By Jeff Lemire
Published by Gallery 13
Jeff Lemire returns to the kind of tale that put him on the map, set in a town that could almost make this a companion piece to his debut graphic novel Essex County. Derek is a disgraced ex-professional hockey player whose troubles with alcohol and violence have led him to a small town in the back end of nowhere, slinging hash at a local diner. When his long-estranged sister unexpectedly shows up, pregnant and hooked on opioids, the pair are forced to confront the traumas of their shared past that have brought them to their current situation. Lemire is always at his best with this kind of material (see also recent series Royal City), and his art is perfect at capturing the brutal environment our characters find themselves in, both physically and emotionally, given extra dimension by a watercolour palette that works to distinguish between present day and the flashbacks that punctuate the narrative. A powerful book that never succumbs to the kind of easy cliché that it could invite.