The Mare by Seth Christian Martel is a graphic novel that takes readers on a paranormal adventure with Indigo, a post-senior-year teen whose next steps are uncertain due to her rocky home life. As with any good YA story, Indigo has a best friend who is both a sidekick and a guide. Kasia is the steady rock with a summer internship and plans to go to medical school, a foil to Indigo’s widowed and now divorced alcoholic father whose need for caretaking causes Indigo to lose her job. All of these could be contributors to Indigo’s strange nightmares in which she is possessed by some ethereal being. Concern for Indigo’s health due to lack of sleep leads the two teens to explore remedies for her nightmares, or a “Mare” as they learn from a book – “the spirit of someone wronged that saps its victim’s energy at night.”
The images throughout are black and white with graywash and bold outlines that add a sense of 3-D. Blue enters as highlights in Indigo’s hair and as she transitions into her sleep-induced possessions. The full blue hue wash with white electric scribbles creates the eerie effect of paranormal embodiment. The pacing drives readers through several well-connected layers of development: teen summers, angst over outfits, indie band concerts, and crushes, but also the mystery of The Mare and Indigo’s finally coming to solve it.
My only criticism is that I wished the story was longer and more developed. There were details left unexplored that would have helped connect readers more to the main characters and repulsed us from others. The psychopathology related to The Mare is present but also underdeveloped, especially for as serious a topic as it is in our society.
This could also certainly leave room for a sequel or series. There were enough dropped clues and lesser-developed content to make The Mare a solid premier to connect with subsequent storylines, and Indigo is endearing enough to create a following.
The Mare by Seth Christian Martel. graphic mundi, March 2023.
Reviewer bio: Denise Hill is Editor of NewPages.com and reviews books she chooses based on her own personal interests.