Doctor Shan Fong has a special ability to communicate with recently passed spirits. Talking to the dead has led her onto a career as a paranormal investigator of which she has some renown. Helping widows reconnect with lost loves helps her pay the bills, but it is a missing connection with a lost love that drives her. The lost love is her husband Hwen who is the only spirit she cannot find. Her search for Hwen takes her off into one of the most dangerous cases she has ever encountered in the pages of “The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage” #1.
The new series from Valiant Comics is written by Jan Van Meter with art by Roberto de la Torre. It is the beginning of a five-part series into the occult underbelly of the Valiant Universe. Dr. Mirage has a biting personality and a quick wit and is very clear she is not some scam-artist. She is shown to be a straightforward character in that her comments are candid and her actions are genuine.
Van Meter sets up a great character in Dr. Mirage exploring her personality through her dealings with the cast who need her services to find peace in their lives. It is her reluctance in handling these people that shows the pain she feels over not being able to find her husband. Her dealings with others are just part of the intrigue into Dr. Mirage.
Her characterization is vital to taking the next step into going deeper into a story. When all signs scream danger and every fiber of her being tells her not to take her latest case, the pain and sadness she feels pushes her forward for that one chance of reconnecting with her lost husband.
De la Torre’s artwork sets the tone for the story. It is gloomy with a layers of grit that evokes the dark and ominous nature of the occult. He draws a distinct beauty to Dr. Mirage that shows her rough edges that confirm her statement that she is, ”Not much for nice and trusting.”
The surrounding world of Dr. Mirage is a museum of the occult from the items in her home to the museum-like estate of her newest client. De la Torre gives a detailed rendering of the world this story is set in full of artifacts that look as intriguing as they are ancient. They work to support the narrative giving credence to the words of Mirage’s new client as well us confirming her hesitations about this case.
The artwork is enhanced by David Baron’s coloring. With cool shades of blues and purples the story takes a somber noir-esque twist. The palette brings out the foreboding feel of the story.
“The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage” #1 sets up an intriguing mystery with a character that despite her “mean streak” is someone you can feel a connection with. She is dealing with her own loss that may be driving her into a world she can never come back from. The words and the pictures work together to round out the story that is intriguing and will make you want to grab the next issue to find out what happens next.