Wednesday, January 2, 2013

REVIEW: Mara #1

Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Ming Doyle
Review: William R. Davis Jr.

Happy new year Fanboys. There were a lot of great moments for comics in 2012, and a whole lot of controversy. The new 52 changed the way business was done at the big two. Both universes are now in full blown reboot mode for better or worse. One controversial part of the DC reset was the way that women were depicted in their comics. They all look like Tank Girl now. That's what people in politics call "appealing to your base."

Brian Wood (DMZ, Northlanders, Conan) has just stacked the rack (no boob pun here) with an all new anti-DC super heroine. His last release of 2012 comes in a busy year. It seems like his pen has touched every other book on the shelf these days, but hey, that's not a bad thing at all for comics. This guy can write. It's a safe bet that Image might have another book of substance in Mara. As far as content goes, they were tops in 2012.

The holidays made it a really slow week, and this release was definitely the highlight. There are a lot of dystopian future tales out there these days. You have to put this comic squarely in that genre. Last year was definitely all zombies and District 12, so maybe one more series that reeks of skynet leans more toward apropos, as opposed to cliche. That's entirely your call. The only thing I'm not buying is that volleyball has taken the place of the NFL in this bleak new future. Bear down for life.

It's a little to soon to completely wrap my head around what this one is about. Mara is the Michael Jordan of volleyball, the world's most popular sport. And this is a world that's war and sport obsessed replete with all kinds of corporate sponsorship. Before you say anything: No, this is the future and not present day America. Maybe Mara will wake up from a dream in issue six, like that really shitty season of Roseanne. I don't know. That's pure speculation at this point. She's also a lesbian if that matters to anyone, but with the gay pride parade that was 2012 mainstream comics, I don't think that aspect of the book is going to get a lot of ink from the reviewers out there.

Ming Doyle is on point with the art. It's definitely something different that adds to the enjoyment you're going to get from this read. 2012 was also a solid year for unique comic art, and you can definitely put Mr. Doyle up there with the front runners.

This one seems to be a superhero/sci-fi hybrid with some social commentary accoutrement. The last page takes this one to a whole different level, but you won't find any spoilers here. It's hard to say where issue two is going to take us, but issue one is definitely dedicated to character development so I would stay tuned for some action down the road. They got all of the exposition out of the way nicely without boring me. High five. With all the trappings of a solid series, Mara is probably a slam dunk.

Sports pun. Mission Accomplished.

Who knows what will happen next month. Maybe Mara is on the juice? Call the commissioner, and exchange money for comic today.

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