayley discovers powers she was never before aware of, powers that come directly from the World Mother and prove that, contrary to popular belief, she isn’t dead. And so, armed with her newfound abilities, and with her new friends at her side, Hayley heads for the walls, and the family that awaits on the other side

Motherbridge: Seeds of Change is a timely examination of the world we live in today, looking at topics as diverse as climate change and the growth of fascism and criminalization of anyone who doesn’t fit in, who isn’t – let’s face it – white. It’s also an examination of motherhood, and the lengths to which a mother will go for her children. There is always a seed of hope in Mann’s narrative, and this is echoed in the bright, vibrant colours of Vidal’s gorgeous artwork. While the creative team is a match made in heaven, the story retains a deeply dystopian feel, sometimes at odds with what we’re being shown, though feeding perfectly into the bigger picture. This is a world ripe for the picking and I would love to see Mann and Vidal tackle more stories in the same setting: fill in some of the historical blanks, or expand on this period where hatred and uncertainty seems to have come, once again, to the fore, as if it’s humanity’s default setting.

An engaging story in a beautiful package, if you only read one graphic novel this year, make sure it’s this one!

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