Title: The Death Defying Doctor Mirage #1
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
Writer: Jen Van Meter
Artist: Roberto de la Torre
Note: The Death Defying Doctor Mirage will release on September 3rd.
For most readers, Dr. Mirage is a long forgotten character from the 90’s that was lost when Valiant Comics met its demise. Now 20 years later Valiant Entertainment has unearthed the character once again, at least the moniker. The title character is no longer Hwen Mirage, instead replaced by Dr. Shan Fong, a psychic detective that can speak to the dead. That is albeit her deceased husband, who actually might have a strong connection back to the original character. Valiant Entertainment has done an exceptional job of recreating their old characters for a new age and now they’re hoping Jen Van Meter and Roberto de la Torre will have the magic to revive Doctor Mirage with the same success. Rest assured, Van Meter and de la Torre have done a terrific job in reviving the dead hero whether or not you were a fan of the original hero or coming in for the first time.
The series opens up with Dr. Shan Fong being blind sided by her agent as he sets up several clients who are recently mourning the passing of a loved one and cannot move on. She wanted to take a break from business, but as her agent reminds her, she needs the money. Going into the gathering, she is able to communicate with the spirits her clients were searching for, giving them all closure that they needed. When a client remarks that it must be nice that she can communicate with her deceased husband, she responds that she doesn’t know where he is and is unable to contact him.
While she is already mad with her agent, he later meets with her and convinces her to be open for another job that could potentially be worth a fortune. The client is a reclusive billionaire Linton March, who was previously a military contractor that helped the government in several paranormal investigations. Meeting with him, she quickly discovers he is full of secrets regarding the paranormal during his time with the government and he is looking for help undoing some of the personal fallout that occurred because of it. While the job sounds to risky for her to take, she finds something in his home that gives her hope of contacting her husband. She agrees to take the job, which is going to take her deeper into the paranormal and occult than even she is comfortable with, but its all for her husband.
First issues can always be tricky, striking the right balance of introducing characters and elements while moving the story sufficiently enough to engage the reader. While it’s a lot to do at once, Van Meter nails it. We are quickly given a well fleshed main character while the story maintains a smooth pace. There is obviously much more to March’s job than he is letting on, but Fong has little choice if she wishes to find out what happened to her husband’s spirit. We are given a few answers to leave us satisfied by the end of the issue, but plenty of questions to keep us hooked and wanting more. As stated before, there does seem to be a connection to the original series, which will be interesting to see how big of a connection it actually is later down the line as more is revealed.
As good as the story is itself, the biggest highlight of the series is de la Torre. His pencils have a sketch look to them that alone are fantastic, but when combined with the muted color pallet creates the perfect atmosphere for a supernatural tale such as this. I have loved his work on Daredevil and once again he has brought his A game.
Right now Valiant is not publishing a bad book; everything they are putting out is golden. The Death Defying Doctor Mirage has more than easily kept this streak going while bringing us back a character that before reading this, we never even knew we wanted back. Van Meter and de la Torre have a hit on their hands as they convince us of why Doctor Mirage is needed once again. We’re on the edge of our seats waiting to find out what is going to happen next.