"The Circle #5" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Action Lab: Danger Zone
Written by Damon Clark
Illustrated by Aluzia Zherno
2017, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on May 10th, 2017
Poor Christian just can't catch a break. First his mother dies, leaving his father with almost nothing, so they uproot themselves and move to a new town. Everyone the guy encounters seems to hate him on the spot, whether that's the basketball team, the weird goth kids, or even his next door neighbor. It doesn't help that they all try to kill him too. Now he's faced with an ultimatum. He has to track down the remaining goth kids to complete a ritual granting them supernatural abilities or they'll kill his father. Oh, and he might turn into a demon. Being a teenager sucks sometimes, am I right?
This final issue of The Circle brings some humanity to Christian, who has been a stick in the mud for the bulk of the series. Yes, he's been through some tough times watching his mother die, but he's a stereotypical rebellious teenager and it's common knowledge that those are all god awful. It took a small group of goth teens who are just as misunderstood and moody threatening his life for him to snap out of it and finally believe in something again.
|Click images to enlarge|
Each of the kids has a different ability. I'd be curious as to what they could really do with them if they put them to good use. They could change the world if they weren't caught up in petty squabbles between themselves. This chapter shows how they can work together and against one another in new and interesting ways, although they seem to work arbitrarily and without rules.
Aside from Christian, they're all interchangeable. Sure, one has a nose ring and another has red hair, but they're all basically the same person. There are no distinguishing characteristics between them. I'm certain they all have names, but they don't really matter. They are what stands in the way of Christian and the rest of his life, however short it may be.
|Click images to enlarge|
Artist Aluzia Zherno's character designs take a little getting used to. Everyone is tall and skinny, but too skinny. They have these lollipop-like bodies with big, clunky feet. Their eyes look like they haven't slept in ages or they're just strung out. This also comes through in the colors which are drab and dreary, as if they were washed out of any hope. It fits with the tone of the book.
Where Zherno really excels is in the use of the supernatural powers. They swirl around the characters in creepy ways, like tendrils of a disturbing cephalopod reaching up from the shadows to consume humanity. This is where the character designs work well, as the gangly arms and sunken features make a spirit look absolutely terrifying.
The Circle builds to an abrupt, twist ending that doesn't offer much in the way of closure. It just kind of finishes. Christian is certainly changed, but he's not much different than he was at the beginning of the series. He went through some crazy stuff and he's still just as moody and angry at the world as he ever was, if not more so.