A small beef was ignited a couple of weeks ago during our Francis Manapul. It was nothing serious, and I don’t even think anyone at Top Cow was truly miffed, but our interviewer made a small crack about the genre of so called “T & A” comics and it was misconstrued as us not liking the brand, which couldn’t be further from the truth. We love comics no matter what they look like. If they’re good, we’ll love them, simple as that. Top Cow even gave us one of my favorite artists of all time, the late, great, dearly departed Michael Turner.
But I digress, during Wondercon some months back, while I was looking through the dealer hall, I came across a book by one of my favorite writers on a book I hadn’t heard of before. Paul Dini had taken the time to write a book that wasn’t focused on Batman? Huh…who’d have thought? I picked it up, and it was one of my favorite stories by one of my favorite writers.
Madame Mirage is a complex story. In this world, superheroics were achieved not through magic, or industrial accidents, but through honest to God technological achievement. But that came at a price. Like with other books, for every one hero, there were a hundred similarly powered criminals and terrorists plaguing the world with the exact thing created to save it. So governments did what they would do to protect their populace. They made the tech illegal. In a sort of alternate Marvel Civil War, the heroes were now outlaws, and turned themselves in. This did more harm than good though, because most lost their reputations and freedoms to lawsuits and prison time for their altruistic deeds. The villains found a way to legitimize themselves through shell corporations. I guess it’s just the way of the world.
It’s also a story about sisters. We’re first introduced to Madame Mirage, a woman with powers similar to the Spider-Man villain Mysterio. She can bend reality to her will, or create mirages that confuse her enemies to where they have no idea where she’ll strike. But we also meet her sister Harper, a sort of IT specialist. There’s a real tragic twist in this relationship, but I don’t want to give that away, because it’s better if you discover it yourself, but let’s just say that because of this twist (and a reveal later on), it’s also a story of revenge against the evil ASI Corporation.
This corporation employs a long list of villains, all of whom try to take on our heroine. They’re all tough, and it definitely reads like a true rogue’s gallery for Madame Mirage and Harper. They’re treated as almost jokes, even with their names. There’s a Rhino-type villain called “Pachy-Doom.” Yeah, he’s the Elephant of DEATH. It’s hilarious. But he’s plenty scary on top of the funky name.
On e reason to check this out is the art by Kenneth Rocafort. It’s definitely one of the sexiest books top Cow has ever put out, and that’s really saying something. The art is definite evidence of this, as the women are even drawn more effectively than the men. I would guess this is Dini’s way of driving the point him that this is a sexy book with sexy women.
Speaking of Dini, his writing here is as effective as it ever was, crafting a multi-layered story that isn’t quite linear (so it’s not boring), but not so far out that you’re confused. The tender moments fully explain the harder nosed action sequences, and complement each other well. It’s a testament to his talents as a scribe, and a solid reason as to why he’s one of my favorite writers on the stands.
So should you pick this up? Absolutely. It’s entertaining from beginning to end, and there are quite a few laughs, gasps, and eye popping scenes that will surprise you, but never confuse you.Continued below
Pick it up here on Amazon