Review: The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage #1

The mystic side of the Valiant Universe is one that I like. It’s very different from the other mystic arts of other established comic universes, but it never forgets the most important thing… it should be dark and scary. Often time’s comics that deal with demons and such aren’t dark enough. They’re watered down so that the main character isn’t on the verge of blowing their brains out, but when you think about it… they should be. This is going to sound rude, but The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage was everything that I wanted from Shadowman. That’s a series that just never really found its stride. Whereas the other Valiant books have had a least one stable creator Shadowman didn’t get there. Doctor Mirage has absolutely nailed it with this first issue.

The story starts off with Shan aka Doctor Mirage messaging her agent Leo back and forth. From their conversation and the conversation in the background she’s clearly there to contact the dead and she’s none too happy about it. It’s not that it’s beneath her, but that it’s a painful reminder of her own husband’s death. She needs the money though and so she turns and faces the group of widowed ladies. She doesn’t make any promises to them, but then we see her POV and sure enough their dead loved ones are all holding on to them in the afterlife. Shan goes to work telling each lady why their loved one is still hanging around and essentially gives them all closure. Here we also learn that Shan’s husband doesn’t talk to her… in fact she can’t even find him in the spirit world in order to talk to him.

Later we meet Leo as he has a big job for her. Just for consulting on the job it pays thirty grand. Shan is very reluctant as it sounds like a big case which is the same thing as a bad case. She takes the job though again because of money and if she doesn’t they’ll take her house and she loves her house.

DRMIRAGE_001_COVER_FOREMAN copy 2I have been following Jen Van Meter’s since Hopeless Savages and frankly she never disappointments me. Her pacing for the story here is wonderful and really I wish I could rant more about what happens in the issue because I stopped a third of the way through (if that). Shan’s dialogue, her actions, her quirks are all very believable and made for a fleshed out character. The big reveal of the issue was unexpected, but very awesome and only made me want to read more of this series.

Roberto De La Torre has been a great find for Valiant. I hope he continues with them because he’s produced some incredible work. This issue is beautiful and Torre’s art compliments Van Meter’s story. In particular I enjoyed the opening. Seeing Shan the old ladies talking and then Shan turning and seeing their loved ones literally hanging on to them in the afterlife was great imagery and captured the supernatural world. Also this is going to sound strange but Torre illustrated the most realistic smart phone I’ve seen in a comic. I’ve seen so many crappy ones as they’ve been incorporated into comics more and more, so to see a good one was actually a shock.

This book isn’t out until September, but I’ll tell you right now that you shouldn’t miss it. The one and only downside is that it’s a mini-series. Hopefully it does well and we’ll see an ongoing or at the very least future mini’s because I’m loving this character and her dark and scary world. This is one hell of a debut from Valiant and the creative team. Don’t miss out on it.

Score: 5/5

Writer: Jen Van Meter Artist: Roberto De La Torre Publisher: Valiant Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 9/3/14 Format: Mini-Series, Print/Digital