Writer: Paul Dini
Artist: Kenneth Rocafore
Madame Mirage smartly combines pulp sensibilities with super-hero paradigms. The art makes this book unique, and the color choices differ remarkably from any other comic on the rack.
The Shadow and the Spider were the undisputed kings of the creepy pulp adventures of yore. Both bore similarities, but their differences were equally strong. The Shadow and the Spider believed using .45 automatics to create large bloody holes in tumors could cure the criminal cancer plaguing society. They were both masters of disguise and both were crafters in mystique.
Because of magician/writer William B. Gibson, The Shadow became a practitioner of stage magic. His hypnotic powers were an extension of this skill. The Spider seldom performed and preferred to meet his ghastly foes directly. The Shadow used make-up and masks when he needed them, but the Spider was a superior chameleon. The Shadow dispatched criminals coldly. The Spider was certifiable given his penchant not to just killing criminals but also leaving his mark, a hairy-legged spider, on his victims' brows. The Shadow used a vast system of operatives to break up crime rings, but the Spider only worked with an intimate circle that knew his identity.
Madame Mirage follows in the Shadow's and the Spider's footsteps. Just because she's a woman doesn't mean that's she's anything less lethal than her pulpy ancestry. Madame Mirage uses stage magic and a .45 Smith & Wesson to dispatch justice. She works with an intimate circle to see her plans fruit. She faces her foes directly and uses her network to cut through her foes' lieutenants and flunkies.
Madame Mirage does indeed carry on many traditions of the Shadow and the Spider, but she does so in a particular way. Madame Mirage has the spicy flair of the Domino Lady, a thief from the era, but she keeps her clothing on to strike a timeless symbol. She is never dying justice and woe to the villainy that have taken over a high-tech world.
Madame Mirage has a song in her heart when she kills criminals, but she also maintains a strong, almost tongue-in-cheek sense of humor at all times. She always seems amused, and her attitude gives the book a sense of Avengers whimsy.
Part of this je ne sais quoi comes from the delicate, stylish art of Kenneth Rocafore. There's always color to Madame Mirage's cheeks and a smile at the corner of her lips as she takes down the suits and ties masking the super-villains who now rule the earth.
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