By Dustin Cabeal
The play on words for the title of this comic is glorious. Spectacle is as fitting a title as you’ll ever hear for something. To go any further with telling you about this comic I will need to spoil it for you if the cover hasn’t already. Hell, the first page gives it away, but still, you’ve been warned.
It’s unlikely that this story is being written for single issues. The pacing and the structure of the first issue is more in line with a graphic novel than a “floppy,” but it manages to do alright for the first twenty pages. The last two are a different story and feel rushed and confusing. It’s not a cliffhanger in which you understand what’s going on and want to come back to see that next panel. It’s a cliffhanger in which you’re left utterly confused. This will entice some people to come back, but others may end up being so left out that they won’t bother to return.
The story follows a circus that’s stuck in the middle of the desert. Their train has broken down, and they’re running out of supplies. Anna, the main character is looking to test a machine that predicts the future, but she needs a bucket of water. To which she takes some from the not real mermaids tank, but only after getting and giving a lot of attitudes. Eventually, we meet Anna’s twin sister who throws knives and Anna’s narration walks the reader through their differences. The plot of the story takes off when Anna discovers her twin’s dead body and begins talking to her as a ghost.
The premise is familiar and not entirely new. That’s the way it is with stories as this phenomenon happens all the time. The story that first comes to mind for this reviewer is The Double Life of Miranda Turner which also had sisters (although not twins), in which one has died, and the other is trying to solve her murder. Not to say that Spectacle has taken anything from Miranda Tuner intentionally, it’s just one of those coincidences that annoy creators and haunt readers.
The writing is sharp, the dialogue is natural and flows nicely. The personalities instantly come across no matter how quick the sequence. The narration at times is overkill. It repeats a lot of what the art shows, but it’s the first issue, so it’s understandable to make sure nothing is missed. There is some predictability to the story though; there’s a red herring already in place along with a McGuffin waiting to be used.
As for the artwork, it’s an interesting compilation of styles. There’s at times realism in the art, and at other times it’s rough around the edges. There’s distinct look that the creator is going for, and at times it works, and other times it looks like Sesame Street with a nose glued onto a face. The style works for the story that’s being told which is the important part. While my taste didn’t care for the art, you can still see the skill and craft that’s gone into each panel/page. The coloring and lettering are solid and elevate the art and story. If either of those two aspects had been mediocre, it would tank this issue instantly. Instead, the coloring is vibrant with a lot of attention to details, and the lettering looks personal and inviting to read.
The first issue isn’t perfect. The creator needs to trust their art skills some more and control the pacing better, but it’s robust enough to bring me back for another issue and to set itself apart from a lot of other comics out this week. Of all the first issues I read, this one stuck with me the most in the most positive sense.