Mara #1

by BradBabendir on December 28, 2012

The best thing about Image Comics is the ambitious heights they allow their writers to reach for. That’s how readers get masterpieces like Saga, Multiple Warheads or The Walking Dead. Image allow their writers to do things that would simply be impossible at the bigger companies. Because of this, their works often flourish, becoming dazzling pictures of what a comic book is meant to be. But nobody bats 1.000, and those ambitions have to fall short at one point or another.

Mara is one of those books.

The art is great, the concept is pretty good, but it reaches too high. It’s too obtuse and too dense. It’s hard to follow yet it feels like nothing happens at all, and it needed so much pretense that by the time things got going, the book was already done.

And in a most books this would be a problem, but it might not be damning. Unfortunately for Mara, the book is only getting six issues, and if the first is any indication, that won’t be nearly enough to effectively tell a story.

Brian Wood is not a rookie. His track record is impressive. But Mara will need a very deliberate reigning in if the book can reach the levels it expects of itself. He can pull it off, but it will take work.

He weighed himself down in this issue with too much backstory and too many components. It has the potential to be a daringly dark criticism of America’s idolization of athletes who are too young to handle it, and how it affects them. Wood starts down that road, but it needs more focus.

Ming Doyle’s art, however, is absolutely fantastic. Like most Image books, it’s beautiful and the art is very affecting in and of itself. The futuristic landscape is gorgeous and wonderfully dense, and while I fear that the story taking place in the future is going to hurt it in the long run, it is doing absolute wonders for the artistic value.

Maybe the reason I’m feeling so down on Mara is because I can feel its potential. This book has a lot going for it and has a very compelling, relevant and powerful message within its pages, but it’s not there yet, and it’s really, honestly, far from getting where it needs to be. I know that this creative team has the talent to make this book something great, and I’m hoping beyond hope that they take it where it should go, but I’m skeptical. First issues are always important, and this one, ultimately, struck out.

Our Score:


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lucstclair's picture

Which is the reason I passed on writing this review, I have mucho respecto for Brian Wood, but I was bored to tears with this comic and my review would've been extremely negative.