Art by: Ming Doyle
Colours by: Jordie Bellaire
Published by: Image
Cover Price: $2.99 (USD)
Mara is the new Image mini-series from Brian Wood and relative newcomer artist Ming Doyle. Set in a future obsessed with physical prowess, the military and sport are the dominating forces of society. Mara is the most famous and popular of all the sporting stars, a seemingly perfect seventeen year old that is at the top of her sport and loved by all. However, when Mara displays supernatural abilities during one of her volleyball matches on live television, her incredible life threatens to crumble around her.
The main problem with this debut issue is that it ends with Mara using her unknown abilities for the first time. The solicitation information emphasises this aspect of the story as much as any other, so it is a bit frustrating for it to happen at the very end. It is not that the preceding pages before this sequence are inconsequential, it is just hard to tell where the story is going to go from here.
However, Brian Wood does a good job of setting the tone, giving the readers a sense of the series, even without addressing the main driving force of the plot. The importance of both war and sporting competition is made clear from the beginning, with news broadcasts talking of nothing else. Mara is also introduced well, which is just as much down to Ming Doyle, who is an artist I have not experienced before.
Wood and Doyle juxtapose a solitary Mara sitting quietly in the locker room and the sporting and media sensation Mara that can bring a fan to tears simply by appearing on court. Doyle excellently portrays the fierce competitive side of Mara, while not allowing readers to forget that, however exceptional, Mara is still a seventeen year old girl. At times Doyle reminds me of a cleaner lined Leinil Yu, which is no bad thing. Jordie Bellaire also complements the artwork fantastically with her colours.
The story isn’t all Mara, however, and there are some interesting sub-plots. Mara’s relationship with her military brother and with her volleyball teammate Ingrid seem like they will develop well as the story progresses.
Mara definitely has the potential to be a very good comic. The talent is obviously there and the ideas and themes seem strong. I would have preferred a longer first issue, with a few extra pages allowing for a better sense of where the story will go post power reveal. Despite this, Mara is beautiful to look at and I trust Brian Wood to tell an interesting story. After reading this first issue, I do want to read the next, so that must count as a success.