As Margaretha Zelle-MacLeod, known as Mata Hari, is confined in a french prison, she is interviewed by Captain Pierre Bouchardon, a military prosecutor who is building a case of her involvement in espionage. Bouchardon asks Margaretha about her childhood, her time in Holland, and her work as a young kindergarten teacher. However, all these memories are complicated by corrupt men, and her struggles to find a stable life is burden by the the opposition of the 19th century. At a young age, she learned the ill nature of men and the power of desire. She eventually making her way to Holland, finding work as a school teacher. The headmaster of the school took a lecherous interest in Margaretha and was forced out. Margaretha used her charm, her body and her hope to survive. Her early goal is to marry and get away from being treated like an outcast, but her journey will be filled with many setbacks.
Issue two of Mata Hari shows the troubled past of Margaretha youth as a dancer, a teacher and an abused girl. Her time before fame was not pleasant. She attempted to live a normal life, but found many complications that she couldn’t control. Her journey to becoming the idol Mata Hair was not something that was simply decided, but from what appears in the first two issues, a response to how the world has treated her. If Margaretha were to maintain her happiness, she would have to fight to keep the only grip she had on it.
Comic creators Emma Beeby, Ariela Kristantina and Pat Masioni produced a dramatic and symptomatic approach to Margaretha life and delves in the tragic moments of Margaretha youth, aligning the audience to not quickly judge the alleged spy. The somber tones of the story is well crafted with subtle artwork and the use of absence words, making some panels feel more powerful by what is not described. Comic fans looking to add a little realism to their next comic list or history trivia to drop on their friends should take a look at what Mata Hari is offering.