Friday, August 10, 2007

Review - Madame Mirage: First Look

Madame Mirage: First Look
By Paul Dini & Kenneth Rocafort
Colors by (pgs 4-7) Blond,
Letters by Troy Peteri
Published by Top Cow, May 2007. $0.99

Paul Dini is partially responsible for my geek awakening, as I was a serious addict of Batman: The Animated Series. His work on Lost is excellent, and I enjoy his Eisner winning one-shot Mad Love. He is a writer I respect, but Madame Mirage made me feel excluded.

The first thing, well first two things, that struck me are the size of Madame’s breasts. I understand Top Cow has a reputation for having large bosomed women in their comics, but I believe it cheapens the title. I feel this choice is particularly off mark considering Madame’s power. She has the ability to appear as anything she wants; like a mirage, one might say. Therefore, unless there is a character driven reason why an action heroine would desire huge breasts I’m not going for it. Besides, the big failing of the story is we never witness a demonstration of her Mystique-like powers to solve the conflict. Instead, she blows her prey out of the sky with a large pistol. I could not discern a single moment to invite the reader to understand what she is about. Dini’s two-page introduction detailing how Madame Mirage began as an internet cartoon and became a comic series is interesting, but the material for this ongoing series does not grip me.

When I read Dini’s introduction, I thought the pulpy mixture of sci-fi super heroics and noir crime drama sounded intriguing. Of interest is Dini’s goal to explore unusual super powered villains, and I do see promise in a heroine who can appear as anything. It is particularly intense because most everyone depicted has armor or gear of some kind in assisting their power, it seems, but Mirage tramps around in a white high slit slinky number and a wide brimmed hat. I wonder how it is she can allow herself to be vulnerable. I wonder if she can even be vulnerable at all. I’ll admit I am curious to discover why she has investment in fighting crime syndicates, and where her interests align.

I will wait for the trades, and my hope is Dini can impress me. I would be pleased if Dini could subvert every expectation I have from a Top Cow title such as Alan Moore has done with several Image titles. Based on this preview I find the weaknesses outweigh the promise. Rocafort’s artwork is competent, but not impressive. Dini says Madame Mirage is to follow in the footsteps of his quirky girl characters Jingle Belle and Harley Quinn. As this 99-cent preview makes evident, Madame Mirage is more an attempt at a new Aeon Flux.

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