Mata Hari #1 (February 2018)

Mata Hari #1

Mata Hari is pretty boring. Writer Emma Beeby fractures the narrative to drum up drama, but even with that fracturing, there’s not much drama. Some of it is artist Ariela Kristantina’s lack of scale–Mata Hari feels incredibly cramped, both the panels on the page and the characters rendered in the panels. Maybe everything was small in 1917 France.

The promotional materials for the series mention the attention to realism (the writer and artist using actual MI5 files for reference). Still, it’s an incredible yawn. It’s not scholarly enough to be snooty compelling and it’s nowhere near dramatic enough to be entertainment.

It’s a history comic without a reason for being a comic (so far). The wikipedia page is probably more interesting.

Once again, the Berger Books imprint disappoints. Once again, it disappoints with material shockingly “not ready for prime time.” Kristantina’s style is too rough, Beeby’s exposition-only dialogue (and narration) is muddled blather.

If the creators are enthralled with the mystery of Mata Hari… well, it’d have been nice if some of that energy came across on the page.

Instead, it’s a tedious snore.


Bare Faced; writer, Emma Beeby; artist, Ariela Kristantina; colorist, Pat Wasioni; letterer, Sal Cipriano; editors, Rachel Roberts and Karen Berger; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

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