PopCultHQ received a preview copy of Damon Clark’s THE CIRCLE #3 from Action Lab: Danger Zone. Hitting retailers this New Comic Book Day (NCBD), Wednesday, February 22nd, the creative team for this series features writing from Damon Clark, art and colors from Alyzia Zherno, with editing and lettering by Zen of HCMP.
<Check Out PopCultHQ Double-Play Spoiler-Free Comic Book Review of Damon Clark’s ‘THE CIRCLE’ #1 & #2 from Action Lab: Danger Zone>
THE CIRCLE #3
Zen of HCMP
Alyzia Zherno, David Murdoch
The ritual has begun with the spilling of blood, and Christian’s soul is cursed forever… unless he can do the only thing that can reverse the ritual. Christian must kill all of his friends.
Poor Christian. New town, single dad working like crazy to make ends meet, and all you want to do is not get picked on by bullies and have some sense of fitting in. Then you meet some kids who appear to be interested in befriending you. Granted, it’s more of a need for them to complete their ritualistic circle to harness dark forces and subsequently murder people. But hey, you have friends now, right?
As much as Christian wants to deny the reality of what happened, he’s inexplicably drawn back to the cave where it all began to seek answers. Is he really cursed or possessed even? How can he overcome this inexplicable feeling of despair and wrongdoing? Or as he begins to understand a new ability he has acquired, is this something to be embraced? When the confused young man learns that the others to possess uncanny abilities, it leads him only to more questions. A once-horrified neighbor may have the answers young Christian seeks to be rid of this curse once and for all…but at what cost?
Writer Damon Clark already had me with the first two issues and with his latest he delivers the heartiest portion of the story so far. In this third issue, Damon delves deeper into the dark and demonic (sorry, been rereading too much COUGAR AND CUB lately). The issue explores more of Clark’s chilling story and we are given our best look to date at the larger narrative. After reading the first two issues and recognizing the writer for his compelling tale, it’s in this release that I noticed Damon Clark more for his well-timed and executed writing ability than just the strength of his story. I’ll certainly be following Clark to see what he takes on next.
Alyzia Zherno’s illustrations are what continue to elevate Damon Clark’s story to another level. Though not the darker, more grim, and heavily-inked look you’d expect for an occult thriller, it goes outside of the conventional “dark” look most illustrators might employ and approaches it with a raw, unfiltered, almost watercolor look that beautifully plays to the story’s premise. Zherno’s pencils capture the feel of the book while her colors set the mood with her Earth tones providing a more muted and natural essence to the piece. Whereas many artists accentuate the writer’s tale, Zherno’s artistic interpretation is a refreshing exposition in itself.
Zen’s lettering is consistent with the quality he’s delivered in the first two issues. Interestingly enough, for me it’s almost as if in this issue I noticed his contributions in editing rather than simply evaluating as a letterer, to which he excels at both. Having Zen and HCMP associated with any project will always be the sweetest of icing on the cake as you’re guaranteed quality, experience, and a passion when it comes to his strengths.
PopCultHQ’s overall assessment:
In this third issue of the five-issue series, the story’s development and progression are at the forefront while giving us some new and revelatory moments to further increase my curiosity with the title. With two issues to go, it will be fun to watch as Clark fulfills his narrative and answers some lingering questions.
Though there are some who might want to label this series as a teen thriller, I highly recommend removing any blinders and preconceived notions before diving in because it is so much more than that. There’s something magical to THE CIRCLE (other than the obvious): a story which proposes an appealing premise, interior art that establishes the tone rather than accentuates it, and a trio of creators putting out a quality title. When the series finally comes to a conclusion in a couple of months, Damon Clark’s THE CIRCLE will be recognized and remembered as a fun, dark, compelling story overflowing with creative talent. Another great addition to the Action Lab: Danger Zone family.
Damon Clark’s THE CIRCLE #3 can be purchased now ComiXology
or at your local comic shop and various online retailers.
Be sure to follow the creative team!
Writer – Damon Clark
Letterer – Zen HCMP
Publisher – Action Lab: Danger Zone