Skip to main content

REVIEW: 'The Circle' #1 by Damon Clark and Alyzia Zherno


★★★★☆ (4/5)

Sometimes new comic books don't need to rely on superheroes, mutants, aliens, or zombies. Sometimes a simple straight-forward story is all you need. 'The Circle' #1 proves this with a tender, albeit familiar, story of loss while coming of age in a new town, a new school. It's an engrossing first issue before things get really weird. 

Damon Clark sets a solid foundation as young Christian Reynolds and his supportive father head to Shell Bay to start a new life after his mom passes away. It's told lovingly in concise, caption-less, panels through Alyzia Zherno's wonderfully thin penciling, Tim Burton-esque character designs, and a warm children's book veneer. Christian's dad works tirelessly to cheer him up, help him feel normal after such a tragic loss. Clark excels in drawing emotions from the father-son dynamic that it makes up for some of more cliched aspects of the story. 

Christian, predictably, doesn't fit in right away at his new high school. He's quickly bullied and beat up by some typical jerky jocks. It's not going well for Christian. He finds some respite and joy in making the basketball team. However, that joy is short-lived until a group of kids befriend him and take him to their hidden hangout. The dialogue feels natural and realistic, including the occasional curse word sounds appropriate. This is a familiar arc for a fish-out-of-water story but it's also clearly a set-up for what's to come. Clark chooses character development and world building over spectacle and forced theatrics. 'The Circle' is a low-key start but promises not to remain so. 

Zherno is a unique talent. The layouts are clean and dynamic enough to give this grounded story some energy and dimension. My only critique is characters have similar facial features that doesn't differentiate them enough. I didn't know Christian was a boy until a third into the story. His features appeared feminine and while that was a bit distracting, once I found Zherno's groove it didn't matter.'The Circle' doesn't look like anything else in comic shops and that's a good thing. 


'The Circle' shows a lot of promise. Clark invests a lot of time in presenting his characters with the care and respect they deserve. Zherno displays a quirky art style that fits the story well. It's an easy new title to get lost into and appreciate. The best part? The darker elements of the story are right around the corner. Now would be a great time to get on board with 'The Circle.'

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

LONG BEACH COMIC CON Invades the Southland with William Shatner, Dave Gibbons, Cosplayers, and More

It's that time of year again when pop culture fans from all over Southern California and beyond descend on Long Beach to meet and greet some of their favorite stars from comic books, television, and movies. This year the 2017 Long Beach Comic Con offers some new exciting guests, panels, concerts, film festivals, cosplay contests, and an expansive Space Expo.


Visit downtown Long Beach on Saturday, Sept. 2 and Sunday, Sept. 3 for the annual Comic Con at the Long Beach Convention Center. This year's lineup includes legendary actor and cultural icon Star Trek's William Shatner speaking in the Main Stage room on Saturday as well as esteemed veteran comic writer and artist Dave Gibbons (Watchmen).
A con that still values comics will feature comic book vendors, artists, writers, and publishers. Approximately 100 other guests including animators, voice actors, and professional cosplayers will be participating in more than 100 entertaining and informative panels covering animation,…

REVIEW: 'Wonder Woman '77 Meets The Bionic Woman' #6 by Andy Mangels and Judit Tondora

The series has been great fun but for fans of the original Wonder Woman TV series starring Lynda Carter and the Bionic Woman starring Lyndsey Wagner it's been a time machine to what could have been when these two iconic heroines meet.


WONDER WOMAN '77 MEETS THE BIONIC WOMAN #6  Writer: Andy Mangels Artist: Judit Tondora Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment Release Date: September 20, 2017 Cover Price: $3.99
Score: ★★★★☆ (4/5)
 Andy Mangels and Judit Tondora have put together a sprawling crossover event that faithfully captures the tone and aesthetic of the 1970's shows. Often complicated and full of exposition, the camaraderie between Diana and Jamie is genuine and to see them in action makes the cover price worth every penny. Bringing together not only the titular heroes but incorporating their respective supporting characters like Wonder Girl and combining villains was no easy feat but Mangels and Tondora pull it off with enthusiasm and precision.
The plot to use Fembots to…

WONDER WOMAN OF THE DAY: Fitness Model Gia Macool Embodies the Amazon Princess

The closest we'll ever get, probably, to superheroes in real life is through the great work of cosplayers. You see them at every pop culture convention from the very basic to extremely elaborate costume design. However, you don't have to be a cosplayer to enjoy dressing up as your favorite superhero from time to time. Take fitness model and entrepreneur Gia Macool for example. An accomplished fitness competitor and model, Macool is also a big fan of DC Comics' Wonder Woman. She shows her love of the iconic Amazon Princess in her fitness wear, meal prep accessories and even a full blown photo shoot in a Wonder Woman costume. 

For decades comics have featured very muscular superheroes, male and female, epitomizing the human form at its strongest. So when bodybuilders and fitness pros decide to suit up as these costumed heroes, they are the embodiment of those fictional characters in the flesh. Macool looks like she stepped out of the pages of a Wonder Woman comic with a suit …

Fitness Women in Superhero Body Paint by J.M. Manion

J.M. Manion has long been a successful photographer covering the fitness and bodybuilding industry. He has photographed some of the strongest, well-defined physiques on the planet. He's also had a love of super-heroes and comic books. So much so that Manion began publishing his own comic book, Iron Siren Comics, featuring some of the fitness competitors he's covered as superheroes themselves. It's no wonder he sometimes incorporates superhero cosplay and body paint into photo shoots. Here are just some examples of his work:

REVIEW: 'Crosswind' #4 by Gail Simone and Cat Staggs

'Crosswind' #4 delves deeper into the situations that Cason and Juniper have found themselves in. The fates of both are increasingly in danger just as Cason as Juniper begins to stabilize the domestic life. Juniper as Cason has a target on his back and a deception that could cost a life before the two return to their rightful bodies.



CROSSWIND #4 Writer: Gail Simone Artist: Cat Staggs Publisher: Image Comics Release Date: September 27, 2017 Cover Price: $3.99
Score: ★★★★☆ (4/5)
The last issue was a satisfying chapter but things get inevitably messier. Cruz is out to get Cason for sleeping with his fiance Mika and making sure he keeps quiet about killing the idiotic son, Siggy, of the mob boss. He's got to play Mr. Randolph against Cason now and it's sure to set some deadly actions in motion. Meanwhile, back in suburbia, Cason just set Juniper's husband straight about his philandering. He needs help getting away as a woman so he enlists the help of a transgender woma…