cover image The Spectral Engine

The Spectral Engine

Ray Fawkes. Random House of Canada/McClelland & Stewart (Random House, North American dist.), $27.95 (176p) ISBN 978-0-7710-3093-2

Artist-writer Fawkes draws on Canada's rich history of tragedy and supernatural tales to produce a work filled with foreboding but also a kind of hope. The appearance of the black train foreshadows death. In these ghost stories, a captain chooses death over defeat, a trapper who surrendered to despair-driven corruption seeks absolution beyond the grave, a fog-sabotaged liner takes over a thousand souls with it when it heads to the bottom of the St. Lawrence, Toronto's new subway offers a woman what she believes will be a final escape from loneliness, hunger makes a man a monster, and a nun's shade recapitulates the events that led to her accidental death over and over. Although the train signals inevitable doom in this life, it also provides refuge for the dead, the one place where they are guaranteed passage safe from the travails of their lives. Torontonian Fawkes, known for his work on the re-launch of DC Comic's Constantine and his recent graphic novel One Soul, demonstrates the skills that have made him a Harvey, Eisner and three-time Shuster Award finalist with art heavy on inks and more evocative than realist married to a story that embraces Canadian lore while building on it. Agent: Ron Eckel, The Cooke Agency International. (Oct.)