After a high-profile tumble, Cirque American’s star wire walker, Jules Maroni, has a lot to prove—and her invitation to an exclusive exhibition in Paris looks to be just the opportunity to put her back on top. Unfortunately, the City of Lights glitters with distractions, including the presence of her first serious boyfriend and a mysterious figure haunting the venue.
Girl Over Paris is part of the Cirque American series, but unlike the two novels in the series, is a comic book co-written with veteran comics writer Kate Leth (of series such as the wonderful, albeit now concluded, Patsy Walker aka Hellcat from Marvel); it’s also the first time I’ve encountered Bond’s Cirque American setting.
Girl Over Paris is a compact little introduction to the world and the characters; over four issues, we only meet six people, really, plus a number of nameless fans and spectators briefly, and half of those are really just background parts to the story of Jules, her boyfriend Remy, and Remy’s sister Dita (and Dita’s girlfriend Gab). These central characters are a little thin; although Doyle’s art keeps things interesting by making sure every character’s reaction to events is clear on their faces, and even background crowds have a variety of expressions, the central cast are a little simple, even two dimensional, and Jules’ reactions are a little flat for a lot of the story. Dita is the stand-out character, the most emotionally interesting one, so it’s sad this story didn’t centre more on her.
The intense focus on such a small group means we don’t really see a lot of the world – there are hints to what goes on around this story, including black magic and curses being definitively real, but Girl Over Paris is a ghost story, and a rather good one at that. It’s not a tragedy, but has tragedy in its past; there’s a certain Phantom of the Opera vibe to elements of the story, and Bond and Leth are clearly aware of the vibes they’re playing with, using the supernatural to amplify human emotionality and exploring relationships primarily, even between characters who are fundamentally quite flat. This isn’t a comic of action so much as one of feel; Girl Over Paris isn’t flashy, but it does have a strong sense of place, reinforced by the detailed art of Doyle which puts in small details to make it clear this isn’t some fantasy Paris.
In the end, Girl Over Paris has an all-star creative team behind it, but it just doesn’t have enough substance to really make use of their talents: the hints of the levels of skill involved are there, but no one really shows their best work on this one.
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