Creator: Megan Rose Gedris
Publisher: Oni Press
A review by Samantha Pearson
The second issue of Spectacle kicks off right at the end of the first: Kat murdered, her twin sister Anna stuck with Kat’s ghost in her body, and a crew full of circus folk stuck in transit. Ringleader Jebediah Tetanus convinces Anna not to tell anyone that her sister was murdered, for fear of everyone taking off at the next stop. After all, if someone in the circus murdered the beloved Kat, who might be next?
Spectacle #2 takes the circus into the next town, where it sets up its tents for a night of performances and midway fun. Everyone mourns the loss of Kat, Anna receives several “gifts” along with their condolences, and one thing becomes very clear. If Anna can’t solve Kat’s murder, no one can. The obvious solution is to just ask Kat who killed her. After all, she’s a ghost. But Kat was stabbed from behind, in the dark. She has no idea whodunnit.
The paranormal activity hinted at in the first issue solidifies itself in issue #2. Practical, scientific Anna doesn’t believe in ghosts, demons, or magic, but there’s no arguing that her sister was killed by something unnatural. As she struggles to interact normally with the circus people who loved her sister (with Kat’s ghost literally hanging out of her chest), she tries to figure out where to take her investigation. There are no obvious answers. And things are getting worse…
Once again, Megan Rose Gedris displays an attention to detail that makes Spectacle a spectacular read. Well-wrought facial expressions and contrasting color palettes enhance the dialogue and narration, which has several spots of tongue-in-cheek humor that add a lightness to the story. Who says a circus-based murder mystery can’t be funny? There’s a sense of urgency to this tale, but that doesn’t diminish the humor of a good death joke. Gedris takes advantage of that, and I applaud her for it. Morbidity is great, but it’s better with a little dark humor to lift it up.
Gedris has clearly poured a lot of love and thought into these characters and this plot. Thus far, the story flows beautifully. There’s never a dull moment, which I hope will continue as the series moves forward. The element of surprise plays a huge role in Spectacle, and I suspect Gedris won’t allow the series to fall into predictable patterns. Already, nothing is as it seems. Going on this journey with Anna is a wild ride. And with such an explosive ending in issue #2, I’m eager to see what happens next.
Buy it! Spectacle continues to amaze and entertain. Death surrounds the Samson Brothers Circus from every angle, as ach issue presents a new danger. If Anna can’t figure things out, it may spell doom for them all! If you like magic, murder, mystery, or a heavy dose of all three, I highly suggest you check out this series.