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War Mother (courtesy

Written by Fred Van Lente with art from Tomás Fiorello, Valiant comics’ 4001 A.D: War Mother #1 goes on sale this August. (Don’t worry: the older you get the faster time goes.) In case you’re wondering, reports that “War Mother’s home is in the future of the fifth millennium, where much of Earth is an apocalyptic wasteland under the watchful gaze of New Japan, a highly advanced and powerful civilization floating around in orbit.” As highly advanced and powerful civilizations are wont to do. Anyway, War Mother has a sentient rifle. Her creator gives us a glimpse of a rifle with ‘tude . . .

More Mother (courtesy

Ana’s sniper rifle is nicknamed Flaco, and he is fully sentient—but he’s literally born as her mission starts. She has to guide him a lot of ways even as he’s running mission intel for her, and sighting her targets, and all that good stuff. He has the mind of a child, really, at least in the beginning—a really, really lethal child!—and much of the maternal aspect of the War Mother title is her having to “raise” this sentient weapon, even as she’s raising her own, human kid. Fittingly, the title of the one-shot is “A Girl and Her Gun.”

I smell fraternal jealousy. (As they say in the U.K., there’ll be tears by bedtime.) Those of you who perused last year’s Book of Death will remember War Mother fondly. Those of you who haven’t will dig this strong woman character — with a gun that talks back. Do you talk to yours?

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  1. Comics are mostly crap in regards to realism in the depictions of weapons and weapons handling. The best exceptions to this I have seen are some of the Punisher runs, especially Punisher MAX.

  2. I only have one question: Does War Mother’s gun jump up and shoot little black children all by itself?

    Cause if not, it’s going nowhere in the press, even if it is the sentient weapon our betters in the national press have been writing about for decades.

  3. People always mouth plattitudes about how awful war is and we want peace. But we are soaked, as a culture, in war entertainment. Human history is a history of war. As I suspect human future will be.

    Einstein is credited with saying “I don’t know what weapons world war 3 will be fought with. But world war 4 will be fought with rocks and sticks.” Or something along those lines. But there will be a ww4. And 5 and 6, etc.

    I just don’t believe its in human nature to be peaceful. Not for extended periods, at least.

    • Not to get too esoteric, but I think the problem lies in their being only one word for war in English: WAR!

      We have no simple way of distinguishing between evil, belligerent, criminal war and the actions taken to oppose that aggression. I do not have a solution to this, just making an observation.

      • Leave it to the crafty Romans.
        Jus belli is a Latin term meaning “the law of war”. The term is used to refer to the justification of war or war being morally acceptable in its undertaking. Jus belli are those actions that may be done without injustice, in regard to an enemy.

    • This is precisely why we need WAR as entertainment. The real wars start where there is no room for the fictional ones. Look anywhere in the world – where you find the most fictional violence, you find the least amount of actual violence.

      Violent entertainment doesn’t desensitize us, it defuses us.

  4. “Do you talk to yours?”
    Yes. And yesterday they were scolded badly.
    My 6.5 CM AR groups were all over the place with the new loads I was testing. It’s also over gassed, so now I gotta buy an adjustable gas block. It ruined several pieces of brass. The chamber is so tight I was having to hammer out rounds that wouldn’t chamber.
    So I cussed it out and set the good for nothing mongrel aside and switched to my savage bolt gun and grabbed my pet loads.
    Blew off another extractor after the third round.
    Luckily I found the spring and ball bearing that allegedly hold it in place. What a stupid design.
    So I cussed it out and set it aside.
    Now it’s plan “C” for which boom stick to take to San Antonio in 12 days for pig shooting.

  5. If you want a good story about a sentient weapon, I suggest Warbreaker, by Brandon Sanderson. The weapon is a sword, and it isn’t as central as I suspect this weapon (larger cast of characters, etc.), but it would be the type of weapon that the gun grabbers fear – literally causing people to kill.

    • “Would you like to destroy some evil?”

      Love that book. A sword so deadly you just have to toss it in its sheath at the enemy as so as they draw it they all die horribly.

  6. Sentient firearms? Probably not a good idea.

    Talk to my guns? Which ones, my biceps or my firearms? One is good for making a woman’s knees go weak, the other is good for dealing with predators. (Couldn’t resist. :). And no, I don’t talk to either one)

  7. The only comic books I would read as a kid were “Weird Wars” and “G.I. Combat.” As an adult I don’t read comic books.

    • I used to read all sorts of military type comic books as a kid.
      Sergeant Rock, Johnny Cloud, Hans von Hammer, the guys in the Jeb Stuart tank, Gunner and Sarge, a host of others.

  8. Talk to my guns? Hell, no! Mind you, they talk to me all the time, usually telling me that I will continue to shoot like crap unless I get out to the range more. I hate it when they are right.

  9. With any other comic author I’d be a little hesitant of the concept, but Fred Van lente does some great work. His Archer and Armstrong comics are some of the best I’ve read in recent years.
    He does pretty thorough research on martial arts and weapons for his comics.

  10. I don’t talk to animate objects.

    Well, unless I’m attempt to fix them.

    But then, it’s mostly asking “why won’t you [insert task]” and cursing at it.

  11. I only talk to them before the trigger pull. Then I talk to myself (usually using a few curses).

    I haven’t been to the range enough lately either.

  12. Unfortunately, they used a 2nd lieutenant as the matrix for the AI,

    Mom: “Target, terrorist, 500m”

    Gun: “I’m sorry, I can’t fire at that terrorist.”

    Mom: “Why?”

    Rifle: “ROE. He’s not an imminent threat, He’s carrying a rifle, with an optic, and grenades, but he could be a peaceful villager.”

    Mom: “He’s pointing the rifle at us…”

    Rifle: “He could be using the optic for birdwatching, and besides, I can’t fire anyway.”

    Mom: “Why?”

    Rifle: “He’s standing in front of a haji bush.”

    Mom: “Haji bush? IT’S A FREAKING BUSH!!! There are hundreds just like it!!! SHOOT HIM!”

    Rifle: “Can’t. The Haji bush is not endangered, but it is the home of the Afghan Snakelizard. The Snakelizard is poisonous, spreads disease, and kills livestock, but it is endangered and we can’t destroy its habitat.”

    Mom: “Ok, he moved, now shoot him!”

    Rifle: “I fire bullets containing lead, and he is now standing in front of a wetland…”

    Etc., etc., etc.

    • Shoot the terrorist Hal.
      Sorry, Dave, I cannot do that.
      Hal, shoot the terrorist!
      This conversation is pointless Dave, don’t you agree?

  13. Mothers rifle is “sentient”, has feeling, can understand, needs to be nurtured and taught? Is this the smart gun of the future? No longer an inanimate object and capable of good or evil?
    Does that not fit right in with the gun grabbers ideology that guns inherently evil in their own right? I know its just a stupid comic book but some weak minds are going to read it and and apply its message.

    Talk to your gun like “Don’t fail me now”, Praise it or damn it? Its not a issue unless you hear it talking back to you.

  14. Those of you who haven’t will dig this strong woman character — with a gun that talks back. Do you talk to yours?
    When they malfunction.

  15. I can just see an F-35 equipped with the HAL 9000 unit now. Actually, I think the military is sort of moving in that direction.

  16. my guns don’t talk
    It is the voices in my head that tell me to stay home from work and clean my guns.

  17. Reminds me of the movie Elysium where Earth is a decaying mess, and the elite 1% lives in a habitat orbiting the earth. Nothing new. At this rate, we won’t make to halfway of this millennium let alone the 5th millennium.


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