All we can do is try to make it a better place, one we can welcome everyone home to. Is it good?
Mirror #1 (Image Comics)
Between her resume as an artist and her work with Brandon Graham cultivating Island, Emma Rios is a name to know and respect in comics. Now she teams up with the equally talented Hwei Lim for the new Image series Mirror.
Mirror tells the type of story I am most interested in reading in comics: One in which as the reader I don’t know everything. There is a lot of story told without any dialog or narration. At times the reader is asked to infer and be okay with jumps and breaks in the narrative. As I read the issue a few times I was able to understand more from each reading. This is not a case of the story never making sense, though; There is a basic structure to gather in the first reading but I found myself picking up on more subtle moments as I continued. It’s clear there is more to this world and lore that Rios and Lim have to tell and this issue leaves me wanting more.
Rios is able to build fairly satisfying characters in just one issue. While motivations may be hidden or wrapped in the larger story, each character feels honest and true to their actions. There is an emotional peak with two characters towards the end of the issue that lands based on the dialog and life both Rios and Lim were able to bring to the scene.
This issue is filled with example after example of Lim’s creative ways to use panels and layouts to pace and progress a story in comics. At times borders are used by characters to hang on and swing to the next panel, or they act as a cage, or tea spilled out of a broken cup. Often these are filled with subtle plot moments, or they themselves act to progress the story. It helps to build a more engrossing atmosphere for the readers. It also lends itself further to the fantasy storybook tone and look of the series.
The art is beautiful. The washed out pastel colors mixed with the loose lines and flowing characters help to build the storybook aesthetic of Mirror. Lim is able to break characters down to their basic structures on part of the page then detail and emote another character just as effectively. She is able to portray some of the saddest eyes I’ve seen someone give an animal.
Is It Good?
Mirror is one of the more enjoyable experiences I have had reading a comic in recent memory. I was encouraged and thrilled to reread the issue and really take the time to appreciate each quiet moment alongside the bigger ones. The world and characters created by Rios and Lim are complex, different and mysterious. I found myself invested in the hard choices they came to make. Mirror is a book that will challenge many readers. It’s not always forthcoming in its story and takes an in-depth read to come away with a fuller experience (at least for me anyways). Mirror is a great comic experience, one I continued to enjoy more and more each read through.