"The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage: Second Lives #1" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Valiant Entertainment

dr mirage second lives 1 00

Written by Jen Van Meter
Illustrated by Roberto de la Torre
2015, 32 Pages, 3.99
Comic released on December 23rd, 2015


Relationships can be complicated enough on their own.  Making one of the people a ghost amplifies that exponentially.  Unfortunately, that's the case for Shan and Hwen.  She's alive and talks to ghosts.  He's dead.  They can talk and spend time together, but they cannot touch one another.  Despite these difficulties, they love each other dearly.  They've set off to find an ancient scroll that could make Hwen corporeal.  Of course, that is far easier said than done.

The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage: Second Lives first takes some time to establish the relationship between the two main characters.  You see what their daily life is like as they're repairing their home, which was nearly demolished in the previous series, while taking on occasional cases of hauntings and possessions.  Before Hwen died, they had their own TV show exploring the supernatural world.  

Click images to enlarge

The first case they take on involves a wedding that goes horribly wrong when a pair of spirits “crash” the bride and groom, possessing them.  This is a pretty tense scene, as the wedding guests start panicking and find that the doors are locked, trapping them inside the church.  Meanwhile, there's one guy trying to control the ghosts, but things are not going his way.  The Doctors Mirage bust in and immediately take charge of the situation.  Shan leads the way, given that she can actually touch things, but Hwen proves useful by scoping the place out beforehand and communicating with the other spirits.  They really do make a great team.

Their search for this scroll leads them to an absolute massacre.  This item, although very useful and important to them, becomes the maguffin in a chase for a very evil force capable of killing ghosts.  This presents a danger not only to Shan but to Hwen as well.  The spirit moves almost like a virus, jumping from place to place.  Little is shown aside from its sheer power, however there are some major bad vibes coming out of this thing.

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Roberto de la Torre's artwork has a very loose style that matches the overall tone of the comic.  This works very well in the darker scenes, but can sometimes give the characters a sketch-like look, like it's unfinished.  I'd be curious as to what his pencils would look like with a tight inker reining them in a bit.

The art direction here is pretty top notch as well.  De la Torre doesn't reveal everything.  Instead, he lets your mind fill in the gory details in the climax of the issue.  You see the before and the bloody aftermath, but not the actual act.  You get a very good idea of what happens based on the reactions of the other characters.  

The ghosts are colored slightly differently than the live characters.  They're pale but not translucent.  This is a great effect that helps distinguish the spirits from those in the land of the living.  It gives them a very haunting look.

Click images to enlarge

It's tough to talk about this comic without mentioning the beautiful cover by Jelena Kevic-Djurdjevic.  It immediately gives you a great idea of what to expect from the series with a very striking image of Shan hugging an invisible Hwen.  You don't see any part of Hwen aside from his silhouette.  There's something comforting yet heartbreaking about it.  Great stuff. 

The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage: Second Lives mixes horror with romance in a way that works tremendously well.  You immediately care about Shan and Hwen and want to see them together.  They deserve it after all the pain and suffering they've been through.  They're thrown into some dangerous circumstances by the end of this first issue, but it's all worth it if it means they can at least touch each other again.


Story: fourstars Cover
Art: fourstars
Overall: fourstars


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James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
Other articles by this writer



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