Purgatory Chapter 1 - First Circle Review
Purgatory Chapter 1: First Circle Cover

Purgatory: Chapter 1 First Circle
Written By: Don Juan Manchez III
Illustrated By: Anubisazp
Format: Digital Comic
Published: www.purgatorythecomic.com

The comic is set in a theoretical world where some people stay on earth after they die. The idea alone is scary to contemplate. Imagine dying, only to find yourself trapped, working the same dead in job year after year. It’s like a sadistic version of Ground Hogs’ Day. If that isn’t bad enough, the main character stumbles in between a pair of hit-men who are chasing after a seemingly innocent child.

Overall I found myself really enjoying the comic. I am a novice when it comes to comics so I wasn’t sure what to expect. At first I found the story to be a bit slow and I was confused as to what was going on. Looking back, I think the confusion I felt was intentionally done by the author. The art in this comic is incredible. Anubisazp’s illustrations give it a really dark and spooky feel. I do wish the author had done a better job of explaining the world that the comic was set in. The major themes in the comic include death, and the unknown.

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The comic’s writing is very straightforward. While it lacks any real explanation into the world, the dialogue, especially that of the main character, Ryan, was very well done. I really got a sense of Ryan’s despair through a few short conversations. The two hitmen had very predictable conversations, but that was some welcoming clarity in an otherwise ambiguous setting.

I think this is where the comic really stands out. The art is gritty and dark, and it sets the tone for the whole story. The comic is very well designed and easy to follow, even for a rookie like myself. The artist uses simple, yet striking illustrations to give the characters a raw look. Chapter 1 is done completely in black and white and I’m glad it is, because it added to the bleakness of the story. I’ve seen some black and white comics and I felt that the color scheme was a gimmick, but I think if the artist had colored the illustrations it would have detracted from the work as a whole.

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 While the story started off a bit slow, and I found myself confused at times, the beauty of the illustrations were more than enough to keep me engaged. The story ramped up towards the middle and I found myself getting more interested and hoping that Chapter 2 will provide some answers to my questions. If nothing else, the comic is entertaining. It’s a little on the dark side, so don’t expect a typical feel good vibe from it. I prefer works to have an edginess to them, so I really liked that aspect of it. The comic is published online by the author, you can find it at www.purgatorythecomic.com as well as information about the author and illustrator, concept art, and upcoming chapters.