Story: Jen Van Meter
Art: Roberto De La Torre
What They Say:
Scarred, transformed, and strengthened, Dr. Mirage returns from the perils of the spirit world to face the treacherous men who would erase her from existence…with everything to fight for and nothing left to lose!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Much to my surprise, the final issue of the Death-Defying Doctor Mirage has proven to be the most linear, most clear and most enjoyable issue of the run. I’ve enjoyed the book over the course of its run, but it’s been one of those that’s been a challenge at times with how it’s been presented and the structure of it. With this installment, it brings things to a close solidly enough that you feel a sense of closure but also a sense of the potential and possibilities. But a lot of what makes that really feel like it’s appropriate is that you really do get a straightforward final act here that pulls it all together well and doesn’t leave you really questioning what’s going on or what layered meanings there may be.
Though events are recent overall with what Shan has discovered since going to the underworld, what’s been going on is layered in centuries and in more recent decades. The core of it all is Shan trying to get Hwen out of the underworld and back to the real world and we see their struggle well here as they plot, plan, fight and do their damndest, even if she knows she’s deluding herself that she’ll be able to get him out. What they face is the immediate problem of centuries of patience on the part of the demons as the wall between the realities has turned to tatters and Ivros is now ready to make his way out. All of this is also complicated by the deal made with the Pale Mistress as well, but at its most basic it’s all about stopping Ivros from invading the real world with the army that he has there. And avoiding detection until they can get Shan to the other side.
The other side is in its own mix of issues as well, which Shan gets a handle on quickly once she reconnects with her body that’s on the slab with March, who himself is about to be sacrificed by the men he aligned himself with decades ago in order to bring out powerful demons that they could control. We’d seen some of that with what’s chained in the basement and now it takes the satisfying turn of having Shan work some trust and a deal with it in order to end what’s going on here wit the cloaked men. It’s easy to not feel bad for them, old school Nazi occultists that they are, as they lose the power that they’ve had and suffer the ravages, which in turn puts them in a really binded spot with March, similar to what Shan sees with spirits but without him able to see it. The two main arcs of the story do wrap up neatly, which is good, but it’s the epilogue that works the best as the core of the series itself has always been about getting Shan and Hwen back together. Watching that take form in its own special way really does work very well and it feels satisfying.
I’ll admit easily that with most stories, shows and books out there, the journey is usually more satisfying than the conclusion. With this series, it’s a rare instance where I thoroughly enjoyed the final act more than the journey itself, since it felt needlessly convoluted and just an issue or so too long in getting to what it needed to do. I really loved the art style for this and what Roberto de la Torre presented in examining the characters in a new way, but I had struggled with some of the story pacing and plot points as it went on as it just didn’t read smoothly a lot of the time to really establish certain places in time – or places in general. As a whole, the series is a bit of a mixed bag but it now offers up the potential of where it can go with a new miniseries and this one ends on a very, very satisfying note after a strong issue overall.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Valiant Entertainment
Release Date: January 14th, 2015