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The Circle #4 Review

Written by Damon Clark

Art and Colours by Alyzia Zherno

Edited and Lettered by Zen

Reviewed by Lorna Maltman (maltmanlorna@gmail.com)

When I was sixteen, I had been studying for one of my history examinations for the past month and then when it came to an hour before the exam I realised that, while I did have a history exam that afternoon it was for a different module than I had been revising. What followed was one of the most intense cramming sessions, and guess what? I did better in that exam than the one which I had been revising for a month. This issue of Circle is the payoff for all the build-up of the previous issues and unlike my revision strategy it is not a short-term cram, but the action and events in this issue feel earned because of all the developments in the previous issues.

The Circle is an occult horror starring teens and, so far, it has been mainly about building up the characters, but this is the issue where the action really gets started. Trisha, who the ‘cult club’ killed in the last issue, has been found and Christian has been framed for her murder. This leads to a refreshingly open and honest conversation between Christian and his father, where the father does (unlike in so many cases) listen to his son instead of glossing over his words. Now we know that if Christian wants to save his soul, he must eliminate the rest of his ex-friends, and the numbers start racking up in this issue.

Clark does a good job of keeping the members of (what I have coined) ‘cult club’ sinister, whilst acting still like realistic teenagers. The dark and sinister edge means that when Christian lashes out against them it feels well deserved. This issue blends action with narrative beats brilliantly and shows the evolution of Christian from the first issue.

Zherno’s art continues to create a beautifully eerie and distinct style, and whilst some of the faces remind me of china dolls, I find that only makes it creepier –  I mean, who doesn’t find china dolls creepy? The panel where one of the dead bodies disappears into nothing is a standout.

Verdict:

Buy. This series has been great, but issue four is the best issue so far. The art is a perfect fit for the story and in this issue, Clark has crafted a story that serves as a payoff in an explosive (not literally, at least not yet) way. This series is worth picking up.

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