Motro #1

by Ian B on November 02, 2016

Written by: Ulises Farinas and Erick Freitas

Art by: Ulises Farinas

Coloured by: Ryan Hill

Lettered by: Ulises Farinas

Published by: Oni Press



The best way for me to describe Motro would probably be Adventure Time meets Usagi Yojimbo, with a sprinkle of Mad Max thrown in. We follow a young boy as he follows a vision from his deceased father to save the people of a nearby town from marauders. It's never made particularly obvious what is happening in reality and what is happening in the boy's head, with vehicles that talk in pictures and children who can punch adults into the stratosphere. The odd thing about it all is that, while it's portrayed oddly as possibly being in the boy's head, at one point we see him sketching the previous page of the comic itself, it's also played oddly straight most of the time; the boy does manage to destroy talking tanks by feeding them spicy food, otherwise the ending makes no sense. The boy does manage to survive attacking the marauders, or else the story would end right there. It's an odd mix that surprisingly works with the story, expressing the child's disconnect with reality while also presenting the reader with a fantastical world.



The artwork is fairly rough, but I think it works for the comic, the flat and slightly washed out colours contributing to the dream feel while the artwork itself evokes a child's drawings, relevant considering the previously mentioned scene. Amidst this, however, are scenes of meticulously designed buffalo and winterscapes with bloody snow and barren trees that prove the art to be much more of a stylistic choice, intending to appear childish and odd to better fit the tone of the book. The marauders themselves are also heavily detailed, once again possibly showing the difference between how the boy sees the world, flat and simple, versus how the world actually is, complicated, dirty and ugly as the marauders themselves.



I mentioned that this book reminded me of three things: Adventure time, Mad Max, and Usagi Yojimbo. While the Adventure time and Mad Max influence may have been made obvious due to the main character and the setting, it's the storytelling where the connection to Usagi Yojimbo comes in. This book seems to be a stand alone story, the plot of the marauders attacking the town and the boy being driven to save them all playing out within a single issue, and the ending of the issue is what turned me around from not really understanding this book to quite enjoying it, putting the rest of the issue and little hints that we got throughout into brutal perspective. As an anthology series, with the further stories of this child living in a world that is much more violent and uncaring then he wishes to admit, I think this series has some real legs for the future.



In creating an odd and unique world, where childhood fancy mixes with the harsh reality of the real world and the even harsher fantasy of an apparent dystopian world, Motro sets itself apart from most other books. While it may not be for everyone, the quality of the storytelling is such that I can easily see this book becoming a favourite of many, and I very much look forward to how it will will turn out and how the story will be structured across multiple issues.

Our Score:


A Look Inside