cover image In the Flood

In the Flood

Ray Fawkes. Dark Horse, $19.99 trade paper (120p) ISBN 978-1-5067-2469-0

Past and present coil around each other like snakes in the immersive latest from Fawkes (One Line). The narrative is split mostly in two, with a filament of connective tissue between its separated characters. The present, colored cool blue, features Mike waiting in the dream house he and his beloved Clara built when it was “overlooking a cozy valley” instead of about to be swallowed up by floodwaters from a deluge of biblical length and intensity. Determined to wait out the rain, he runs through memories of her and the love he believes they shared: “I said I’d be here when you come back and I will.” In the past, tinted hot pink, Clara drinks and broods in between performing ballads and magic tricks in a swank nightclub. In between, a sunny yellow-toned narrative suggests a brief interregnum of happiness amidst the gloom and occasional outcroppings of paranoia and violence. Fawkes renders everything with an unreal quality: the frames are tightly packed and choppy, with jagged lines and tension-ratcheting close-ups, while the dialogue is mostly interior and gloomily romantic (“I’m in the dark and I miss you”). While the ending may not provide a precisely clarifying answer, the pages spill over with suggestions of narrative unreliability, madness, and delusion. It’s darkly enchanting, nonetheless. (Mar.)