Advanced Review-Mata Hari #1 (of 5)
Writer: Emma Beeby
Artist: Ariela Kristantina
Colorist: Pat Masioni
Editor: Karen Berger
Cover Artist: Ariela Kristantina
The “original femme fatale” strikes in Mata Hari #1. Caught in a web of accusations, Mata Hari must plead her case to an unforgiving court or face death for treason and espoinage.
Going into this series, I did not know the history behind this interesting woman. There isn’t much explained about her in the book. Readers have the choice to do some background research or go with the flow. Of course I had to go to Google. Everywhere you go tells of her unashamed sexual life, flamboyant behavior, and her death. However, the truth of her downfall is to be discovered through this series. Or is it?
I know this is a first issue, but I wasn’t too impressed. Not sure exactly what I expected, but I feel like there was nothing concrete here. By that I mean the comic feels as though its drifting. Maybe because its being told from the perspective of a dead/dying woman. Despite this, Mata does have her endearing qualities. Our leading lady continues to stand by her convictions through outright slut-shaming and a baseless trial. She is unapologetically in control of her body and sexuality. Signs of a strong female character.
Not to dwell on the negative, Emma Beeby is being careful with this story. Not only is there real history behind this, but Beeby must lay the groundwork for a faithful adaptation. Without being concrete, Beeby is giving herself room to expand on the source material and make it her own. Points to Beeby and her team.
I do really love Pat Masioni’s colors on Ariela Kristantina’s art. Kristantina’s art on Insexts sort of seems looser, but here it takes on a different sort of style. Both have done a great job at amplifying the “exotic” nature of Mata Hari. All of the reds, greens, browns, and gold bring out a kind of hidden beauty to the character and the book. If you need something to stay for, then look to the art.
Overall, Mata Hari was something of a slow burn. Yes, her sex life is on display, but nothing much on her spy years. At least, not yet. Perhaps issue two will really bring me into this series. Its a first issue. There’s plenty to be discovered. Mata Hari #1 has a hidden intoxicating quality that has yet to be seen.
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