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Madame Mirage #5

Posted: Saturday, February 23, 2008
By: Ray Tate

Paul Dini
Kenneth Rocafort, Imaginary Friends Studios (colors)
Image Comics
Last issue it seemed that Madame Mirage was making a Green Hornet play. The Green Hornet kept up the belief among gangsters and the law that he was simply weeding out the rest of the criminal underworld in order to become its kingpin of crime. The reality was quite different.

Dini doesn't go quite that far in Madame Mirage. Instead, he has the Madame stay true to character and merely improvise the Green Hornet's technique as yet another illusion. Dini shows that such an attempt without the conviction would have failed to convince the Big Bads anyway.

Indeed, the Madame barely escapes with her life, and Dini introduces another undercurrent that intrigues the reader. Issues past we discovered the zaftig pulp heroine was nothing more than a holographic image and judiciously applied force fields. She was the image of the operator's deceased sister, who bears more realistic proportions, and yes, prick her, and she will bleed.

Dini now puts forth the idea that perhaps Harper Temple has given her creation life. There is another possibility. Harper is suffering from survivor's guilt, and she has quietly gone mad through the isolation and obsession with her mission: to spring her super-hero father from the federal prison now run by the super-villains.

The beauty in the possibilities is that both are just as entrancing. On the one hand, Madame Mirage will continue to change and surprise. This book started out under a false perception that the Madame was real and a Shadow-like figure. As the story continued, it became something else. Madame Mirage evolves without losing the essence of the core idea.

One thing is for certain. Madame Mirage would have failed without Kenneth Rocafort. Rocafort uses a delicate, spidery touch to weave panels of intrigue. His style is vaguely European but pulled from various inspirations. I can see a some of Barberella's Jean Claude Forest as well as Valentina's Guido Crepax in his work. The Madame has the nonplused professional attitude of Modesty Blaise and the body of a Jordi Bernet Torpedo gun moll.

These attributes fit in with Dini's uncommercial tone. The Madame is not interested in surrender or the taking of prisoners. She's not going to mollify the cries of the politically correct. Children should not be reading her adventures, because Madame Mirage intends to systematically eliminate the villains who long ago became victorious, or so they thought.



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