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The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage #1

Writer: Jen Van Meter

Art: Roberto de la Torre

Coloring: David Baron

Lettering: Dave Lanphear

Review by Nick Guerrera

The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage #1, from Valiant Entertainment, is all character and story development. Think of it as the first act of a movie. We learn what makes the central character special, we learn about the world, and something happens that pushes the protagonist in a new direction and towards a life changing goal. It’s a supernatural mystery story centered on a widow named Shan.

The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage #1 coverShan is a medium and paranormal investigator who can talk with the dead and cast spells. She’s also very smart and educated.  Her husband’s death has left her in a state of bereavement. With the help of her agent and friend, Leo, Shan works on living her life to the best of her ability during this incredibly hard and trying time.

The hook of the comic is that while Shan can talk to the dead, she can’t, for whatever reason, talk with her deceased husband, Hwen. One of the most interesting parts of the story is Shan’s relationship with her house, which isn’t fully explored in this first issue, only hinted at.

The colors and art add weight to the melancholy atmosphere that surrounds Shan. The books’ palette fades from pale yellows, to deep reds, to teals and greens, then finally to purples. The book has a slow pace, and it feels like there is something lurking behind the surface, itching to get out. There’s a real uneasiness about this comic book. Like some of the best episodes of the X-Files, The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage #1 will creep you out in subtle ways that linger.

The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage is a comic that should not be rushed. There are too many small bits of information and story to speed read through it all. Read it in a quiet place, with no expectations, and just absorb it.

The Verdict

Buy it – Jen Van Meter, Roberto de la Torre, David Baron, and Dave Lanphear are telling a multi-layered love story with a paranormal bent. There are no cheap thrills here, just intriguing characters, the promise of adventure, with a quiet, simmering creepiness.

Regarding the print “Plus Edition” of issue #1: If you choose to pick up the $4.99 version of the book, you’ll get about a dozen extra pages of content, including a great six page story (written by Tim Siedell, art by Raul Allen, and colors and letters by Patricia Martin) that primarily entertains, but also fleshes out the antagonist of the story.

4 Responses

  1. thisjohnd

    Nick,

    It’s great to know what’s in the “Print Plus” edition of the comic and that it seems worth picking up. So often the multiple versions of comics are not addressed in reviews which leaves me never quite sure if it’s worth the extra money. Hopefully this is in the “Digital Exclusive” edition as well since that’s the one I’ll likely be picking up for this title.

    • Nick Guerrera

      John, thanks for the feedback. I agree that it’s important to include reviews of (or at least mentions of) alternate versions. I do think the extra buck for the Plus Edition of Doctor Mirage #1 is worth it. I’d prefer the extra content to be at the end of the book instead of right in the middle, but it’s not that big of a deal. I also like that Valiant gives you choice to buy the extra content or not.

  2. Gary Chapin

    Nice review. I read this and might admit that it left me ambivalent … but the thing is it hasn’t actually left me. The slow pace, the subtle creep factor, the house … there is no spectacle here to latch onto, but the elements have all stuck with me. I think this is a great telling of a disturbing story … thus it disturbs me.

    • Nick Guerrera

      Gary, same thing happened with me. I read it once and wasn’t blown away. After a bit though, and after flipping it through it again, i realized how many seeds (story, emotion, etc.) it planted in my mind without me even knowing…if that makes sense. It’s like a great independent film in that way.

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