Thursday, December 7, 2023

Shan Fong Returns in Trippy Doctor Mirage #1

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It is round three for Valiant with Doctor Mirage in their new series from Magdalene Visaggio and Nick Robles. The new run will be five issues and the first one released today, August 28th. Once again, this series features Shan Fong as Doctor Mirage, a paranormal investigator with the ability to speak to the dead and walk in their reality. She, along with her late husband Li Hwen Mirage, have successfully saved the Deadside and were able to live as ghost and wife. Wondering what you can expect from Shan Fong’s new story? Read on.

Shan Fong is on her own this time, with dead husband Hwen no longer even visible to her. In fact, none of the dead are talking to her or even so much as showing themselves. We find Shan in the wreckage of her former home, after what appeared to her as a failed experiment. She remembers her husband, their TV show, and the glory days she ran away from with the loss of her abilities. However, a strange visitor somehow finds her in all of these reveries, with a message from Hwen. Hi, honey! You’re dead. This messenger is Grace Lugo, a teenage girl with a lot of drugs at her disposal. She’s dead too and says this is why Shan’s abilities no longer work. You can’t see the Deadside if that’s where you are. After a lot of personal information and a psychedelic trip, Grace is able to convince Shan that what she says is true. Now the two are going on a journey through Hell in an effort to leave it behind.

Wow! What a start to this series. I went in completely blind, having never read a Doctor Mirage comic before. I was drawn in by promises of a necromancy based superhero, only to find out she couldn’t use her powers! I absolutely loved the addition of Grace, she has just the amount of spunk needed to counteract Shan’s moodiness. Don’t get me wrong, I’d be moody too if I could talk to my dead husband and then suddenly couldn’t. Grace could so easily be a conspiracy theorist, but you desperately want to believe her. And she does know things she shouldn’t, which she could not have learned from her drug habits. Plus, who wouldn’t want to follow someone when they ask, “…Or do you wanna come with me and see the parts of Hell even the devil is scared to visit?”

Doctor Mirage is colorful. Shan Fong’s world is blues and pinks and purples, which is a great color palette for our blue-haired heroine. But color blasts into view with TV flashbacks, perfectly highlighting how empty Shan feels about her new life. When Grace arrives it is a much-needed influx of warmth, her red hair stands out in every scene. They visually balance each other just like their personalities create harmony. And when Grace suggests anabasis? It’s the same influx of color Shan has been longing for.

I can’t wait to see where Shan and Grace end up! Issue #2 drops September 25th, and I’ll be reading it with you.





Letters by DAVE SHARPE

Images courtesy of Valiant Entertainment


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