From Prophet and 8house to the experimental anthology Island, the Image Comics titles overseen by writer/ artist Brandon Graham over the last few years have stretched the limits of mainstream comics storytelling. Now, a tale that started life as part of the 8house shared universe has become a full-scale ongoing series, one that combines a lyrical narrative style with truly beautiful visuals.
Telling a story that unfolds across multiple timelines, Mirror follows the lives of young mage Ivan and dog-girl Sena, who grow up on a colony on the asteroid of Irzah. Here, animals have been gifted with intelligence and magical abilities, but the human colonists want to exploit those abilities, leading to Ivan and Sena’s separation, and years of bloodshed.
Written by Pretty Deadly artist Emma Rios, with amazing visuals from Malaysian illustrator Hwei Lim, Mirror mixes SF and fantasy in a similar manner to fellow Image title Saga, but tells a much stranger, more challenging story. The elegant page layouts give the dense plotting a sense of poetry and magic, while Lim’s watercolour-influenced style conjures up gorgeous vistas and characterful creature designs.
Three issues in, the plot is already revealing fascinating interconnections, although there are times when the complex storytelling and multiple timelines get in the way of the book’s emotional core. Beautiful and a touch inscrutable, Mirror isn’t the most accessible of the current batch of Image-published genre comics, but it’s still a lushly crafted oddity that’s well worth your attention. Saxon Bullock
Mirror is beautiful and a touch inscrutable
Rios was inspired by Osamu Tezuka’s 1970-1971 manga Ode To Kirihito, about a disease that turns people into animals.
Is he talking about taking up smoking?