If you’ve ever wished that more artists did sexy clown pin-up spreads, the new Dark Horse series Clown Fatale may be the comic you’ve been waiting for. Four buxom, down-on-their-luck circus performers get mistaken for contract killers after another lackluster performance in a small town, and they jump at the chance to gain $50,000 and leave their migratory lifestyle behind them. It’s adult, it’s gritty, and it’s definitely not designed to entice people to run away to join the circus. This comic is definitely for mature readers due to its nudity, foul language, and drug use.
The girls use drugs and alcohol to numb themselves to the monotony and despair of their lives, but when Wayne Talbot mistakes them for the hit men his uncle wants to hire, opportunity knocks to the tune of fifty thousand dollars. All the girls have to do to prove themselves is knock off a local drug dealer, Rico. The catch? He’s their drug dealer, plus the real killers aren’t too happy to lose a contract to lowly clowns.
Chloe, Tina, Candy, and Aya all have the potential to feel like real people, but they’re not anyone I would want to hang out with on a regular basis. A certain aura of despair and resignation clouds all of their actions, and while I could understand the decisions they made, I couldn’t entirely sympathize with their plight. They may grow over the course of the series, but I didn’t get invested in them from this installment.
The cover for Clown Fatale #1 is deliberately sexy, but Chloe’s proportions don’t look right to me. She doesn’t appear to have enough torso, and the short shorts emphasize the odd shape of her hips instead of alluringly showing midriff. The other three girls fulfill more of a pin-up fantasy, in my opinion, but I’m also not quite the target demographic. The secondary panel with all four women dressed in t-shirts and pants as vigilantes has fewer issues with body shape, and the interior artwork is more consistent. The bright colors around the circus help accentuate the false happiness that the big top performance is selling to visitors, while the more muted colors in later scenes help indicate that the four major players are leaving the performance lifestyle behind them in favor of something darker. Clown Fatale #1 is an interesting concept, but it felt divided between being dark and gritty and being titillating. Hopefully, the plot will find a balance as the comic continues, so the blatant T&A becomes less distracting from the potentially intense quest to free Chloe, Tina, Candy, and Aya from the circus.
3.5 Disturbingly Noosed Teddy Bears out of 5