THE LOST CARNIVAL: A DICK GRAYSON GRAPHIC NOVEL (2020) review

The Lost Carnival: A Dick Grayson Graphic Novel (DC Comics)

Synopsis

Before he met Batman, Dick Grayson discovered the power of young love-and its staggering cost-at the magical Lost Carnival.

Haly’s traveling circus no longer has the allure of its glamorous past, but it still has one main attraction: the Flying Graysons, a family of trapeze artists featuring a teenage Dick Grayson. The only problem is that Dick loathes spending his summers performing tired routines for dwindling crowds.
When the Lost Carnival opens nearby and threatens to pull Haly’s remaining customers, Dick is among those drawn to its nighttime glow. But there are ancient forces at work at the Lost Carnival, and when Dick meets the mysterious Luciana and her nomadic family, he may be too mesmerized to recognize the danger ahead.  

Beneath the carnival’s dazzling fireworks, Dick must decide between who he is and who he wants to be-choosing either loyalty to his family history or a glittering future with new friends and romance. Author Michael Moreci and illustrator Sas Milledge will suspend readers from a tightrope in this graphic novel, redefining Dick Grayson for a new generation.

Review

If you’ve listened to our recent Robin celebratory podcast (listen here) then you’ll know that we’re all big Dick Grayson fans here at GYCO. You’ll also know that we’ve been highly anticipating the release of The Lost Carnival: A Dick Grayson Graphic Novel from DC Comics YA imprint.

Finally the book is here and it certainly doesn’t disappoint for fans of the original Boy Wonder.

Michael Moreci has crafted an incredibly unique story for Dick which takes us deeper in to his time at Haly’s Circus then we’ve been before. The setup is perfectly in-keeping with what we’ve come to expect from DC Comics line of young adult books: we meet Dick Grayson at a turning point in his life; he’s bored with life in the circus and looking to break out in whatever ways he can.

Contextually, Moreci has given the circus an upgrade which makes it feel much more contemporary. Haly’s is struggling to keep its business afloat with kids more interested in YouTube than in watching clowns and trapeze artists, as such there’s a tension which boils underneath and bubbles over when a new carnival arrives in town.

It’s interesting to find Dick Grayson caught in the middle of what feels like a classic folklore tail. It’s certainly a new style of story for him to be involved in but Moreci makes it feel organic to the character during this phase in his life.

This is absolutely not a story about Dick’s early days as a vigilante. Instead it’s a much smaller scale, emotional story which really hits home the tragedy which comes to follow in his life. It follows the notion of family: both by birth and by choice and how both play a huge part in our development as people.

It’s through Luciana and her people in the Lost Carnival that Dick comes to accept the family he has at Haly’s. But, like we said, that just makes the loss he suffers after this story all the more tragic.

Lost Carnival also features a stunning visual language in the art of Sas Milledge. The book itself uses only two colour schemes: blue for scenes outside of the carnival and orange for life inside and around the titular Lost Carnival.

There are times when these two overlap, when Dick first visits the carnival he still appears in shades of blue. It’s only when he succumbs to the lights of the carnival that he transitions in the orange hues of the mystical world.

It creates a simple, almost imperceptible change to the story from the mundane to the fantastic. This process brilliantly accents Moreci’s story and makes this yet another unique entry in the line of young-adult novels from DC.

Verdict

The Lost Carnival is a magical folklore tail told from the perspective of one of the DC universe’s most human characters. Deeply personal and emotional, this one will stay with you long after you close the cover.

8/10

The Lost Carnival: A Dick Grayson Novel is penned by Michael Moreci with beautiful illustrations from Sas Milledge.


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By Neil Vagg

Neil is the GYCO Editorial Chief. He has a BA in Film & TV and an MA in Scriptwriting; he currently works 9-5 as an office manager and 5-9 as a reviewer/web designer. He has been subscribing to comics for around nine years but has been reading them as long as he can remember. Favourite comics: Batman; Nightwing, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and All New X-Men Favourite films: Batman (any apart from & Robin); Star Trek Generations, Underworld, Beetlejuice Favourite TV shows: Fringe; Buffy, Arrow, TBBT, Being Human UK and Star Trek TNG