The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage returned this week with an issue exploring the spirit world and Shan’s past. Jen Van Meter and Roberto De la Torre continue to deliver a compelling and emotional supernatural journey through love and loss. We’re halfway through the mini-series and there are no signs of the book slowing down.
This issue opens with the story that Shan is trading for passage to The Long Walks. Stories and mystical artifacts are used as currency in the spirit world. She shares the heart-breaking story of the death of her husband Hwen with her guides before they come across a cage in the middle of Mercy Square. Someone must always occupy this cage, and those who show the occupant mercy and free them must take their place. Still being pursued by Ivros and his demon army, Shan is forced to take refuge in Mercy Square. All the while, in the world of the living, the cult is getting closer and closer to finding Shan’s defenseless living body.
Something I’ve cited as a weakness in the previous issues, the overwhelming amount of information, has actually grown to be one of my favorite parts of the book. The story is bursting with new details and depth, while never holding the reader’s hand. It might hurt the accessibility of the series some, but for readers willing to put time in with the book there’s an incredible story of love and loss being told here. I recommend reading each issue of the series twice.
Van Meter continually impresses with her pacing each issue. She manages to weave in flashbacks, exploration of the spirit world, and events happening in the real world seamlessly together, never sacrificing the pace of the issue. These three storylines each have a unique feel while also fitting together to form a complete narrative. I also admire the character work she’s doing with Shan. By telling us Shan’s past through stories, we’re given a better glimpse into who she is and how her past has shaped her. She’s a fascinating character that you can’t help but love.
De La Torre has some beautiful panels in this book, often utilizing bright colors to contrast the stylish dark mood he’s crafted in previous issues. His characters design is perfect for the supernatural world, with heavily shadowed demons and spirits giving an appropriately creepy tone. I think this book has his best work on the series to date.
The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage continues to be one of my most anticipated books each month. The story of Shan’s journey to find her husband is beautifully told and filled with heart-wrenching moments. These moments are brought to life by some absolutely incredible art that deserves your attention. This miniseries is only half over and I can’t wait to see what the creative team does next.