The Lost Carnival: Graphic Novel Review

The Lost Carnival is an enchanting story from Dick Grayson’s youth, filled with magic and young love that will usher readers into the summer season.
Rating: 4 Stars

This graphic novel was sent to me by DC Comics for free for reviewing. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are complete my own and not influenced in any way.

The Lost Carnival
Michael Moreci
Illustrator: Sas Milledge
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: May 5th, 2020
Synopsis: Before Batman trained him to be Robin, Dick Grayson discovered the power of young love–and its staggering costs–at the dangerous, magical, and utterly irresistible 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 starring a teenage Dick Grayson. The only problem is that Dick loathes spending his summers performing tired routines for a dwindling crowd.

When the Lost Carnival, a wild and enchanting new attraction, opens nearby and threatens to pull Haly’s remaining customers, Dick is among those drawn to its magical nighttime glow. But there are forces ancient and dangerous at work at the Lost Carnival, and when Dick meets the mysterious Luciana and her carnival workers–each stranger than the last–he may be too mesmerized to recognize the danger ahead.

Beneath the carnival’s dazzling fireworks, Dick must decide who he is and who he wants to be–choosing between loyalty to his family history and a glittering future with new friends and romance. Writer Michael Moreci and artist Sas Milledge redefine Dick Grayson in The Lost Carnival, a young adult graphic novel exploring the power and magic of young love.

There is something about summer that brings up memories of friendships forged and romances kindled. The Lost Carnival hits all the right nostalgic notes while giving us a story from a summer in Dick Grayson’s teen years. Paired with fantastic illustrations and muted colors, The Lost Carnival is the perfect graphic novel to start the summer.

Let’s start with the story: Dick Grayson is spending his summer with his parents as they perform their stunning acrobatics at Haly’s Circus. But Dick feels restless in his situation and the ever dwindling audiences aren’t helping. When Dick and his friend Willow, the assistant and niece to the Circus’ magician, stumble upon members of the rival carnival in town, they find something they never expected: real magic. As Dick gets closer to the mysterious Luciana, tempers flare between the circus and carnival and soon Dick will learn what it means to fight for the ones you care about and how to enjoy the short time we have with them.

Moreci crafts an intriguing look at young Dick Grayson, before the tragedy we all know is coming for him. Dick is like any other teen boy: struggling to find his unique spot in the world while also falling hopelessly into young love. There is a lot of angst here, which will work for some and not others, but it is balanced with the mystery and magic of the main plot. Some aspects were a bit predictable, though never so much so that it took away from the enjoyment of the read. Moreci’s building of Dick’s relationship with his parents is particularly poignant and adds a subtle layer of tragedy to the novel.

The illustrations and coloring for The Lost Carnival really stood out. The color palette was very sparse and muted, which gave the story an ethereal feel. The use of blues and yellows are gorgeous and when the two are present together they provide a pop of contrast to highlight the action of the story. The characters are all well drawn and the scenery is amazing. Visually, this novel gets 5 stars.

The Lost Carnival is a fantastic blend of an angsty teen summer romance with the character building of a beloved and tragic comic book character. I highly recommend picking this one up as a summer read!

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