Written by Brian Wood
Art by Ming Doyle
In one of Brian Wood's earliest comics, Demo, made with the incomparable Becky Cloonan, he explored how strange abilities, or super powers, would affect people who live everyday lives. Mara, his new mini-series at Image, is exploring the same general territory, although it mixes in the complications of fame.
Mara Prince is the biggest star in the world, in a near-future where athletics have become the singular obsession of most societies. Mara is a volleyball prodigy with massive endorsement contracts and the entire world's attention. In the first issue, something strange happened during one of her games - it looked like she stopped time and interfered with how the game was played. No one, including Mara, can account for what happened, and of course the 24-hour news cycle is abuzz with accusations of her cheating.
In this issue, she tries to pull things back together, although perhaps it would be more accurate to say that it is her staff who is trying to fix things. Mara is clearly confused and at a loss for what happened, and is mostly just going through the motions of trying to get things back to normal. She attends a residency at a training camp for young girls, and her abilities manifest themselves again, while being filmed.
I like how Wood has extrapolated a future where the Chinese Olympics program has become the global norm, and the story reminds me a little of the story of Caster Semenya, the South African intersex runner who has been accused of having an unfair advantage when she competes in races for women.
Ming Doyle's art is spectacular, in that slightly rough indie style, and I like how Wood is taking his time in letting this story unfold.