The final installment of the Valiant First initiative landed yesterday with the release of The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage #1. First appearing in the Shadowman series, Shan Fong (a.k.a. Doctor Mirage) is a medium who communes with the spirits of the Deadside. With a strong creative team on board, let’s take a look at this issue!
The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage #1 focuses on Shan Fong a.k.a. Dr. Mirage, a medium who can connect to the spirits of the departed, save for her deceased husband Hwen. After a job helping widows receive word of their deceased spouses, Shan is offered a job by a wealthy ex-military contractor with an interest in the occult. While touring his estate, Dr. Mirage finds a connection to her husband that may allow her to find his spirit after all.
Jen Van Meter is a newcomer to the Valiant Universe, but instantly makes her mark with this comic. Van Meter does excellent work with the dialogue, setting up perfect conversations and intriguing tete-a-tetes among her cast. Van Meter has some creative elements thrown in that build up the mystical portion of the Valiant Universe, though not too much is on display in this issue. Furthermore, despite strong dialogue, this issue fails to adequately characterize Dr. Mirage, and gives readers little incentive to dive into her story given only a shallow look at her character. A personal gripe is also that a certain group of fascist Germans from the first half of the 20th century are, once again, a key plot element; I don’t mind Nazis appearing as villains in fiction, but by this point it feels overdone, especially in comics.
Roberto De La Torre and David Baron are both Valiant faithful, and their work here continues to impress. Moving away from the pure grit of his work on Shadowman, De La Torre infuses a somewhat lighter tone to this issue, aided by a brighter palette from Baron. The plethora of occult objects are beautifully drawn, and most scene set ups hold a subtle horror aspect beneath the surface, with a creepy air pervading the issue.
Overall, The Death-Defying Dr. Mirage #1 is a solid read that stands alone in the Valiant Universe. It’s not the most gripping issue on its own but has the makings of a strong mini-series. I’ll definitely come back for future issues.
-great voice for the characters
-very little revealed about Dr. Mirage’s motivation and character
Brett Simon is a twenty-four year old comic enthusiast. He wishes he had a clever pun about ghosts to put here.
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