Friday, 29 November 2013

Comic Review: Mara by Brian Wood, Ming Doyle & Jordie Bellaire

Young Mara Prince is at the top of the world, a global celebrity in a culture that prizes physical achievement above all else. After she manifests supernatural abilities on live TV, she becomes famous all over again but for the worst reasons.

Integrating themes of superpowers, celebrity worship, corporate power, feminism, and political brinksmanship, MARA takes a classic genre to new places.

Mara is a series of 6 short comic books.  This is a review of the complete collection which released November 2013.

Generally speaking Mara was an odd Graphic novel.  It tried to be profound but came across as just a bit weird.  The first issue I had with Mara was that the plot was a little all over the place.  It is set in a dystopian future where wars and advanced technology a massive feature.  Mara is a teenage volleyball playing super star who may or may not be in a lesbian relationship with her best friend (this is never fully addressed.) She is the most famous person in the world and one day she finds out she has super powers and things start to go all kinds of wrong.  On paper it sounds alright but in reality it just didn’t work. 

There was no flow, it chopped and changed with little to no warning and at times was hard to follow.  Mara had no personality and I couldn’t bring myself to care about her I found her stroppy and unpredictable and couldn’t really understand her reactions to a lot of the things happening around her.  She also could not make up her mind about what she wanted to do especially towards the end.  I think it came across that way because time was never taken to let the character settle into a moment or place.  Everything moved quickly and it felt like every page she was moving onto something else.  It was actually exhausting to read.

It was all a little self-righteous with themes of re-birth and self-sacrifice.  It looked at the pressures of we put on celebrity and how quickly people turn against someone they once loved.  I don’t mind material that tackles stuff like this but it has to be done right and that didn’t quite happen here.

One thing Mara does have in its favour is gorgeous illustrations.  It was vivid, bright and detailed and a joy to look at. 

Mara is a visual treat but fails to deliver of character and plot.

2 stars

Published November 12th 2013 by Image Comics.  A free copy was provided for review.  Image courtesy of Goodreads.

Review by Kate Phillips

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