Valiant Entertainment 2019
Written by Magdalene Visaggio
Illustrated by Nick Robles
Coloured by Jordie Bellaire
Lettered by Dave Sharpe
How do you solve the case of your own death?
Paranormal expert Doctor Shan Fong Mirage was born with the ability to see and speak to the dead—an ability that has mysteriously stopped working. Have her powers failed or is something far more sinister at work? Will she figure out her fate and the fate of the one she loves the most? Valiant's gripping supernatural mystery starts here!
I wonder if this is picking up from Incursion and what we saw of that. For me it's a logical guess considering what had happened and taking Gilead to the Deadside. If it doesn't that's not such a big deal but I the idea of that and the continuity aspect as well. Plus there are consequences to the actions these characters take with one another and they all know this. So there we are and while Magdalene doesn't reveal the events leading up to this the fact of the matter is this is where we find ourselves so let's dive in and have some fun shall we?
This first issue is really interesting and the direction it is taking isn't one that I had expected to see and that alone should be worth the price of admission. The opening is superb and I like the way that we see the past brought to life as Shan relives her past in probably the worst scenario nightmare of a way. There really is something about this that delights and mortifies at the same time and Magdalene has found a way to balance those like one in a high wire act.
I do like the way that this is being told and how we see the book being structured. The story & plot development and the character development have a really good way of weaving through each other in this symbiotic relationship with magnetic attraction and pushing apart. With the way that the pacing picks all this up and moves the story constantly forward makes the story travel at just the right speed for maximum enjoyment. The introduction of Grace Lugo is sensationally well done. Now if what she says is true well then there is some seriously weird shit going down but for whatever reason it doesn't feel like they are dead but what do I know? Well I do know the dialogue the two have is absolutely amazing and it does a hell of a lot with furthering their characterisation.
Oh Nick dear sweet unassumingly cute Nick. I do believe that work you are doing within these pages are gold!the linework that we see and how their varying weights are utilised to create this attention to detail is superbly done. The way we see the composition inside the panels and how they bring this nice depth perception to us along with nice foreground/background work. Then we get to those pages where Nick and Jordie get to pop pills and take us on a modern day psychedelic trip like none other. I mean sweet home Alabama because the Devil went down to Georgia this is better than the wall on Laugh-In. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show a stupendous eye for storytelling. Jordie is most assuredly one of today's best colourists working in the industry. The tones and hues that make up a colour and how we see the shading and shadow work this as close to perfection as humanly possible.
The story is delightfully unexpected and yet it still fits into what we think when we think of Doctor Mirage. This iteration of the character as a strong independent woman who is also dependent on the love of her dead husband is the kind of dichotomy that we live for. What Magdalene is doing here is reinforcing what we know and taking her some place she's never been before. Throw in Punk Mambo at some point and this will totally be one happy as a clam fanboy, spoiler alert I already am one!