This mini-series just continues to be more and more poetic. Seriously the afterlife that Jen Van Metter and Valiant have come up with is just incredible. At times it’s intriguing and magical; other times its average and common looking, but then the rest of the time it’s scary. It’s frightening really and yet our main character is so far gone from her own life that she’s willing to throw it all away to find her husband. What’s particularly interesting is the conflict of motivations between Shan and man who hired her. How things will play out in the next two issues remains to be seen, but I would be lying if their strange dance wasn’t making me curious. Shan seems hellbent on finding her husband and seemingly has forgotten all about the reason she actually came there, meanwhile others aren’t nearly as convinced.
This issue opens with the story of how Shan’s husband Hwen died. It finally scratched that itch the first issue gave us, but by the end of the issue you’ll be even more satisfied and another itch is scratched. Back in the afterlife the kids lead Shan to Mercy, which is another area/town. The problem is the demons have caught up and now Shan doesn’t really have anywhere to go, but she’s got a plan!
The concept behind Mercy is just incredible. It’s so awesome that it deserves a mini-series of its own. I am going to explain the concept since it’s not really a spoiler for the story. There’s a cage in the center of town and one person must be inside at all times. The rest of the town’s people torment them and ask, “Who will granted them mercy?” The only way out is for someone to take your place, hence the “mercy.” If someone frees you then you owe them a favor, but that requires you getting out of the cage in which then you would owe a favor. Awesome right? Seriously Jen Van Meter needs to do a one-shot at least just exploring this concept more.
Speaking of which Van Meter continues to deliver one of the best Valiant titles being published at the moment. I don’t know if there’s a series I look forward to more than Doctor Mirage because it’s just so damn good. I love the stories that Shan’s character must tell as payment. Van Meter manages to make them sound like Shan’s actually telling the story rather than the reader just reading a part of the story. It really feels as if the character is then telling the reader the story.
Much like the Harbinger sliver of the Valiant U, the Shadow Man/Doctor Mirage section has a defined style and look. Roberto de la Torre is largely responsible for that style and he continues to have a wonderful collaboration with Van Meter on this series. In particular the opening with Shan and her husband was powerful and moving. It plays a large role in making the story that Shan is telling come across as real.
Since the very first issue I’ve wanted nothing more than to read more of Doctor Mirage. I don’t want the series to end at all, but it only has two issues left. I’ll be looking forward to those two issues, but I’ll also be a little sad. I guess that’s what a great mini-series is supposed to do though right? Yeah, it is.
Writer: Jen Van Meter Artist: Roberto de la Torre Publisher: Valiant Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 11/5/14