by Jen Van Meter, Roberto De La Torre

The Story

After the revelation of the last issue that Hwen was still alive and a prisoner of the Pale Mistress, Shan must work out a deal with her to free him from her grasp. They come to an agreement that Hwen will be freed, but Shan must return his staff from the bottom of the ocean to her or he will disappear into nothingness. Meanwhile in the world of the living, the brotherhood has captured Shan and taken her to their lair to prepare for sacrifice. When Shan and Hwen take wind of this, they decide to separate once again to fulfill their promise to the Pale Mistress, and attempt to save Shan from being killed all the while attempting to stop Ivros and his demon forces from invading the real world.

Throughout this miniseries, writer Jen Van Meter has done a tremendous job slowly building up this world, enticing readers into the darker side of the Valiant universe. Shan’s journey to find her husband hasn’t been easy, and this issue finally offers the payoff we’ve all been waiting for – the reunion of Shan and Hwen years after his “death.” The scene is touching and magical and shows that this isn’t just a story about magic, but about the power of love to overcome and succeed.

Of course, the ending left me wondering how Van Meter will reconcile the fact that Shan and Hwen may be forever lost to each other, but it is these twists and turns which make The Death Defying Dr. Mirage such a joy to read.

My one gripe with this issue was how quickly the demon lord Ivros was able to free himself from his prison on Mercy Square. It seems to me that at least one of his minions would have wanted to take Ivros’ power onto himself to conquer the world of the living, though such a story may have played out better in an ongoing series instead of a book with only one issue left to go.

The Art

Roberto De La Torre continues his amazing work in the art department. Not everyone will enjoy the dark, gritty look of the book, but it provides a great visual representation of this mystical, dark world. Many other artists could have tackled Dr. Mirage, but De La Torre’s depictions of characters and environments serve to give the story the ambiance it deserves and the panel showcasing their reunion, is among one of the most well laid out and powerful panels of recent memory.


The Death Defying Dr. Mirage continues to be among one of the best books being published by Valiant today. If you’re looking to learn more about the magical side of the Valiant universe, this is a book you do not want to miss.

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