Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Second Life of Dr. Mirage #6 and #7 (Classic Valiant)

After an encounter with evil necromancer Master Darque, paranormal investigator/scientist Hwen Mirage was left an intangible phantom. Luckily, he was saved from death by his wife, Carmen Ruiz, and the two fought Darque back. Much later, after a reluctant team-up with Darque (to save the superhero Shadowman), the couple leave his New Orleans estate, not realizing that a mysterious black substance has latched onto Carmen's shoe. Hwen is feeling more down than ever that he can't go out into society in his ghostly form, but the fact that the clothes he died in (and is therefore permanently stuck in) is a ski outfit gives Carmen the idea to set up a holiday to the snowy mountains of Aspen, Colorado. The duo have fun for what they tell friends is a second honeymoon, but unfortunately the evil Doctor Eclipse has followed them, and as he sucks dry anyone he comes across, he plans to devour Hwen's necromantic essence...

This story from supernatural horror domestic comedy series The Second Life of Doctor Mirage is well-written. While not a whole lot happens over the course of the two issues to really warrant this being a two-parter, it isn't wasteful, at least. The humour in this series is, as usual, funny. I especially love the title to Issue #7-When Hwen Won One.

Hwen and Carmen are smart, resourceful main characters, and the way they solve their problems and fight back is definitely nicely inventive, although I suppose it is a bit convenient that they just so happen to head for silver mines which contain the one substance that naturally counters necromantic energy.

Dr. Eclipse is creepy at first, when you don't see his face, and he's methodically horrifically murdering people...But then he starts talking. Now, unlike other Valiant fans, I don't dislike Dr. Eclipse. Yeah, he is a one-note villain, but I find his gleefully murderous insanity to be amusing, and it can be creepy at times, especially with how his face looks-Unfortunately he's not his usual self this issue, as he's a mess due to the events of other Valiant series Secret Weapons Issues #1 and #2. He gets a few lines of proper crazy dialogue, but mostly he just says "Eclipse needs Darque power" a lot. Too much! Also, he doesn't have a doctorate...Yes, I'm aware he's an insane necromantic protean psychopath, but having a supervillain call themselves Doctor just for style is not cool!

One slightly annoying aspect about these two comics is that they say the word Darque so many times! I don't even get why the characters always call necromantic energy 'Darque power'. He neither invented it, nor is he worthy in any way to have the energy named after him!

The biggest problem with this story is that the timeline of Carmen's backstory doesn't add up. How could she have been in a previous marriage? She and Hwen first started dating when they were young and in college, so either she was married before college, which would make her very young when she did so, or she studied for a really long time, or she was married for only about four weeks (which isn't the case, as it's mentioned that she and her previous husband frequently vacationed across the U.S.).

My final complaints with these issues are two random pieces of dialogue. There's one moment where the writer gets 'impulsive' mixed up with 'compulsive'. and there's an unintentionally hilarious part where a guy's dying screams are "Yeeeeaahhh!". The intent is that it's like 'yeaaaagh', but there are too few repeated A's' to make it look like a scream, and it instead sounds like a surfer dude has just found a sweet ride.

The artwork in these issues is very good! The only downfall is Carmen's face in one panel at the start of  #7 is weirdly angular.

The cover to Issue #6 is nifty, and #7's is decent, but the lack of a background is irksome, and since the cover is so bare, the TM logo is painfully obvious.

Mainly due to its being spread out over more space than necessary, these issues of The Second Life of Doctor Mirage aren't quite as great as usual, but they're still entertaining, and I definitely recommend them!...

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