Before the story starts they may get it wrong. Jack Boniface is a black man who inherited a Loa. Inherit means birthright. The non-mention of culture erases his blackness. It’s as if anyone could have this Loa. Perhaps that may be the case. But the reason why Jack was woefully unprepared was because the family members who could help him find his way were brutally killed. The Loa is closely associated with the spirits of Haitian and Louisiana culture. They are the go-betweens who on the behalf of the mortal world help them speak to the supernatural realm. And that aspect should be emphasized. If you’re going to have a character steeped in the mystical, then you need to commit to the narrative.
Then you start to read and realize that there’s hope for the supernatural section of the Valiant universe. It’s the early 20th century in Mississippi and a black man is set on bargaining his soul with a manifestation of the devil. Then the reader is flung hundred years later and two potential rappers are doing a soul-sucking job. It’s still Mississippi and the bargain hunter is still around. Rae Sremmurd has a set amount of years to be famous. But they’re not smart enough to ask what comes after that time is up.
Dr. Mirage is a para-psychologist who talks to the dead. Her investigative prowess, in some way helps everyone who comes across her path. The one man who she wants to communicate with is seemingly out of her reach – her deceased husband. Still, she carries on. Her acquaintance with the Shadowman works well since two rap stars are in danger of being permanent residents of hell. Shadowman breaks down how the Deadside works. Like race, it’s a construct created to keep people from knowing their own power. The brothers who’ve signed away their souls for fame don’t know how to reclaim them. At this point it can only be done by functioning within a construct powered by ignorance. The demon who collects souls, his power are those souls. The message of this one shot issue shows that things like bad jobs are temporary. Patience is the one thing that helps breed success. For Jack Boniface and Dr. Mirage their knowledge of the afterlife and nefarious spirits makes this rescue mission interesting. Eliot Rahal knows how to write a good story, but it’s that artwork that you’ll find so arresting.
Drawn with realism, Renato Guedes does not play around. The guitarist who is shown in the first few pages of this comic is someone you may know. At least it seems that way. Practically photographs, the two men, the scenery in the background, even the guitar is done in such a realistic way, you’re going to find yourself searching online to see if they were actual living people. That’s the best part of this comic.
As a one shot you want to see more of Dr. Mirage. Her place in this world has literally been limited. But there is so much left on the table that you want to explore more of her place in the universe.