First Impressions: Mara #1

Mara #1, 2012, Image ComicsTITLE: Mara #1
AUTHOR: Brian Wood
PRICE: $2.99
RELEASED: December 26, 2012

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Before he takes on the Star Wars universe at Dark Horse next month, Brian Wood tries to sell us something even more far fetched than worlds of wookies, ewoks and droids: That America will one day embrace volleyball as a major national sport. And yet in doing so, he manages to give us a story that is high on intrigue.

In an nation apart by war and racial divides, 17-year-old Mara Prince is the biggest sports star in the world. She’s “a global celebrity and commercial brand, worth more than she could ever spend.” Then, something happens during a game. As a result, Mara’s life and career are tarnished forever (or at least that’s what we can assume at this point). In this high-tech age of global turmoil and economic chaos, what happens to a sports superstar when she falls from grace? In any event, Mara’s life will never be the same.

Mara #1, 2012, Ming DoyleTo an extent Mara is very much a mirror into our own culture, not just in terms of sports heroes, but celebrities and public figures in general. Once your image is tarnished, it is often tarnished forever. In sports alone, we’ve got names like Tiger Woods, Pete Rose, Mike Tyson, and perhaps the most despicable of them all, Jerry Sandusky. Those are rather extreme examples compared to what we see in this issue, but it’s the same sort of theme. Wood and Doyle also explore the idea of sports as escapism, which is as prevalent today as ever. When we open the issue, Wood gives us some newscast dialogue, then tosses in some sportscast dialogue and gradually shifts the balance completely in that direction. It creates the feel of flipping channels back and forth until settling on the escapism, instead of the grim reality.

Ming Doyle is also in great form here. There’s an absolutely wonderful full page shot of a swimsuit clad Mara in a Sports Illustrated or Esquire-style photo shoot pose. Her cover is also very well done, with the blemish on Mara’s face obviously serving as a metaphor for her now blemished reputation.

Mara is one to watch. Obviously, there are a variety of ways any book could go wrong at this point. But I have a good feeling about this one.

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