Review – Pirouette #2 (Black Mask Studios)
Publisher: Black Mask Studios
Writer: Mark L. Miller
Artist: Carlos Granda
Release Date: 26th November 2014
The first issue of Pirouette introduced us to our title character, a deeply unhappy yet impressively optimistic young clown who finds herself dreaming of a life outside of the violent, abusive circus she calls ‘home’. A slow-paced prologue of an issue, it did an impressive job of helping us develop an emotional investment in Pirouette, as well as serving as a visually stunning showcase of artist Carlos Granda’s considerable abilities.
The second issue maintains this same restrained pace, which is definitely no bad thing. Writer Miller takes great pleasure in the small things here; the everyday interactions between Pirouette and her fellow performers, the thinly-veiled menace of the circus as it exploits and ridicules the ‘marks’ who come to watch its show, and the subtle changes in Pirouette’s painted face as she wills herself to find her former family. Miller’s dialogue and characterisation are spot-on, and while there are some truly reprehensible human beings contained within these pages, he manages to avoid them coming across as one-dimensional caricatures, injecting a level of depth into even the most innocuous of characters.
Once again however, the highlight of this book has to be Granda’s utterly sublime artwork, brought to life by the Comic En Linea Foundation’s colours and containing some intricately detailed panels and jaw-dropping splash pages. One particular scene, a montage of Pirouette slinking around the circus lifting wallets from the bewildered patrons as she goes, is worthy of particular mention by virtue of its impressive creativity and flawless execution. He also manages to perfectly illustrate the boundless enthusiasm and optimism of our young lead, even when it seems that her innocence and naivety may be being exploited.
Readers looking for a fast-paced quick-fix of a horror comic will likely leave disappointed, but those who take the time to absorb the world that Miller and Granda have created here are in for an absolute treat. The pace is slow, but the mood and characterisation are right on the money, and the emotion packed into the final couple of pages of this issue make issue three an all-but-guaranteed purchase.
In just two issues, the creative team have forged an impressive bond between the reader and Pirouette. We care what happens to this young girl. We want her to be happy, and it’s hard not to almost feel protective of her when bad things seem poised to happen. A stunning new series that deserves as many eyes on it as possible, and – as I’ve said before – yet more proof that Black Mask Studios is undoubtedly one of the most exciting things to happen to the world of comics in quite some time.
The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson (aka Ceej)
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