It's no hallucination: Dr. Mirage has returned to Valiant Entertainment though the paranormal detective is decidedly different.
Appearing in "Shadowman" No. 5 — out Wednesday— the popular character who debuted in 1993 is presented anew as Dr. Shan Fong, a dedicated and detailed investigator who talks to spirits in a bid to solve human crimes.
"The low key intro is about readers getting to know her," said "Shadowman" designer and artist Patrick Zircher of Fong's first appearance. "Hopefully they like what they see and there'll be plenty of adventures to come."
Valiant said Tuesday that the contemporary Dr. Mirage is similar to the previous incarnation, a man named Hwen Mirage, whose exploits with wife Carmen Ruiz ran for 18 issues in "Second Life of Doctor Mirage" — but, added Zircher, her powers are more steeped in Asian mysticism.
"Dr. Mirage's return is part of Valiant's ongoing plan to expand its universe of characters and she's a natural fit for the supernatural and mystic stories taking place in 'Shadowman,'" he said of the new issue. It was written by Justin Jordan with art by Zircher, Lee Garbett, Stefano Gaudiano and Roberto Delatorre, and sees Shadowman take on the Lord of Cemeteries.
While she doesn't have a big appearance in the book, yet, Zircher said it's just the beginning.
Dinesh Shamdasani, Valiant's chief creative officer, said Mirage's reintroduction is part of a larger story that involves the entire Valiant universe.
"Since the Summer of Valiant, we've been slowly building towards several key events. You can see the first of these events this April in Harbinger Wars, where Bloodshot and Harbinger collide," he said. "The return of Dr. Mirage is part of that plan — part of the setting the stage. Dr. Mirage is a key piece in the future of the Valiant Universe and the timing of the return, as well as the manner, is no accident."
Moore reported from Philadelphia. Follow him at www.twitter.com/mattmooreap.