Sometimes it ain’t over til it’s over. For the Lorayle and the remainder of the Daxton Rickle’s Circus that time isn’t, yet. Because even though they survived the events of the original digital only title, Show’s End, the group may not make it to the curtain call. Writer Anthony Cleveland delivers a truly over the top show for readers with Show’s End: The Second Coming. Searching for somewhere to belong has Daxton Rickle’s Circus stumble upon a group that is more than happy to add them to their family.
Shows End: The Second Coming
Writer: Anthony Cleveland
Artist: Jeff Sadzinski
Colorist: Fari Marques
Letterer: Justin Birch
They say the show must go on, but where did it come from? Where is it going? And does it in fact have to go on? Thankfully, Show’s End: The Second Coming answers all three in order. The story opens with a dream/flashback giving readers a look at the main”ish” character, Lorayle. On the surface she appears like an innocent wide eyed redhead little girl. But from her vision and her research, even new readers to the series will realize there may be a reason why she is with this group of freaks.
It doesn’t take long before we meet the rest of the troupe, beginning with Cooper. It becomes obvious that one of the primary reasons this group remains together is the sense of belonging and safety in numbers. See, Daxton Rickle’s Circus isn’t your typical elephants on parade type show. Many of the members have some type of deformity, either from birth or trauma. And while Lorayle can hide her monster, Cooper with partially missing jaw or pig boy Pavel cannot. Exploring the ugliness in society, internal and external, is at center stage in this show.
While Lorayle, Pavel and the others are the main characters, it’s the time and location that really set the stage for the story. With Georgia in the 1920s as the location for Show’s End: The Second Coming writer Anthony Cleveland allows the personas of bigotry and solitude to play a part in the production as well. The isolation and rejection the Daxton Rickle’s Circus receives from society is present from the first few pages.
The time period and location also adds a sense of poverty – furthering the groups segregation, which add to the stereotypes the story uses. The feeling of a less “enlightened” or electrical time for society also allows Fari Magques to avoid a color pallet which create a false illusion of a bright and jovial journey. The dark and damp swampland the group travels to reach their new “home” in Sanctuary Glade only adds to the sensation they aren’t any safer here than on the streets. While Sanctuary Glade offers safety in numbers, the residents seem a little over excited at both Lorayle and Pavel’s arrival.
The first few chapters of Shows End: The Second Coming only serve as an appetizer for the main dish. Artist Jeff Sadzinski really showcases the disfigurements and deformities of the outcasts of society. The horrors aren’t limited merely to the way the residents of Sanctuary Glade look though. There is pure evil afoot in this refuge, and with it comes some of this comic’s goriest moments. Fans of imagery full of body dysmorphia and blood soaked scenes will enjoy this showcase.
Discovering a place to belong is only part of Show’s End: The Second Coming. Sanctuary Glade offers an opportunity for revelations for many members of the circus. Many of them unpleasant. How these secrets affect the sense of family and belonging is very important and alters the status quo somewhat. In doing this Anthony Cleveland sets the stage for hopefully a farewell tour, setting things up for a satisfying conclusion for Rickle’s Circus act.