Mata Hari #3 Review: Still Good, but Flaws are Beginning to Weigh it Down

Posted by April 24, 2018 Comment

Mata Hari #3
7 / 10 Reviewer
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Summary
Writer: Emma Beeby, Artist: Ariela Kristantina, Color Artist: Pat Masioni, Letters: Sal Cipriano, Cover by: Ariela Kristantina and Pat Masioni, Designer: Richard Bruning, Digital Art Technician: Adam Pruett, Associate Editor: Rachel Roberts, Editor: Karen Berger, Publisher: Mike Richardson, Publishing Company: Dark Horse Comics, Release Date: Out Now, Price: $3.99

We get a look at Mata Hari’s life as a married woman and the trials and tribulations therein. Her husband quickly turned on her and blamed the woman for all ills they ever faced. In her current dilemma at the French prison, the Captain continues to make cruel and underhanded maneuvers to incriminate Mata Hari.

Mata Hari #3 cover by Ariela Kristantina
Mata Hari #3 cover by Ariela Kristantina and Pat Masioni

Mata Hari #3 offers the most chronologically and spatially focused installment of the series. We only spend time in two different parts of Mata’s life, and that does allow for a more coherent view of these parts of her life.

That said, the narrative can still get a little confusing. While I’ve enjoyed the series, it’s done little to cement a thematic or narrative through-line in the parts of Mata Hari’s life it shows, and, here, a plot detail is used as a connection. As such, I was left a little confused when mercury kept being mentioned across scenes.

This isn’t a fatal flaw, though, and the anguish and tragedy make for compelling storytelling.

Why the Captain and practically everyone hates Mata Hari so much is something this miniseries has yet to make clear. Her sexual liberation, being a woman, and a woman of color at that, would explain some of the hate and bile she receives, especially in the late 19th and early 20th Century. However, the book doesn’t really hone in on these themes as much as the ethereal communions with the Shiva we frequently see. It will mention it in passing, but they aren’t driving themes. The Captain especially wants Mata’s head, but this has been yet to be thoroughly explained beyond his own puritanical nature.

Mata Hari #3 art by Ariela Kristantina and Pat Masioni
Mata Hari #3 art by Ariela Kristantina and Pat Masioni

Ariela Kristantina’s artwork continues to weave a gorgeous tapestry with its details, depth, and expressiveness. The paneling continues to impress, with some fairly creative structuring sprinkled throughout, especially with the Shiva scenes. Pat Masioni’s color art compliments with its own subtle choices and balancing.

Mata Hari #3 focuses its narrative, but the reluctance to clarify certain aspects of the story is beginning to frustrate. While I can still recommend this book, it has flaws that need attending to before reaching its conclusion. In any case, feel free to check it out.

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(Last Updated April 24, 2018 7:23 pm )

About Joshua Davison

Josh is a longtime super hero comic fan and an aspiring comic book and fiction writer himself. He also trades in videogames, Star Wars, and Magic: The Gathering, and he is also a budding film buff. He's always been a huge nerd, and he hopes to contribute something of worth to the wider geek culture conversation. He is also happy to announce that he is the new Reviews Editor for Bleeding Cool. Follow on Twitter @joshdavisonbolt.

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