From bestselling writer Gwenda Bond, this four-issue comic book series, written by Kate Leth features a new stand-alone story set within the world of Bond’s exotic, magical Cirque American. After a high-profile tumble, Cirque American’s star wire walker, Jules Maroni, has a lot to prove-and her invitation to an exclusive exhibition in Paris looks to be just the opportunity to put her back on top. Unfortunately, the City of Lights glitters with distractions, including the presence of her first serious boyfriend and a mysterious figure haunting the venue.
I couldn’t tell you one thing about Bond’s Cirque American world. It’s a book series that I’m unfamiliar with but a comic written by Kate Leth and with art by Ming Doyle is something I take notice and had to check out.
Reading through this first issue, the comic definitely isn’t geared towards me and my personal tastes, but that didn’t stop me from recognizing what is an excellent “YA” comic that’s unique and stands out from the spandex masses. The story is an interesting one, setting up a mystery that feels a bit Scooby Doo in a way.
The story has Jules Maroni heading to Paris for an exhibition plagued with doubt and nerves over her ability and a weird ghost like figuring haunting her there. If at the end a mask is taken off and the ghost is really the park owner, I wouldn’t be surprised, but that familiarity is something I enjoyed. The concept of a young circus performer in Paris isn’t something that’d normally hook me, but the mystery is. The comic has a lot of different aspects that people can latch on to whether it’s relating to Jules, the ghost, romance, or even the circus. That’s due to Leth’s excellent writing and her ability to create relatable characters in unrelatable situations (though how many of as kids “hunted ghosts”?).
Doyle’s art is amazing as expected and her brings a fun air about it all. The detail is wonderful and there’s some solid perspective use considering the comic is about the circus and a high wire act. Each character is distinctive and stands out with unique details that really stand out (a scar for example). I have no idea how these characters compare to previous works, but it all looked good for me. The art really brings out the overwhelming surroundings that Maroni is in, especially in Paris and I as a reader had a sense of that visually.
While the original material is squarely in the young adult market, this comic is enjoyable by far more than fanse of the genre. I enjoyed it while generally avoiding all YA prose material. For me, it feels a bit Scooby Doo, a bit Nancy Drew, and a bit The Devil Wears Prada. This is a girl in Paris overwhelmed by her surroundings with a mix of mystery and it has me wanting to come back for more.
Story: Gwenda Bond, Kate Leth Art: Ming Doyle
Story: 7.8 Art: 8.1 Overall: 7.9 Recommendation: Read