Creator: Megan Rose Gedris
Publisher: Oni Press
A review by Samantha Pearson
Spectacle takes us into the always weird world of a traveling circus. Trapped in the desert a full two days’ walk from the next town, the performers in the Samson Brothers Circus are nearly ready to revolt against their ringleader. Water is being rationed while a “mermaid” gets to soak in her tank and the crew can’t seem to figure out why the train broke down… which is making everyone especially miserable.
Add in a lack of food, a lot of heat, and tensions that always seem to arise among groups of people who are packed into small spaces for long periods of time, and you have the perfect makings for a murder. Yeah, that’s right. Spectacle #1 is a magical murder mystery set in a circus, and it’s one you don’t want to miss.
When blossoming, practical engineer Anna discovers that her sister has been murdered, her first reaction is to question the ghost literally floating right in front of her. Although she reads fortunes for the circus and she can predict the future, supernatural forces can’t possibly be real. Right? Well, I guess that remains to be seen, but all signs point to paranormal activity ahead!
Spectacle #1 is a fast-paced, detailed first issue of what is sure to be one of the best books of late 2017 and all of 2018. Megan Rose Gedris’ dialogue is sharp, her narration butter-smooth and her art so lush it practically jumps off the page. You can feel the magic and love imbued in every panel, since Gedris’ attention to detail is so obvious. The book also feels like a webcomic, which makes sense — Gedris is known for them. That readability makes it easy to flip from page to page, easily following the action as Anna moves through her day.
In addition to great storytelling and stunning art, Spectacle #1 also explores a relationship between two sisters, which is a plot I don’t often see. Though they are quite literally polar opposites in every way, Anna and Kat must work together in a new, shocking way in order to solve Kat’s murder. The concept is so unique that it’s hard not to be tickled by Gedris’ creativity. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Buy it! Spectacle #1 is sure to entertain, whether you’re in it for the magic, the engineering, the murder, or the relationship between two sisters who will have to try damn hard to work together to get to the bottom of this awful mystery.