Pirouette is a comic I didn’t know much about going into it, but it looked interesting enough and when I got the chance, I jumped on reading and reviewing it. What did I end up getting here? Is it good?
Pirouette #1 (Black Mask Comics)
To say that Pirouette’s life sucks is an understatement. She’s 15 years old, works at a circus with her family, and is stuck as a clown. It wouldn’t be so bad if her “loving” family of clowns and other performers weren’t completely nasty psychopaths and ugly human beings. She longs for a life away from the circus, or hell, even in a different position than a clown so she wouldn’t have to take the abuse of circus patrons and other clowns. What can she do?
Man, if there was ever time I wanted to reach into a comic and punch someone…
No seriously, this comic made me angry. Now, the comic isn’t bad, but it did make me mad. This has to be one of the hardest to sit through comics I’ve read in a while because of how loathsome and disgusting the majority of these characters are. Of everyone that got introduced during this comic, only four were likeable or nice and the rest just made me want to throttle them. It’s an ugly story honestly, to the point where it’s about an inch or two away from being exploitation, and as such, this is not a comic that can be easily recommended. You may feel uneasy and uncomfortable as you sit through this.
But getting past the anger and frustration, what do we really get here? Well, the first issue is more of a character focused introduction. It basically tells the tale of Pirouette and what her current life is and the abuse she experiences. There’s no real main story here, just being a day in the life of her and watching the world and its inhabitants repeatedly take a dump on her. The comic introduces her character and making us feel sympathy. The ending offers up hope and make me curious to see where this is going ultimately. However, I’m not sure if there is enough here with what little story we do get for a full blown series (now if turns into a tale of revenge on the other hand…), but I’ll remain at least curious.
First, your legs look deformed lady. I’m pretty sure there will be plenty of room in the spotlight soon enough. Second, so help me god, I’ll smash your face in with that bucket you little brat if you don’t back off.
Miller’s writing here is decent enough. There’s isn’t much to these characters beside Pirouette, outside of being enormous assholes that deserve a broken nose (besides three of them at least). They are just simply evil, ugly human beings with no real humanity to them. The pacing and storytelling work very well, the story flows just fine and there’s never a moment where the story slows down or speeds up too quickly. The dialogue is fine, but there’s some sketchiness to the lines that just don’t some natural and come off as stilted. The weird thing about this comic is that it almost feels like a horror story, though a bit of one that’s more grounded in reality and shows the horrors of real life, showing how dark and depraved humans can be. What’s strange is that the comic’s solicit made it seem like it would be more supernatural and fantastical in nature. Oh well.
Carlos Granda’s artwork is a treat for the most part. You see, most of the artwork I’ve seen for indie comics tends to be rather weak or forgettable in my opinion. Here though, this is superbly drawn comic. The layouts are incredible, the amount of detail and the scale in the double page spreads are phenomenal, the violence is brutal and hard to watch, the colorings are great, the motion and movement of the characters is strong, and the characters themselves are amazing looking and well detailed. The only problem with the art comes with the mouths of the characters. The mouths are drawn rather oddly and come off as being very creepy with how much teeth and gums they show or the detail put into them. It’s a great looking book, but it really also contributes to that “hard to sit through” aspect of it.
You aren’t the only person who is being scared by that smile.
Is It Good?
Pirouette #1 is not a bad book, but it’s hard to sit through. The amount of abuse and torture the main character goes through is uncomfortable and really depressing to read. Even with decent writing, a good protagonist, and artwork, it’s kind of hard to recommend it because of the content. It may be worth a look, but just go in expecting to come out rather frustrated.
Like what we do here at AIPT? Consider supporting us and independent comics journalism by becoming a patron today! In addition to our sincere thanks, you can browse AIPT ad-free, gain access to our vibrant Discord community of patrons and staff members, get trade paperbacks sent to your house every month, and a lot more. Click the button below to get started!