I seriously hope they use that as a pull quote, because it sums up my feelings reading the first issue of Mirror by Emma Rios and Hwei Lim perfectly. It’s a four-part spin off from Image’s other series, 8House, which I have not been following, but now feel like I must! The idea I suppose is to fill in the world of 8House and bring it to life, but Mirror is full of so much life of its own that it probably does its job too well.
It all starts with the cover. What a beautiful cover. It’s more dynamic than most comics are on the interior from beginning to end. The character design, the water colors, the use of white space, the shadow creeping in from the top left corner. I felt like I was being invited to enter into an unknown world full of magic right away.
That feeling is carried forward through the rest of the book. A prologue, the main story, and a sort of side story. We begin with a boy. He has magical powers. He has animal friends and magical friends. He’s under the supervision of a king who isn’t necessarily keen on him having such friends. There’s a hint of melancholy laid gently over the proceedings that beautifully juxtapose the watercolor look of the book.
The second story, the prominent one, picks up with the boy as an adult, coming to terms with what his powers are and what this Kingdom wants from him and his magical animal friends. A subplot concerns a mouse, a bear, and a cat – and it’s heartbreaking and beautiful.
The epilogue story splits off from the first, but in a different direction.
Mirror is a triumph of design completely in sync with storytelling to heighten its themes. The world is fully realized which makes the characters that much more believable, allowing for the emotional through lines to linger. This is a world every child has lived through in their imaginations, and maybe that’s what makes it so profound. It reminds me of the beautiful animated films Secret of the Kells and Song of the Sea. If you love fantasy, if you love fairy tales, if you love myth, then make sure you grab it.