Friday, November 14, 2014

The Second Life of Doctor Mirage #13 (Classic Valiant)

Today's comic is one that had all the ingredients to go terribly wrong. It's guest-starring a real-life celebrity, a gimmick that could easily go wrong, and most worrisome of all, said actor is a co-writer! Whether your thoughts are 'Actors are not writers!', or 'Would they even know a damn thing about what they're writing for, or are they just in it for a quick buck?', such a credit is bound to produce warning signs!...However, this issue of Valiant supernatural comedy The Second Life of Doctor Mirage is an exception to that rule in every way!

Married paranormal investigators Hwen Mirage and Carmen Ruiz are the happiest they've been in a long time since Hwen, who's been an intangible phantom for the better part of a year, has been able to channel his supernatural powers to regain his solidity, albeit only a few hours at a time. They decide to visit an old friend of theirs, soap opera actor Walt Willey, and quickly realize that a mysterious Celtic cult has him marked him for ritual sacrifice...

This is a very well-written issue, with an entertainingly ooky plot, good pacing, and fine characters. The Mirages are great leads, both romantic and fun, while Rico is an enjoyable comic relief who actually contributes to the plot, rather than just stand around and be goofy. Hwen's mother May Fong doesn't have much character, but she's likeable nonetheless.

And finally, onto Walt Willey, real life actor. He's a likeable character who fits naturally into the story, rather than feel forced in where he shouldn't be. As a co-writer, I've no idea if Willey actually co-wrote the plot, or if he just wrote his own dialogue. If he did do the former, then that shows he actually knew what he was doing, which is much appreciated.

Neatly enough, the presence of Walt Willey here isn't completely out of nowhere, as he's been namedropped a few times in past issues as being a friend of the Mirage's.

One thing I really like about this story is the reason for Hwen holding a grudge against Walt. A cliche in numerous media is that there are two guys who have a feud going because of how they 'fought' over a woman, as if she's a piece of property rather than a person. It seems that this story is following that cliche at first, but the ending bucks it, by revealing that the reason behind Hwen's grudge is a more understandable one, and isn't sexist in the slightest.

As per usual, this issue of Doctor Mirage is quite funny, and there are a couple of humorous lines courtesy of Walt Willey, and thankfully they come across more as Willey mocking his abductors in the face of death, rather than a real-life celebrity saying comedic lines because the script wants to inject in some forced and unfunny humour.

The artwork is very good as usual, but not without faults. The colouring is a bit pale in places, and both Rico and particularly Walt Willey's faces look a bit off in parts. The cover is pretty good, even if the sidebar is annoyingly in the way.

Issue #13 of The Second Life of Doctor Mirage is a great issue, which manages to buck any unlucky connection the number may connotate...

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