Publisher: Image Comics
Author: Emma Ríos
Artist: Hwei Lim
Mirror: The Mountain is a story about a colony of human mage-scientists living on a sentient asteroid who experiment on animals and turn them into sentient anthropomorphic beings. Sounds strange but few comics sound normal when condensed to a single sentence.
The ideas behind Mirror are beautiful. The passions of the characters. The living asteroid that was once part of a living planet. The question of what defines humanity. How our choices are our own. All of these elements are at play in the Mirror.
We follow several characters. Ivan is a gifted mage who grew up in the colony. Sena was Ivan’s dog who was turned sentient and eventually led a rebellion against the colony for their treatment of their animal experiments. Zun is a rat of Ivan’s who has also been turned into a sentient being. Other characters are followed but they never feel quite as important.
I actually did not care for Mirror that much. The ideas are beautiful. It has so much potential that it doesn’t reach. For starters, Mirror is part of a larger universe called the “8house” universe. That is to say, it’s basically a spin-off of the 8House comic. I have nothing against spin-offs. Spin-offs are wonderful and truly enhance the experience of both stories when you know they’re connected. However, I am not a fan of spin-offs that feel like they don’t work without knowledge of the main story. Mirror never quite feels like its own thing. You get some backstory but never quite enough backstory. You get some resolutions but never quite enough resolutions.
Towards the end of this 5-issue series the living asteroid decides it wants to “clean house” essentially and purge everything. Humans and sentient animals are forced to be on the same page. There’s a lot of bad blood and a lot of previous history with certain characters… but nothing is really done with it. Sure, some resolutions come but not all that feel necessary for an ending. And as far as I can gather, there isn’t going to be an issue #6 to start off a volume 2. This is it. Mirror: The Mountain is its own completed story that doesn’t really feel complete. Only one character truly feels like they have a “closing” resolution and it was one I felt didn’t even feel that important until issues #4 and #5.
All in all, I feel like Mirror: The Mountain was okay at best. Pretty ideas and flowery art set the stage for a story that could go further but likely won’t and that’s hugely disappointing because the story doesn’t feel over. I loved Ivan and Sena and a few others but they’re not given satisfactory conclusions to put my mind at ease for their future. If Mirror ever has an issue #6 I’ll read it to know the aftermath of everything, but since that seems unlikely, I’m just left feeling annoyed more than anything.
If you want a story with a close and a ribbon tied up for each character’s individual arcs, this is not a story for you. But if you want a story that focuses on the power of choice and what it means to be “human,” I’d suggest Mirror to you.