Comic Review: The Lost Carnival (DC Comics)

Imagine a different time and different life for Dick Grayson. What if he continued as an acrobat into his teens, touring in Haly’s circus? DC’s The Lost Carnival presents a […]

Imagine a different time and different life for Dick Grayson. What if he continued as an acrobat into his teens, touring in Haly’s circus? DC’s The Lost Carnival presents a graphic novel with this premise.

The Lost Carnival brings us to the time of diminishing circus crowds, the downturn of public interest in traveling animal and acrobat acts. The beginning of the end of an era. Dick Grayson, almost at college age, is a restless teen. He hates the routines, chafes at the restrictions, wants to do his own thing. Mom and Dad are holding him back! He and his friend Willow, a magician, set out for a side road to the sideshow; some adventure, please!

Several helpings of ‘adventure’ later, and Dick finds himself spending his spare time at a competing carnival, its tents pitched just next door! And as he learns, there is a lot more going on at the Carnival than just romance and a better magic show!

Writer Michael Moreci (Black Star Renegades, Curse, Hoax Hunters, and more) conjures forth a fresh and frustrated Dick Grayson, fraught with feelings and foreboding. A brooding acrobat, trying to balance his romantic aspirations with his hot temper. Artist Sas Milledge, based in Melbourne Australia, brings us her linework, blending an animation and ‘indie’ look to the story. Phil Hester (Swamp Thing, Brave New World, Flinch, Ultimate Marvel Team-Up, more) also provides art.

The artwork is funky and offbeat: it’s not your typical glossy superhero adventure, and it’s not the ‘big-eyed animation’ look either; rather a hand-drawn, thick brush line, with minimal fussiness. Clouds are fluffy and floaty, faces are more expressive and pensive than anatomically correct. David Calderon (from Barcelona Spain: Injustice, Uncharted, Batman Unhinged, Arrow) colours with a minimal palette; it’s black brush art and blue with tints for Dick’s world, and black with orange and yellow for the Lost Carnival locale. While this works to separate the two environments, it is a bit jarring. Personally, I prefer the Lost Carnival colours, they seem to resonate and add value to Milledge’s line work. The result is more nuanced and rich.

No matter, there is a really good story here, with teenage Grayson and his colleagues trying to solve a puzzling mystery, all with a dramatic and tense backdrop: two competing entertainment venues full of drama and discovery. You can tell where things are going, but it’s still fascinating and engrossing. It’s a combo of young adult, romance, magic, and fantasy. it’s about finding family where you can; moving from loss and tragedy toward redemption and a better life.

Check out this full-length story of ‘what could have been’, for an alternate take on the life of Dick Grayson, future Robin and Nightwing!

DC, The Lost Carnival, 208 pages of content for $16.99. Teen

@sasmilledge, @philhester, @MichaelMoreci, @D_IF,

Alan Spinney

About Alan Spinney

After a career of graphic design, art direction and copywriting, I still have a passion for words and pictures. I love it when a comic book comes together; the story is tight, and the drawings lead me forward. Art with words... the toughest storytelling technique to get right. Was this comic book worth your money? Let's see!!