Writer: Paul Dini
Artist: Kenneth Rocafore
Publisher: Top Cow
Old school crime-fighting, with a cyberpunk edge and some super-heroics mixed in makes for a great deal of fun with Madame Mirage. After a brief introduction which informs readers about the rise of mega-heroes early in this century, this issue jumps right into the action, leaving us with enough questions by the end to make things intriguing. Combine the interesting story with some fantastic art and youíve got a great first issue.
The concept behind Madame Mirage is simple enough. Sometime in the near future technology becomes available to make super-heroes a reality. But human nature gets in the way, and itís not long before the augmented "megas" are using their abilities to get rich at the expense of everyone else. When governments bring the eventual smack down on these individuals, many simply disappear. A number of them, though, form business syndicates that allow them to continue their nefarious ways behind fronts of legitimacy. As one might imagine, this is pretty lucrative. That is, until Angela Mirage shows up.
Madame Mirage works for a number of reasons. The first of which is that it creates an atmosphere. It delivers the sense that story is taking place in the future, but the heroine is decidedly anachronistic. In the opening pages readers see several standard super-hero types that would look right at home in Cyberforce or Hunter Killer. However, by the time the events of the main story develop, no oneís wearing costumes anymore. Apparently, itís just not a done thing. No one "suits up" anymore, as one character puts it. As for the heroine, whether itís the art deco fonts on the cover, or the dress that looks like something Rita Hayworth might wear, the book delivers the sense that sheís from somewhere else. The combination of the two makes for an odd, but strangely compatible, ambience.
The other thing that makes this first issue work well is the charm of the characters involved. The titular heroine has her own brand of allure, naturally, but so does her blond sidekick and even a Malibu surfer bad guy. The dialogue has wit and keeps things moving even at points where the book could have easily stalled.
The art wraps it all up, though, and makes the book. Being unfamiliar with the jargon of artistic techniques, just let me say this: Itís damn pretty.
While the first issue delivers a nearly encapsulated story, it also does a good job of leaving the reader with a fistful of classic questions. Questions like, who is Madame Mirage and why does she do what she does? It should be fun finding out.
If you liked this review, be sure to check out more of the authorís work at http://madbastard.hypersites.com
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