blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Mamo (2021) #5

Mamo  5I’m hesitant to use the word “perfect” to describe a work. Mainly because perfect is very subjective. At a certain point in Mamo’s final chapter, I turned each page, holding my breath a little, waiting to see where creator Sas Milledge would take the book in its conclusion. But Milledge never hits those targets; she’s hitting different ones, better ones. I was hoping she’d find a way to give it a great ending, wheres Milledge was getting it to that great ending. So, in the sense it delivers—page by page—exactly what I wanted from it, Mamo doesn’t finish perfect.

It finishes perfect in a much better way than I ever imagined.

Despite the finale opening with an incredible action sequence—Jo and Orla spending last issue apart also makes more sense (again, it probably reads just right in the trade)—it’s all about character drama. The witchcraft is just an expression of all these buried, complicated feelings and bad memories. But the conclusion of Jo and Orla’s quest to properly bury Orla’s witch grandma is just the beginning; Milledge isn’t only telling that story. The action resolution changes the stakes for the characters, and Milledge sorts through it for the rest of the issue. The dynamic, visually thrilling action sequence is just an appetizer for the character drama.

Mamo’s a book about a lot, but it also does take place in a magical fantasy land, which figures into the resolution but never visually. Milledge focuses on Jo and on Jo and Orla, keeping it very grounded. The magic’s still out there kind of brewing, full of potential, but it’s not the point. The characters are the point, and Milledge does a phenomenal job with them. Perfect job. Down to the body language. Mamo #5 isn’t full of the swaying landscape—I kept wanting a double-page wide shot—instead, it’s full of breaths.

Outstanding work from Milledge. I can’t wait to read it again. I mean, I can because I want to give it time to settle, but, damn, Mamo is one hell of a comic. I know I’m going to miss Jo and Orla. Enough I hope Milledge does a sequel. Even a strong mediocre one. She’s created something special with Mamo and done so with exceptional skill.

It’s such a good book.

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