Valiant First Review: The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage #1 by Jen Van Meter and Roberto de la Torre


Review: The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage #1

Published by Valiant Entertainment
Written by Jen Van Meter
Art by Roberto De La Torre
Coloured by David Baron

The Plot

We meet Shan who can make contact with the deceased. We see her in action doing work for various people by providing them with messages from beyond. At the same time, she is very upset about the loss of her husband, Hwen, who for some reason she cannot make contact with. Her agent, Leo, tries to set her up with a wealthy client named Linton March. She reluctantly agrees and assumes that it concerns his deceased wife. However, his request goes much darker and deeper than she expected. Shan also finds another surprise while at March’s place, which ends up helping her make her decision with the job. She makes some preparations and shows that her talent isn’t just with speaking with the dead. The issue ends with her preparing to make a dangerous journey in order to hopefully find some answers of her own.

The Breakdown

I had zero knowledge of the Doctor Mirage series from the ‘90s, which made this book a clean slate for me. I liked how Shan’s talents were legit and that she wasn’t a con artist. Van Meter did a good job of Shan’s characterization in this issue. Her struggle with the loss of Hwen was believable and didn’t seem generic, which helped to make her motivations more genuine. She’s a bit of a smartass and she’s not annoying about it either. The backstory with March was interesting and it was dark, which means it’ll probably be even worse than what it seems. I also enjoyed how Shan wasn’t naïve about it and how it affected the story. By her explaining her concerns and questions about the job, it possibly negated the typical double cross twisty plot device thing that happens a lot. I also liked Shan’s encounter with the surprise in March’s place. It is also good to see a well done female protagonist as the lead in a series. This is going to be an intense book and I’m interested to see how the supernatural plays out in it. The art in this title suited it well and I like the subtle differences with how those living and dead are drawn. I liked the panel layouts and designs as well. The colours by Baron are effective at setting up the atmosphere of the book and I thought they looked great. This is a very different looking book than the other Valiant titles. The more I read it the more I was enjoying it.


The only thing that slightly bothered me was near the end of the book, I wasn’t sure what character was in the panel (it was Shan) and I was a bit confused for a minute. Also, I’ve never met anyone that’s used John Cougar Mellencamp for their “song.” That wasn’t a big deal though.

Buy It, Borrow It, Shelf Read It, or Ignore It?

Buy It. I really like the creators Valiant are bringing in. I’m really looking forward to the next issue as everything with the title, logo, main character, story, etc. just worked for me. I went into this one just to find something to review and was surprised by it. The creative team effectively created a book that is unique from the rest of the Valiant U. I did a quick google search and saw that the original Doctor Mirage was male. Valiant made Doctor Mirage into a female because it fit and not because they wanted to boost numbers or make headlines by reintroducing the character this way. This version of the character is here to stay and so far her story is interesting. Doctor Mirage is a book that’s worth reading and it’s always good to see a heroine effectively portrayed in any medium.

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