by Megan Rose Gedris
Series: Spectacle #1
Publisher: Oni Press
Publication Date: May 22, 2018
Genres: Graphic Novel
I received an advance review copy of this book from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Fan-favorite webcomic creator Megan Rose Gedris (Yu+Me Dream) crafts a compelling tale of magic, deception, and wonder in this stunningly illustrated graphic novel about the bond between sisters.
Pragmatic engineer Anna works as a psychic in the Samson Brothers Circus, but she doesn't believe in anything supernatural—until her twin sister Kat is murdered and comes back as a very demanding ghost. Sharing a room with her sister was hard, but now they're sharing a body while trying to identify the killer. With few leads, a troupe full of secretive folk, and strange paranormal occurrences popping up around the circus, solving the case seems near impossible. But the murderer in their midst may be the least of their problems...
This is a murder mystery graphic novel set in a circus traveling through the mid-west. Anna is the circus fortune teller, and, somewhat hilariously, also analytical and scientific to the core. She’s so convinced in the power of science over anything supposedly supernatural that she’s built a future-predicting Babbage machine – and then her sister is murdered, and she starts seeing her ghost. This volume revolves around Anna trying to come to terms with Kat’s death (and subsequent reappearance as a ghost) and find the murderer. Of course, it’s not just that simple – the murderer has to be someone at the circus, someone they’ve known and interacted with. Plus, there’s a fire, a power-happy sheriff, and signs that Kat’s ghost is not the only paranormal thing happening at the circus.
It’s a bit slow-going, at first, until Anna finds her twin sister Kat murdered in their train car. The pacing is pretty uneven, as there’s lots of backstory and side plots. The other circus performers are certainly characters, to make a silly pun, and I liked learning about their backstories. The art’s different than what I’m used to, but it grew on me, and I think it suits the story very well. It seems like all of the issues end on cliffhangers, even if they’re small ones, and the cliffhanger at the end of the book is a doozy. It was so abrupt, honestly, that I went and checked to make sure the file wasn’t corrupted.
Overall, I think this comic shows a lot of promise, and I’ll definitely be picking up the second issue!