Last week I read Nancy In Hell, which surprised me with both a plot and a strong female lead. This week I felt like staying with stories involving strong female leads but since I had taken such a big chance on Nancy last week, I decided to read a proven commodity this week. Madame Mirage, written by Paul Dini, drawn by Kenneth Rocafort, published by Top Cow. Normally I skip most Top Cow books because… well just because. But, with Dini’s name attached, I was pretty confident that I would get a good story.
Madame Mirage is Dini’s addition to the hero genre about worlds with limited or no superheroes. In this story, many years ago, super tech was developed as a means to make the world a better place. Of course, some people used the tech for noble purposes and others used it for crime. The governments of the world decided to outlaw all super technology and both heroes and villains were either imprisoned, or went into hiding. Angela and Harper Temple were government sanctioned super tech designers. When the girls tried to sell their technology to the wrong people, their lab was destroyed, and Angela killed. In the present day, the wrong people start turning up dead at the hands of Madame Mirage, who looks like Angela. But she’s dead right?
Paul Dini is an author who needs no introduction. He has been writing excellent stories for years and this is no exception. Madame Mirage has all the classic elements that you expect in a Dini story: strong female leads, snappy dialogue, and plenty of action. The only downfall of the book is that to an extent, it is paint by numbers superheroes. Over the six issues collected in the book, Dini uses a typical structure in which our heroine is introduced, escapes carefully planned death traps by the villains, has a flashback origin tale, and finally, a climatic confrontation with the big bad. Dini has a very special ability to quickly draw you into a story and make you love the heroes and hate the villains. While it isn’t ground breaking, the strength of Dini’s writing makes it all very interesting and entertaining.
Kenneth Rocafort, current artist on Action Comics, has been paying his dues for several years now and this is a collection of his earlier work. The art here isn’t as mature as his current material but it’s still good and you can see why he’s made it too the big leagues. He has a nice angular line, with exaggerated figures. Although some of the characters tend to be especially exaggerated, such as certain endowments of the main character, his lines are very consistent and easy to look at.
Madame Mirage is one of those books which is a fun and light adventure. It contains all the classic elements that you love in superheroes without any of the continuity baggage. Summer is coming, and if you are looking for a book that you can read at the beach and enjoy, then this is the book for you.
- David Lee