Lake Jehovah, Jillian Fleck, 216 pgs, Conundrum Press, conundrumpress.com, $25.
It’s hard being a prophet, especially if there have already been six apocalypses and the empty grocery store discontinued your favourite kind of bagel. This is Jay’s lot in life as Jillian Fleck’s protagonist in Lake Jehovah. As a pathfinder to the post-apocalyptic world the characters of this graphic novel inhabit, Jay makes for one complex tour guide. Immature and endlessly whiny, it’s hard to sympathize with Jay’s broken heart while xe murders a dog or screams at xis waiter. While Fleck’s illustrations show complex emotions with just a curve of a back or the rise of a shoulder, her weak build up to every sexual encounter Jay has is less subtle. With nothing more than the likes of “Would you like to fuck?”, these scenes feel like a distraction to disguise a struggle to create innovative material within the tired narrative of the overly dramatic broken-hearted. However, there is that lake…Serving as Jay’s ultimate obstacle, Lake Jehovah is everything a villain should be. Original, mysterious, and tempting, this is Fleck’s best use of the colour black, second only to the void outside Jay and their ex-fiancé Melly’s home late each night. As someone who has looked up at the night sky and wished I could be there instead of the boring old ground, Melly’s short ascension off her deck and into the pitch black night is tiny and perfect.
Jay is haunted- by xis ex-fiancé, by the lake, and by xis discouraging (and downright terrifying) ‘dark passenger’; while there is satisfaction in xis eventual triumph over this trio, the casualties list comes dangerously close to outweighing the desire to cheer. (Grace Bueler)