The introduction to this comic book talks about portal fiction which is the first time I’ve ever heard of it referred to like that. Aside from the Wizard of Oz, not a lot of ‘portal fiction’ comes to mind…except of course for Portal the video game. In any event, it’s a big part of Mae. Is it good?
Mae #1 (Dark Horse Comics)
The official Dark Horse Comics summary reads:
When she was just a girl, Abbie discovered a portal to a fantasy world and for the last couple of years has been having great adventures there: defeating horrible monsters, power-mad scientists, and evil nobles. She was a celebrated action hero! But when she turned twenty-one it all came apart and she decided to return home. Her sister, Mae, has had no idea what happened to Abbie all this time. Her tales are too hard to believe; that is, until the monsters and other terrible creatures start to cross over to our world . . .
Check out our full preview for more.
Why does this book matter?
Portals to other realms wrapped around two sisters who have never gotten to know each other sounds like a premise to a story I haven’t heard before. That’s exciting. Meanwhile Gene Ha is an exceptional artist! Fantasy fans line up: this could be a good one!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Dear lord, the art is jaw-droppingly good in this comic. Ha manages to cast light on these faces creating an almost claymation look that’s unnervingly real to look at. There has to be something digital going on here because the shading and skin tone are incredibly realistic. Ha manages to bring the characters right up close too, which only enhances the realism. The expressions are top notch too. You will fall in love with the characters first and foremost because you’ll feel like you’re peering in on them.
Abbie, you’re a bad sister.
The layouts and angles throughout this comic are downright awesome too. In one scene, Mae interacts with an old friend and the blocking of the scene feels very natural and not unlike a TV show in how you’re drawn in, but better. Once they leave they’re accosted and the camera pulls back, allowing the light from a truck to really amp up the drama. When the action ramps up, the full page spread of a boot to the face is quite good with great perspective and energy in the page. It’s all capped off with a cliffhanger full-page spread that’s simply gorgeous.
But enough about the art; what about the story? I found myself enjoying Mae’s company and feeling for her hopeful wish to know her sister Abbie better. We open the story when Mae was still a kid and Abbie disappeared. A few years later we check in with her and the distance between them is apparent. Of course Mae doesn’t know about Abbie’s magical secret, and it’ll be fun to see how Mae’s impression changes when she learns the truth. Mae is a very well rendered woman who has a handle on real life and when Abbie shows up you can just tell things are going to blow up in a very real way.
It can’t be perfect can it?
There’s a beetle creature that appears to be important at first, but doesn’t rear his head later. It’s a minor quibble as I wish we checked in on the bugger to remind us of his importance, but that just means we need to be eagle eyed for issue #2.
Where is the beetle man!?
Is It Good?
Mae manages to make you fall in love with a fantasy world you don’t even see in the issue. The bond, or lack thereof, between sisters is intriguing and will make you want more. Above all else though, the art is jaw droppingly good from the colors to the layouts. Get this to be astounded in more ways than one.
Find this on comic shelves May 18th!