Review- Show’s End: The Second Coming #1
- Mad Cave Studios
- Written by Anthony Cleveland
- Illustrated by Jeferson Sadzinski
- Colors by Fabi Marques
- Release date July 27th, 2022
After the incidents of Show’s End Vol. 1, what’s left of Daxton Rickles’ Circus is now performing on street corners to get by, but a series of mysterious murders surrounding our troop forces them to head south for safety in a town operated and occupied by circus performers.
However, the town is no longer what it once was. It is now ruled by a young, charismatic cult figure named Leviticus “Miss Levy” Jones, who believes those born “deformed” are the only ones truly perfect in the eyes of the creator. The longer the group stays, the more sinister the town is revealed to be.
Meanwhile, a forgotten figure from Loralye’s past lurks in the distance and is coming to reveal her true path.
At the end of the first arc of Show’s End, I was left with one Big Question: Where the hell are they gonna go with this?
As a surprisingly dark horror series, things had started out with me believing the adorable little Loralye was some kind of lycanthrope. From there, I was happily carried along through the ensuing slaughter, convinced that I had things figured out. And then came the turn. As it happens, little Loralye is anything but your average run of the mill were-creature. She’s actually the offspring of… something else.
Something best left unnamed.
Along comes the next chapter for Loralye and her band of a performers, down on their luck and doing whatever they can to keep the show going and their bellies not quite so empty. Lacking an abundance of options, the crew packs it up & heads for Sanctuary Glade, a place run by circus folk, for circus folk. A place where they can relax, take a breath, and not worry about being ripped or run off by the local heavies.
Piling up with the search for refuge and shelter, writer Anthony Cleveland isn’t ready to leave poor little Loralye alone. She’s still trying to figure out her place in the world, gain some sense of meaning behind what she’s learned about her dark origins and a way to balance the bloodlust that comes along with her bestial nature. It’s in that hook that Show’s End sets itself apart from a lot of the violent horror comics filling the shelves, the idea that Loralye doesn’t have the safety that often comes with being a sweet little girl in a comic book. Instead, Cleveland takes that idea and gives it a hard spin to the left, repeatedly putting Loralye in harm’s way without losing sight of the need for character development. The members of Daxton Rickles’ Circus, or what’s left of them, aren’t treated like filler, plot devices, or future victims of a gruesome death. Some of them are likeable, others maybe a little less so, just like any group of people tossed together while looking for a sense of belonging.
Cleveland’s character first approach is helped along by the artistic team of Jeferson Sadzinski & Fabi Marques. Sadzinski provides the unconventional lines, in keeping with the nature of the story and its characters. It’s all sharp-edged and jagged, with character designs that slip into a more stylized look to reflect or highlight a given trait as needed. Sadzinski’s pencils gets all the highlight they can handle, and then some, as the colors added by Marques kick it up a couple notches. She uses some heavy contrasts, along with an (here comes that word again) unconventional color palette. The combination of both elements, line & color, does something interesting from page to page. The reader is taken from a cozy campfire, straight into a heinous crime scene without missing a beat.
This new arc to Show’s End is just another example of how Mad Cave Studios is a force of nature among indie publishers. They attract the biggest talent as they continue to cover every genre you can think of. In terms of supernatural horror, this one’s showing readers that there are surprises yet to be found and unsettling truths to uncover. And in their next step toward world domination, Mad Cave is running a new subscription program- Sign up to get all the issues in pdf as they’re released, and at the end of the run you get a shiny trade paperback to have and hold!
Dude… why are we still talking about this?
Final Score: 11/13