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PIROUETTE #1 & #2 (comic review)

Review by Lily Fierro

Pirouette #1 /  Pirouette #2
Written by Mark L. Miller 
Art by Carlos Granda 
Colors by Carlos Granda 
Letters by Jim Campbell
Published by Black Mask Studios
Cover Price: $3.99

Clowns are naturally terrifying; they are even more so if they are your family.

Pirouette is the lowest clown on the totem pole at Samwell’’s Circus, and I cannot imagine anything worse than that.

A new series from Mark L. Miller and Carlos Granda, Pirouette follows our female clown heroine during her awakening from her circus myopia. Issue one and two are currently available via Black Mask Studios, and the series has some excellent potential.

Issue one introduces the weird world of Samwell’s Circus. As expected, there is the usual collection of circus oddities ranging from acrobats to lion tamers to a giant woman on a tightrope. In addition to these entertainers, a dreadful outfit of clowns runs the entire show, led by the disheveled tyrant and supposed father of Pirouette, the Duke.

And if Pirouette’s family life could not get any worse, her mother, Lady Columbine, is also a heinous clown with her own entourage of repugnant lady clowns. With parents like Pirouette’s and an accompanying horrific extended clown family, Pirouette’s reality is a bleak and desperate one, forcing her to try to adopt a clown persona she does not want, with a looming threat of beating and berating if she does not achieve this expected character.

One day, a piece of news breaks Pirouette’s daily circus cycle of misery; Lady Columbine and the Duke may not be her real parents. Her fellow clown Brassy tells her that she was abandoned and found by the circus in Lima, the tour’s next destination, ending the first issue.

When the narrative picks back up in issue two, Pirouette entrenches herself in the clown world in order to gain an opportunity to escape and find her real parents. Brassy blackmails her into stealing for him, claiming he is the only person who can recognize her family, and eventually, he identifies Pirouette’s family through a wallet picture. And after a day of good clown work, the Duke allows Pirouette to join the elder clowns on their clown parade, a march of pillaging and thievery that the monsters embark on in every city they visit, giving her the chance to run away and visit her real family.

Through the hyper exaggerated world of the circus, Miller and Granada allegorically represent adolescence for many young people stuck in a nightmarish reality. Pirouette’s reality may involve ugly clown parents and evil activities, but her general despise towards her family and their expectations and her desperation to escape are universal to the turbulence of adolescence. Within her dark circus world, Pirouette attempts to grow and emerge with her own distinct identity, and along the way, faces severe backlashes from the people around her, a feeling most people experience on any road to maturity, regardless of whether or not they are clowns or circus members.

As a coming of age tale set in a psychopathic clown world, Pirouette contains the conventional themes of familial conflict and new perspective development on the path to adulthood. With a compelling narrative and some phenomenally beautiful and frightening artwork, Pirouette has a fantastic start. It will be exciting and nerve-racking to see Pirouette’s journey and growth to come.

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