I had no idea what to expect from this series going in. I’m not a big fan of clown related stories and no it’s not because of a fear of clowns. I actually find any attempt to make clowns creepy and scary to be the opposite. It’s a cheap scare at best. So when I saw a circus and clowns involved in this story I was hesitant to say the least. The opening page won me over though as we find Pirouette trying to take off her clown makeup. The problem is it’s not coming off. This continues getting more and more gruesome as she actually pulls off her face and we see it go splat against the mirror.
It seems that this is a dream sequence though as we quickly shift gears to a sunny day and a busy circus. We’re quickly introduced to Pirouette again as she makes trouble for an animal trainer that’s being mean to a caged panther. She begins performing and making people laugh, but when she smiles at a child she begins to cry. A trapeze artist gives her a hard time and so Pirouette takes to the trapeze and begins showing off. Too bad her father the Duke sees this and quickly someone throws a knife cutting the rope and causing her to fall. We quickly learn that there are those that only wish to do Pirouette harm and others that are basically in a similar situation as her, but are at least empathetic towards her.
Oh Pirouette, you were almost a perfect issue. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t really enjoy this issue. I was blown away by the story and the art, but there is one scene which has physical violence towards our main female character Pirouette and the implied sexual violence towards her as well. While I’m not saying physical violence is okay, it at least fit with the story and what we had already witnessed. The implied sexual abuse was uncalled for and added nothing to the story or character. It was honestly disappointing and if the ending hadn’t come through the way it did, it would have soured me on the entire story. All from one line of narration.
Otherwise this would have been a perfect issue. Pirouette is extremely likable and it’s difficult to understand her situation until the reveal at the end. It’s a tragic story for sure, but I couldn’t help but root for her at every turn. Ultimately that proves to be pointless, but I couldn’t give up on her either. Mark L. Miller crafts a story that provides very little answers at first, but the world building is incredible. The dialogue is also extremely believable and honest. Every character has a unique voice which is important given the makeup of the story. You wouldn’t want a group of unique individuals all sounding the same.
The art is a show stealer. This book is fantastic looking. Carlos Granda’s linework is phenomenal. It’s so damn good that I have nothing to compare it with. It’s just photorealistic with a ton of detail, but then at the same time it’s not overly detailed. It’s just fantastic. Granda’s movement is extremely fluid as Pirouette bounces around. The artwork has a dramatic flair to it that adds a ton of personality to the story.
The coloring is some of the best I’ve seen lately. The comic industry has some incredible colorists out there, but unlike other professions there’s really only a handful that manage to stand out. I could tell you one or two at each company, but that’s really it. Seeing the coloring here blew me away. El Comic en Linea Foundation is sure to get plenty of offers for additional work after this issue.
I hate to go back to it, but man I wish that this issue didn’t have that one line of narration in it. That’s all that would need to be dropped to make this issue perfect; I'm torn giving it the score I am giving it, but the rest of the issue is stunning. Up until that scene I was ready to dub this the best book of the week and if you look at my other reviews you’ll see that I read some fantastic issues this week. Even still it manages to be really good and hopefully the next issue can recover from this stumble and just be incredible.
Writer: Mark L. Miller Artist: Carlos Granda Publisher: Black Mask Studios Price: $2.99 Release Date: 10/8/14