Seraph’s Sanctions: THE CIRCLE #5

Writer: Damon Clark
Art: Alyzia Zherno
Colors: Alyzia Zherno
Letterer: Zen
Publisher: ACTION LAB: DANGER ZONE (May 2017)


The Breakdown:
Christian continues to figure out how to kill the rest of the Circle as they have found a new victim to sacrifice in order to fulfill the power of the demon. Yet, that victim is closer to Christian than anyone … and the final showdown begins.

The Bad:

The final issue was pretty solid, but there are two things that feel a bit off. First … Phoebe did seem to have some kind of interest in Christian, but then ended up not showing that affection much to now. While I do understand how she seems to like him, but Phoebe didn’t seem have issues with what the Circle has done till Christian faces her and the remainder of the Circle. And finally, the reveal of Rachel’s powers was kinda underwhelming. She had little to do during the course of the series and while the powers are great, her overall importance downplayed her powers being revealed.

The Best Moment:

The twist of the secret boss is absolutely amazing.

The Good:

Zherno creates wonderful and frightening atmosphere as the art is absolutely fantastic this final issue. There’s so many moving parts in this final issue, but Zherno takes it in stride. A lot of the visuals go from endearing to disturbing. Zherno is very creative, allowing all kind of perspectives, lighting sources and colors to fully encapsulate the joy, pain and horror throughout this final issue. There are some really frightening looking panels when our hero goes for the final showdown. The differences in colors,whether muted or not, really enhanced the overall ambivalence of the book. ┬áZen’s letter was great and helped kept the book’s text match the more mystical tone it had.

Clark pens a satisfactory finale with one good twist and one great twist. While there is more development for Christian, we do get to have a little development for the rest of the circle that we had little of throughout the series. Yet, Clark firmly establishes that this is Christian’s story and we are going through Christian’s final challenges here. The pacing of the final issue was pretty good and Clark definitely establishes the voices of the characters well here. The final twist and solution at the end of the series was masterfully done, allowing Clark to really sucker punch readers one last time before the series came to its conclusion. Quite gripping and emotional, Clark used the mix of soul punching horror, gut punching emotion and two well placed surprises to really let readers get drawn into this finale.

The Verdict:

The Circle # 5 ended a dark romp well. There’s was a decent amount of action. Plenty of surprises. And some good character growth. And while I felt there was an issue with the overall development with the rest of the Circle that let some of their characterizations in this issue feel far less impactful then it should have been (Rachel’s powers & Phoebe’s role during the final confrontation between the Circle and Christian), it did make sense and still make the final issue of the book gripping. The driving force of Christian and his relationship with his dad was well executed. And the final twist and resolution was well executed and honestly surprised me. Clark made it work and work well. Zherno and Zen did an exquisite job of keeping the over all tone of the book perfect and Zherno’s art is grimly beautiful here. With either a bit more development for the other characters before this issue or just some extra pages, this comic would have been perfect. Yet, the over all finale and this issue was definitely a good finale that closed the Circle well. The Circle #5 end this sojourn into murder and magic with knife twisting goodbye that just fit and made the entire series feel wonder.