“Mara #2”

(w) Brian Wood
(a) Ming Doyle & Jordie Bellaire

I’m reading a comic about a volleyball player.

That’s my first thought. My second is that I’m actually intrigued. I blame Brian Wood for that.

The debut issue of Mara was pretty well done. The book did a great job of introducing Mara’s character and the world she inhabits. Political and social commentary are as much a part of this book as it is in any of Wood’s other works. For a recent example, look at The Massive from Dark Horse and see how much environmentalism is on display. Mara, as you can gather from the solicitations for issue #1,  will look at topics such as feminism, corporate power, and pop culture’s celebrity worship.

Well, if this book deals with feminism, I’m going to wonder if it will pass the Bechdel test with each issue. The Bechdel test takes a look at women and how they are portrayed in fiction. Does the story have at least two female characters? Do they talk to each other? Do they talk to each other about something other than a man?

Simple test, right? Try rattling something from the top of your head that would pass the test (no cheating and saying the second issue of Mara; it passed).

The last issue ended with Mara displaying some weird power thing. It shocked everyone in the comic except for Mara. Interesting. This issue seems to mirror a lot of aspects of the first one. The difference is that instead of building up the celebrity status of Mara’s character, it focuses on her fall from grace, as her fans and supporters turn against her and start calling her a cheater. Don’t expect a resolution as to why she can do what she did at the end of the first issue, as we still get a cliffhanger ending that is similar to the first issue’s.  It will offer a little more to the overall mystery. It also made me go through the first issue again to see if a few details or clues were offered as to what is going on and who knows what.

Mara CollageCan we take a moment to look at the coloring in this book? Jordie Bellaire does an excellent job giving the right tone that fits into the setting for the panels. Coloring isn’t just about using a diversity of colors, it is about knowing which colors are going to best fit the mood for the scene and bringing that out. This isn’t to say that Ming Doyle is doing a bad job with the pencils, but just giving this book a flip through shows how much more subdued it is from the first issue when you bring coloring to the table, which is a perfect way of showing Mara’s fall from grace.

Many will hear about how Wood is on writing duties for a new X-Men book that features an all female cast. Considering how each character in this story is handled with such respect to them and not dumbing them down, then I can see some good success from that X-Men book. This issue still leaves me intrigued with Mara, to see what happens next. Since the next issue is the midway point for the series, I would want some sort of answer to the powers that Mara is demonstrating that this issue didn’t quite answer.