Story: Jen Van Meter
Art: Roberto De La Torre
What They Say:
Below the veil of the living world, deep in the lands of the dead, Dr. Mirage fights her way through the evils and monstrosities that besiege the spirits. But the real monsters live in the world above, where a sinister hit squad tries to put an end to Mirage’s mission — permanently.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
While I’ve enjoyed parts of Doctor Mirage so far, it’s a series that I find takes two or three read throughs in order to really pull it together – and revisiting prior issues as well win a new light with each new installment. There’s been a feeling of so much backstory that we don’t have that has made it less than accessible in some ways while at the same time wanting to know more and being intrigued by what it’s presenting. With this installment, we get a lot more useful information and a tying together of some of the threads to the larger threat. That’s definitely useful as even with a couple of re-reads, I’m still struggling in some way with what the point of the book is beyond Mirage’s own attempts at healing from past events.
Those past events are what we get at the start here and it’s hugely useful to finally have this laid out as clearly as we do. With Shan talking to the kids that she’s journeying with, paying them with a story, we understand what had happened with her and her husband as they dealt with a giant creature that was brought through into our dimension in the sea and started causing trouble. Seeing the two of them working together, tied to her narrative about why people would bring over such creatures without realizing the truth of what it really is all about, works well. But the big take away, the one that reinforces why she’s continuing to do all of this and find him on the other side, is that it reinforces just how strong their bond was together, that they nearly did die together in a kind of harmony in saving millions of people without them even knowing it. And having her somehow saved while he fell further under the water, causing her to feel like she’s lost more than just half of who she is.
In her journey on the other side, she’s now come to a point where she can get the kids to leave her as she sees a game that’s played by the demons with Ivros overseeing it called Mercy Square. With someone in a cage, they can only get out when someone offers to take their place and deal with the punishment. Those that are freed now owe a favor to those that take their place. Shan a bit crafty in this as she moves through it and frees Price of Brias, Gezur of Oldway. She needs him to get to her next destination but also sees a way of manipulating Ivros to put him off her path for awhile. It’s almost comical in how it unfolds as Ivros is tricked, but you know she’s made an intense enemy with all of this that you hope there’s some payoff with. Shan gambles big here and it’s hard to tell if it’ll really pay off.
But what it leads to is the truly curious part that could, and should, lead to something bigger the next time around for the character if she gets another series. Her journey takes her a long way, but she finally meets the Pale Mistress and is confronted with the idea that Shan herself may actually be a promised emissary spoken of in the past, an ambassador that will help with what is threatening this side of the portal. That’s not what Shan is interested in, still seeking Hwen over all else, but as we learn that March may be involved in something larger and grander in scale that could upset the balance in a huge way, she realizes that she may be stuck even deeper than she realizes. Even though she realizes it, she doesn’t want anything to do with it. But as we see, the Pale Mistress holds all the cards at this point.
The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage is certainly a book that works a lot better when read in full rather than monthly installments, but it’s also a book that if you go back and re-read the individual installments a couple of times and really delve into the panels you can get a lot more out of it. This isn’t a book that’s a superficial read where you skim and get it all. You have to dig into the dialogue and the artwork to really get the most out of it and then you have to connect it back to the previous issues as well. I’m struggling with the book in some ways and can see how it’ll be a fantastic read as a trade, but I’m enjoying the challenge of it in individual form as well.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Valiant Entertainment
Release Date: November 5th, 2014