Mae has been a delightful series, transporting us into a fantasy world with characters who are well aware of the fandom of our world. That adds a layer of commentary on top of Gene Ha’s impressive art. Can it maintain its high quality? Is it good?
Mae #4 (Dark Horse Comics)
So what’s it about? The Dark Horse Summary reads:
On a quest to rescue their father, Mae and Abbie venture deeper into the fantasy world that Abbie has called home for the past ten years.
Why does this book matter?
Mae started off as a very successful Kickstarter campaign and blossomed into a series that has the adulation of some very big industry names. Mark Waid has said, “Mae is a beautiful, riveting work of comics art that I would recommend to anyone.” Fantasy maestro Bill Willingham (Fables) has said, “The actual reading of the story was pure joy, since I was already won over, and fully confident that I was once more in the hands of an expert storyteller.” Need we say more?
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Ha uses this issue to reveal the upper class society in the fantasy realm and he doesn’t disappoint having revealed the street level characters last month. Mae and Abbie are on a mission to find their dad and given Mae’s sister’s behavior it takes them into a party very loudly. Ha uses this issue to shed some light on the (presumably) main villain who has five heads and his son; being rich, they’re expectant of topnotch behavior from the help and that anyone lesser should bend to their rule.
Fans of pop culture should get a kick out of this issue with Army of Darkness and Dr. Who references just to name two; they might be a little overt, but still add a layer of fun to the overall story.
The coolest part of this issue is how technology is introduced. So far we’ve seen a more traditional medieval fantasy world, but it’s clear there’s some crazy high tech stuff in this world we didn’t know a thing about. We’re introduced to it in two different ways. With Mae we get a slow burn of creepy weirdness and with Abbie we get a kinetic bit of action. How it works isn’t explained, which increases the weirdness.
I sure do love their furry friend.
Ha continues to do an exceptional job on art too. The colors always add a dash of storytelling to every part of the story, the characters’ skin looks almost real, and once again layouts are clean and easy to follow. There are very measured beats on every page which makes the pace and images very easy on the eyes.
It can’t be perfect can it?
That said, there are so few answers as to what we’re seeing it’s hard to wrap your head around it. Men who have been dehydrated, lot’s of strange green energy, and god knows what the phallic tower thing is near the end. You can tell Ha has put thought into every bit of what’s on the page – and answers are probably going to follow – but having none in context of the fast paced story hurts the ability to be in awe. I want my wonderment dammit!
What, what is it?!
Is It Good?
While there’s lack of explanation of what exactly you’re looking at your eyes will love it. The characters remain interesting, the designs fascinating, and the plot ever thickening. Even though this latest issue lacks some clarity to allow you to enjoy it fully, Mae is a warm stew that you’ll never want to put down.