By Jen Van Meter, Roberto De La Torre and David Baron
Not entirely knowing what to expect with The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage (which is set to be released September 3) might be the best way to go. Not knowing anything previously about this character—or, admittedly any characters from Valiant in the 90s—helps to set aside any misconceptions about the character that might be lingering from the original Valiant days. Like, for example, that it looks like Dr. Mirage was a man in the 90s. Based on some of the backlash going around these days for gender or race changes (that this might be on the same stage or level as some of those) it’s plausible to think old fans might be turned off by this. Frankly, they’d be stupid to ignore this book simply based on that.
Jen Van Meter has an interesting starting point here for a clearly messed up and potentially emotionally unstable Dr. Mirage. Starting off with what she does, with apparent ease, and leading up to a good, old fashioned ‘what the hell just happened?’ cliff hanger, Doctor Mirage is flawlessly paced. Glimpses of an over-arching story, something to do with Mirage’s husband and her inability to contact him with her unique abilities, mix in well with a rather shady character trying to pay for her services in a matter that might not be what it seems on the surface. It’s hard not to be reminded of Shadowman and already look forward to their inevitable meeting after, of course, this solo book is set up and we get a little more insight on Dr. Mirage as is the norm with all of the Valiant books thus far.
The sketchier art of Roberto De La Torre, that almost have a Garry Brown from The Massive vibe to it, and the excellent toned down color work of David Baron work extremely well with the mood and story Van Meter is trying to create and seeing as De La Torre has worked on Shadowman in the past, he’s the perfect fit to give fans something new while still maintaining some familiarity. It really ties together, for lack of anything better to describe them right now, the “paranormal” set of books Valiant has, without shoving Shadowman in new reader’s faces right from the start.
Admittedly, this book has some interesting potential moving forwards. Calling herself a “paranormal investigator” is interesting—and hey maybe we can have her channel a certain, big, red and dead demon who also happens to be a paranormal investigator (shut up, I can dream)—and it really leaves a lot of potential for Van Meter in the issues to come. Once the first arc is over and Doctor Mirage is let loose on the Valiant Universe, it’s going to be interesting to see how she fits in with the likes of the Unity group. Valiant has some awesome, awesome books that a lot of people seem to pass up. If you’re interested in high quality books with a universe that’s still growing and changing then it can’t be stressed enough that Valiant is for you.