Story by Brian Wood
Art by Ming Doyle
Review by Mara Whiteside
Image has been on fire lately. Rolling out quality stories like Saga, Manhattan Projects, and Peter Panzerfaust, Image has been untouchable when it comes to creative endeavors. Mara is a new concept, one that I have not encountered in my reading. Admittedly, the only reason I picked it up was because my name is plastered on the cover.
Mara is set in a world plagued by war. The planet is full of threats to nations. War has escalated to a point where the world is on the brink of destruction. The cure?
Sports. I kid you not.
To quote the issue:
“The nation compensated with an almost hyper-exaggeration on sports and physical prowess. A distraction. Within six months, dozens of national leagues were formed, in all sports and for both genders. Corporations flourished as advertising and merchandising took off.”
The first issue of Mara revolves around Mara, a famous volleyball player. She is the star of her team. She is the linchpin of the sports world. Wood sets up her importance in this issue. We know she is strong, powerful, and beautiful. We are expected to admire her as well.
The entire world revolves around competitive sports. There is an overtone of battle in the volleyball tournaments. There is deeper meaning behind each hit, and the winners bring more honor than any war itself. There still exists war, but it is idealized through sports. From the first issue, there is only one page that puts the relationship between war and sports into perspective. Mara’s brother, Mark, tells her how he is protected on the battlefield because of his sister. Her reputation extends to his place fighting for his country.
There’s a lot to be explored with this series. How did we come to this place? What are Mara’s thoughts on her position? Further, there is something suspicious happening on the court. Doyle’s artwork complements the story. It’s reminiscent of Cliff Chaing’s artwork, showing powerful women in action shots.
It’s a buy. I’ve heard mixed opinions on this issue, from confusion to elation. As a first issue, it’s intriguing and sets up a dystopian world readers want to know more about.