Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Madame Mirage

What I try to do with reviews at this Bookshelf blog is keep it simple and spoiler-free, and let you know whether I'd recommend you pick up a copy of what I just read. Seems to work okay. This time, a brief review of Madame Mirage (Top Cow, 2008).

Can't help but envy Paul Dini just a little bit. He's worked his way up from the grind of the writer's rooms at Warner Brothers animation department, where he gained name recognition on the 1990s Batman cartoon, into enough of a known quantity to be in demand whenever anybody needs a comic book about a sexy brunette in fishnets, lingerie or evening wear. Take Madame Mirage, for instance, a comic book that looks so incredibly obvious that, when I first saw it on the racks at Marietta's Great Escape, I genuinely said, "Hey, a Paul Dini comic" before even seeing his name on it.

Years later, I cashed in some store credit at a shop in Chattanooga for a very low-priced collection of the title, firstly because it was cheap and secondly because I'm a rather idiotic male who occasionally gets distracted by comic books about sexy brunettes in fishnets, lingerie or evening wear.

So the heroine of this book has boobs like basketballs and wears this anachronistic fetish-wear dress in the same sort of bleak, angular technopolis as Witchblade and Aphrodite IX and all these other Top Cow heroines with long legs, giant boobs and large foreheads. This time out, the world is one where the superheroes have been outlawed, and so the villains have formed some sort of corporate conglomerate to control all the new technology. The baddies thought they killed off two sisters who invented some hologram mcguffin, but one of them - the stacked one - shows up again with a gun and bod for sin.

The artwork, by Kenneth Rocafort, is serviceable enough for this sort of material, but this is scarcely very challenging work. He draws Madame Mirage well enough to be considered for any fill-in work on Witchblade or the other Top Cow titles, but this really looks like nothing more than a standard Top Cow house style, with emphasis on babes and weapons and a little gore.

All the elements are here for a really terrific comic book for a fifteen year-old boy without access to the internet, basically. I think I would have liked it a lot in 1986, but then again, I liked the similarly titillating DNAgents back then. It's kinky without being vulgar, but also unimaginative, dull, plays its one plot twist about two chapters too early for it to impact the climax, and lives up to every stereotype about Top Cow comics and their monotone interest in the restraint of "good girl art," where it all seems to be about tease without payoff. Not recommended at all.

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