The last book I read from Valiant ended up being a rather mediocre experience overall. However, I am not one to easily give up. I’m back at it with Valiant; this time with a comic called The Death-Defying Dr. Mirage. Is it good?
The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage #1 (Valiant Entertainment)
Meet Dr. Mirage. She’s a woman with an extraordinary ability: she’s able to talk with the dead (except for her dearly departed husband for some odd reason). However, in recent years, she had retired from the gig and staying under the radar. However, an old friend of hers has a new job offer for her involving an old rich man with a mysterious military background. It’s a case that she may have been better off just staying retired for…
As far as first issues go, I’m less than impressed with how The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage turned out. While it does initially do a good job at laying out all the ground work (introducing the main character, setup, plot), overall it’s an extremely slow and tedious beginning. The problem is that the book is so dialogue and exposition heavy; the book is around twenty pages and on almost every single page there’s forced exposition.
Now, if the story or characters were a little more interesting, we might be able to get past that little speed bump. However, that’s not the case; the story and characters are just not that compelling. In fact, this story and the main character feel like supernatural horror staples (changes a bit at the end, but the dialogue doesn’t make it sound all that compelling). Dr. Mirage isn’t particularly endearing or interesting as a protagonist, not really doing much the entire issue except for the end. The other characters are one-note and the whole experience is also not helped by the fact that story feels vague (and not in an intentional mysterious way, but in a way that feels like we are missing scenes or conclusions).
Jen Van Meter’s writing itself is alright. The pacing is incredibly slow, with somewhat decent build-up towards the end. The dialogue and exposition are dull, with nothing particularly exciting. Characterization is alright, but no one feels unique or stands out, even the main character. The ending shows some potential for where the comic can go from here at least.
The artwork by Roberto De La Torre is probably the best thing about the comic. While a bit scratchy and unrefined in some areas (reminds me a bit of Sean Murphy in some areas), it does stand out and fit the tone the comic is conveying. The characters look fine, the panel layouts are decent, the colorist on the book does a solid job, and it’s fine at conveying a creepy and foreboding mood at points (especially in the finale scene). If the pacing picks up and the writer spices things up a bit, I could easily see this being one of Valiant’s best titles with this type of art.
Is It Good?
The Death-Defying Dr. Mirage #1 is a forgettable start and in need of some fine tuning. The story and characters are not interesting or compelling and the writing leaves a lot to be desired. On the other hand, the artwork is appealing and the ending does some a bit of promise with where it’s going. However, there’s still a lot of work to be done with this book, so hopefully it can turn around in the remaining issues.
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