Mara Prince moves faster than human technology can handle, and her story isn't far behind. MARA #5 is the second issue from the conclusion of the series, and all bets are off.
The past few issues have been incredibly strong -- I've enjoyed watching Mara evolve from a girl with few choices, perpetually controlled by her handlers and public image, to a new-but-strong metahuman with a fresh sense of agency. Issue #5 brings things to the edge, and I'm anxious to find out her ultimate destiny. Is she the destroyer of humanity, or will she be merciful?
Brian Wood's storytelling is well-structured and impeccably paced, and this issue builds to the perfect precipice. Not only does he play some big emotional cards in this issue (like Mara's brother's death, and Mara's subsequent abandonment of her human identity), but he shifts from a more subdued third-person narration to Mara's own bold declarations; a ramp-up if I've ever seen one. The stage has been set for a very big ending -- and the missiles in Mara's hands are probably just the start.
Ming Doyle and Jordie Bellaire have been consistently amazing on art for this entire run. The visuals are dynamic and eye-catching, but never distracting from the story. It's all so much in lock-step that it feels like Doyle, Bellaire, and Wood are tapping into a hive mind.
Alas, MARA is just a six-issue series. Whatever spectacular conclusion the creative team is building to, it's presumably the last we'll see of this character and world.
MARA has been a must-pull for me since the first issue. The series is easy to follow, but not lacking depth, and it's a truly unique take on the superhero genre (plus there's a badass female protagonist). It's fascinating to watch Mara fall from a pedestal that humans created and then rise to a level that humans can't even fathom. Call this another victory for Image right now; I'm absolutely enjoying the series, and holding my breath for its ending next month.