merisunshine36: white rose floating candle (Default)
[personal profile] merisunshine36 posting in [community profile] comics_reviews_etc
Mara was one of those comics that grabbed my eye and demanded that I purchase it, even though I knew nothing about the author or artists involved. I mean, just look at her face:

Mara Cover Image

I loved the look in her eyes, the scratch on her cheek, the way she was drawn with the clear body of an athlete.

Okay, but wait--I am getting ahead of myself. Mara is set in a sort-of dystopian future where the economy is driven by two industries--professional sports and the military. The title character, Mara, was shipped off to a volleyball camp at a young age with other promising future athletes. She now competes in a global league for fame, massive endorsement deals, and social status that is on the level of a religious icon.

At times, Mara seemed a bit too perfect to be true, and I hope the rest of the series rounds her out a bit. The story does much better at showing the nasty side of the world she lives in, including the creepy military forces her brother is a part of and a viewing public ready to pounce on her when her superpowers manifest in the middle of a game, and she unwittingly uses them to win. The compact nature of the story (only six issues total) results in a bit of info-dump in the beginning, but it's not too distracting.

In addition to the interesting story, Ming Doyle's art scored a lot of nostalgia points with me. There was something about it that reminded me of those early to mid-90s manga like FAKE or Slam Dunk, where everyone's features are slightly exaggerated in a way that makes them seem beautiful and at the same time, slightly creepy.

This effect is heightened by the fact that the backgrounds are often super-spare. I don't know whether Doyle just doesn't have the time/manpower or inclination to fill in all the extras, or is trying to make some kind of commentary on the emptiness of their lives. Whatever the answer is, I will continue to ponder it over the next 4 issues, since I think Mara is pretty great.
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