Published on October 12th, 2014 | by Steven Roman
Review: Pirouette #1 (of 4)
Confession time: I’ll admit I experienced some trepidation when I was asked to review this title from Black Mask Studios, but that was entirely due to confusing writer Mark L. Miller with Kick-Ass shock-and-awe hypemeister Mark Millar. Not being a fan of Millar’s work, I couldn’t imagine what Hollywood pitch this latest work would turn out to be. But then I took a second look, and realized a completely different writer was involved (an unfortunate circumstance that I’m sure Miller is sick of by now), so I started reading.
I’m glad I took that second look.
Pirouette is the eponymous star of the comic, an extremely sad, 16-year-old clown who dreams of running away from the circus because of the abuse—both physical and psychological—that she suffers at the hands of her fellow carnies, as well as her parents; to say she’s the resident punching bag would be an understatement. And yet there’s a spark of hope in Pirouette that a better life exists for her, somewhere beyond her nightmarish existence. And if what one of the other clowns has told her is true, there may be a chance for that spark to blossom into a flame…
The first impression one gets from Miller’s tale is that he’s wearing his Ray Bradbury influence on his sleeve—Samwell’s Circus of Curios and Wonders seems straight out of Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show in Bradbury’s classic novel, Something Wicked This Way Comes. And that’s not a bad thing—given the extremes of hyperkinetic art layouts and ultraslow, “write for the trade” padded scripting that dominate comics these days, Miller has found an easy balance between the two, with a story that moves at its own pace without being derivative of Bradbury’s work.
Although billed as a horror miniseries, there’s nothing supernatural in evidence in this first issue; the horror solely comes from watching Pirouette’s mistreatment from a cast of characters you’d like to see run over by the train that transports the circus through its 1930s’ Midwest America setting. From all I know there may be no supernatural elements to the story, and that would be fine—Pirouette works just as well as a character-driven tale.
The art by Miller’s creative partner, Carlos Granda, is breathtaking. There’s a hint of Angel Medina, a hint of Bernie Wrightson, and a touch of old-school EC comics to his style, and it all combines for top-notch storytelling pages that range from wide-screen double-splashes to intimate close-ups.
Bottom line? With its winning combination of Bradbury-esque influences and incredible art, Pirouette is a miniseries definitely worth a look for horror fans and comic fans.
Written by Mark L. Miller
Art and cover by Carlos Granda
Publisher: Black Mask Studios
32 pages • full-color
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