By Emma Rios, Hwei Lim
“Tell me how a little rat will succeed where so many mightier have failed?”
“I don’t know if I will, Sir. But if I don’t even try, I’ll have already failed.”
One should read comics for the art, the stories, and the life lessons.
How does this story start out, you ask? What beauty has been conjured up in the world of Mirror #1 right from the start? A TALKING DOG! If that’s not the biggest selling point of this series then I don’t know what is. Emma Rios scripts a story alongside artist Hwei Lim that takes us into a fairytale landscape filled with talking animals and nasty villains. Rios does well to take us through a day in the life of one of these talking animals with Zun (a talking rat – the one from the quote!). Through Zun’s adventures we meet the various other characters of this story, quite a few of which are other talking animals, but also some humans as well. Rios creates drama between the characters not far into the issue as we learn one of the humans consider the animals friends, while the others desire them for other means.
The world of this story seems familiar, for it’s take on fantasy, but Rios does a great job at giving it a fresh look and feel. Zun is faced with challenges right from the beginning, creating an unlikely hero in the process and giving us the underdog that will inevitably overcome many (more) obstacles.
The artwork in this series is done by Hwei Lim as we get pages looking as if done with watercolors. Lim often plays with the panels and the characters to create lively scenes throughout the issue. One of these scenes features Zun running about the Esagila, a giant spire much resembling a palace on the inside. Lim shows Zun leaping from one panel to the next while traversing the palace, at one point even using the space between the panels as a bar to hold onto with both hands and tail. Lim often keeps the colors throughout the issue quite bright, bringing the tone down a bit during scenes containing certain characters.
Something else Rios and Lim give us at the end of the issue is a look at the schematics and structure of the Esaglia. Showing us how some of the characters reside at the very bottom and others at the top. It gives the story a different feel when going back and seeing exactly where the characters were during certain scenes and how much area they had to traverse (Zun runs around everywhere).
Issue #1 of Mirror creates a world of fantasy loaded with tragedy. Rios and Lim give enough backstory to give this issue a lot of heart and drive right from the beginning as we see the struggles these characters have been facing. This issue points towards hope, and as the quote from Zun says above “if I don’t even try, I’ve already failed” – so might as well go out there and fix all the bad things in life! Especially if you’re a talking rat! (Or a TALKING DOG!)