Filed under: Comic Reviews, Indie Comics | Tags: Brandon Lauhon, Clown, James Maddox, Jared Bastian, Willie the Worrier
Writer James Maddox teams-up with artist Brandon Lauhon to bring us the story of a former journalist turned clown in a roaming circus….the promise of something different from that cover alone is more than enough to get me interested.
Opening in the midst of the latest clown performance the in-fighting and competition between clowns sees our central character take his rivals punishment with a smile on his face in a clear indication that the show must go on. Pleasing the paying crowd means another successful night before moving onto to the next big city but not before we find out a bit more about our unwilling & unexpected hero.
Falling on hard times following the economic crisis sees Jared Bastian aka Willie the Worrier trade big news for the big top. Heading into a new city sees the royal guard in it’s MI5 form arrive to assess just how suited they are to represent the values of the city’s royal family. The quest for big bucks sees the terms gleefully accepted and the whole show builds towards appeasing the powers that be. Not everything goes to plan though as Maddox throws us a curveball in the form of religious nuts set on hi-jacking the show to prove their point that the masses are losing focus on more godly matters.
Cue Jared/Willie and his ex-bare knuckle boxing days would see him take control of the show from the hands of the unwelcome heavenly hijackers. Crisis averted under the watchful eyes of the cheering masses gets Jared far more than he bargained for as his fifteen minutes of fame hit the heights in no time. Temporary living arrangements are made as he become hand-picked to come face to face with the royals themselves as he re-enacts the whole attack with a few pre-determined changes for the sake of the special guests. This all brings us to the climax which I won’t spoil but it’s safe to say that our reluctant hero goes toe-to-toe with the establishment and brings them down a peg or two in his own way.
A mix of far bigger ideas across 32-pages than a lot series cram into a number of issues…..the character development is swift and precise as a world not unlike our own is built-up at the same time. Pleasing the masses and the haves being entertained by the have-nots as they struggle for survival isn’t exactly new but the approach here is so measured and masterful that it’s one of those titles that have you wishing there was more and yet somehow satisfied at the same time. As Mattox has developed his world of ideas in style, it’s the artist Lauhon that punctuates the themes as he balances the panels and the detail within them expertly. Not too much, not too little and while they could have been crammed full of detail that would lose the focus of what’s happening but artwork maintains a finely tuned balance that’s stunning & suits the story well.
Top work from writer and artist keeps this issue full of highs, lows and surprises and elevates the title away from being a throwaway story and firmly in that “must-read” category. Plus I think that cover is just amazing too 😀
Catch this issue over at Comixology now – CLOWN
Keep up with James over at his website
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