Friday, January 24, 2014

Booknote: Mara

Brian Wood and Ming Doyle, Mara. Berkely, CA: Image Comics, 2013. ISBN: 9781607068105.

The AV Club described this book "Akira, Hunger Games, and Superman collide." I would not go as far as that, but this comic does have elements that will appeal to fans of those works. It will likely hold strong appeal to fans of dystopian works in general. As for the comparison with Superman, this book shares common appeal with Superman: Secret Identity (link to my review of this here). A teen suddenly discovering he or she has superpowers and the government's desire to secretly use this person are common elements to both stories. The stories play out in different ways, but if you have read Secret Identity, then a big part of Mara's story will seem familiar.  

Mara is a quick and easy read that should satisfy readers of dystopian fiction that feature young female leads. While it is a good story with a nice feel like a fable, if you have read other dystopian works, you will see many of the common tropes here as well such as: ongoing war, youths taken away to train (whether to be soldiers or athletes or entertainers in some way), a central controlling government, a society mostly distracted by some entertainment (though not as bloody, the sports structure here was a bit reminiscent of stories like Rollerball), and corporatism. As a reader, you can pretty much do a checklist of dystopian elements, and Mara has them. In that regard, this is not terribly new ground. However, the comic does have a small heartwarming element along with the dystopian story to make it into a nice charming story worth reading. The book is one that libraries that already offer works in the dystopian genre, be they The Hunger Games or Brave New World, can offer to their readers asking for "what else you got?"

This compilation collects issues 1-6 of the comic Mara. In the end, I did like it quite a bit for its ease of read, good layouts on the comic, and a good story. It is enough for me to give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Disclosure note:this is where I tell you that I read this as an e-book via NetGalley provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. That way, we keep The Man happy.

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