The second issue of The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage ramps up the supernatural elements this week with an exploration of the spirit world. Jen Van Meter and Roberto De La Torre deliver an exciting follow-up that’s dense with new information. This can make the issue feel overwhelming at times, but a second reading clears things up and helps readers to appreciate the full depth of the story.
This issue opens on Linton March and his captured spirit being tortured at the hands of two members of a secret cult. Linton is a member of this cult, but by contacting Dr. Mirage he has broken their trust. At the same time we join Shan as she enters the spirit world for the first time. She finds out that the walls between our world and the spirit world are cracking and this is causing problems for the thousands of different realms of the spirit world. Being alive in the spirit world comes with a new set of problems, ranging from being used as a heat source for lesser spirits to being pursued by a savage demonic army. Shan has a long and dangerous journey ahead, but there will be allies to help her on her way.
The first time I read through this issue, I was overwhelmed. I had trouble following the story and keeping all of the information straight. The book introduces a lot of new characters and settings, so many that I had to come back and read through it a second time. I wish the book was more accessible, because the second time I read through it I really enjoyed it. Things started clicking for me and I was impressed by the story Van Meter is telling.
A lot of effort goes into building the spirit world and I think it’s a really fascinating microcosm. There are thousands of individual worlds, each with different rules and environments. I’m really looking forward to seeing some of them fleshed out further in the series. One of the three currencies used in the spirit world are stories, and Van Meter uses this as a device for filling readers in on Shan’s past. I liked Shan in the first issue, but I like her even more now that I know some of her history.
De La Torre’s art continues to excel at giving this series a dark and stylish look. The panels are perfect for the moody, supernatural themes of the book. I’m really loving his heavily shadowed designs for the spirit world. In the first issue I wasn’t really a fan of his facial work, but in this issue the faces feel much more expressive.
The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage is telling a great story. The biggest problem I had with this issue is with its accessibility. There’s a lot going on here and it can be easy to miss important points. Still, I recommend checking out this series. There’s a lot to love in this book, even if it requires a second read.