Valiant Entertainment 2019
Written by Magdalene Visaggio
Illustrated by Nick Robles
Coloured by Jordie Bellaire
Lettered by Dave Sharpe
Doctor Mirage’s mind-bending mystery to the other side leads her to a frightening new foe! How death-defying is Doctor Mirage? Featuring the first appearance of a terrifying new villain! Enter: the Embalmer!
I love the opening here and a huge shoutout to Dave for being able to bring Hieroglyphs into the comic this way. The narration when it begins in English is incredibly well done and the whole idea of an afterlife and those religions that showcase what happens after death. I do find it interesting that Egyptian gods were chosen for this of all the pantheons that have guardians in death. Kudos however for this choice it makes for interesting reading that's for sure.
What Magdalene does right away is not only take the reader on this amazing journey but she engages their mind as well. I thought of other gods of death and who else could have been seen, this shows that Magdalene really understands how to draw a reader into the story and engage their mind so that they become a part of the story. The way that we see this being told through the story & plot development and how we see the release of information is exceptionally well done. The character development here is flawless and I am enjoying seeing the relationship between these two as it grows and evolves. As frustrating as it is for Shan I find it incredibly fun to see the banter between them. When we look at the pacing here we see all the twists, turns and possibly a revelation or two added to the mix. All of this creates such an interesting ebb & flow to the book.
I always wondered why we'd get this look at what appeared to be the television show here. Yes Shan talked about the show at the beginning and yes it makes sense that it could be seen this way but there's no one filming and I feel as if there is more to that than meets the eye at this point. I am also beginning to wonder if she's even dead at all, I mean she should be able to see Hwen if she were and she wouldn't need this girl as a guide. What is up with that how is this girl on her medication able to come here and be a guide? There's something happenin here and what it is ain't exactly clear, there's a snake with a grudge over there, telling me, I got to beware. Seriously there is something wonky going on here, I think on some level Shan knows this and playing this scenario out is the only way to come out of it.
Oh my stars and garters what Nick and Jordie are doing with the interiors here is so bloody brilliant that I cannot contain myself. The sheer size and scope of the imagination and creativity that is on display here would've made the psychedelic posters of the 60's jealous. You could literally spend hours just combing through the pages lost in the details and be mesmerised by what you see. It is almost as if you have to be sure you haven't missed something. Never have I seen interior pages quite like this before and the power behind what it holds is simply stunning. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show off Nick's stupendous eye for storytelling. Oh I almost forgot the linework and how the varying weights are utilised to create the attention to detail that we see is inspiring. The colour work, wow I mean what else can you say? I love seeing the base colour and the all these hues and tones within it utilised to create this shading and shadows. Even the dark pages have this vibrancy infused into them that is simply divine.
I love what Magdalene is doing here. She is not only writing this amazing story but she's had me in my own head asking questions, thinking about all kinds of things that aren't on the page and has me so thoroughly involved, invested and engaged. I can't get enough of this and while I was wondering what kind of story Magdalene was going to be telling I couldn't have imagined anything close to this so she has my vote to keep doing arcs for as long as she thinks she has stories to tell. Oh and keep the entire team together too.