Deadly Reflections

Creator: Vicky Neal
Age rating: 13 and older
When a mythological mirror brings the ruthless gangsters from a popular comic book to life, their illustrator must team with the book's dashing hero to send the villains back to their world before the portal closes.
Synopsis: In order to immortalize her dead love Steve Crawford, graphic novelist Mandy Neilson creates a character identical to him as the hero of her thriving comic book City of Rage.

In each issue, Steve successfully defends his beaten-down city against a group of gangsters led by ruthless Derek Mariano, a persona Mandy bases on Steve’s real-life killer.

But when, to keep the story fresh, Mandy decides to write off Derek and replace him with a new villain, a fact her publisher strongly advises against, Mandy’s eerie antique mirror she recently purchased from a shady antiques’ dealer opens a portal between the two worlds.

In this animated realm, Mandy is assaulted by her villains and rescued by Steve, which gives Derek and four of his cronies the chance to flee into the real world.

Mandy and Steve now have to catch the gangsters in order to sketch their deaths, an action which proves more and more difficult, as Derek and his cronies seem to get increasingly powerful in the real world, quickly learning the new rules of the game.

Fleeing from a raging shootout, Mandy and Steve’s car loses control and plunges into a river. The two barely escape and their nearly deadly experience lets romance blossom when they take refuge at a friend’s beach house.

However, the inevitable happens when Mandy returns to her apartment and is overpowered by Derek, taken to the animated world as his prisoner. Steve uses the artistic ability Mandy has given him to sketch a death scene for the gangsters, and only Derek makes it back through the portal just in time to save himself.

Having a strong premonition about Steve’s fate, Mandy builds up enough courage to escape into the real world on her own, barely in time to save Steve from death at the hands of Derek; taking a bullet for him and killing Derek in a dramatic showdown, Mandy struggles for life.

Steve knows the only chance to save her is to take Mandy to the animated world long enough for him to sketch her recovery. Then he makes the ultimate sacrifice: In order to keep the portal closed permanently, he sends back Mandy to the real world, knowing that their life together has to be sacrificed for the good of humanity.

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