Ruby Falls #2 – Ann Nocenti & Flavia Biondi (Berger Books /Dark Horse Comics)

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The second issue of Ruby Falls continues to pull us deeper into small town intrigue and mystery, as Lana follows what everyone else assumes to be the mad ramblings of her senile grandmother straight into a violent warning to look away from the town’s crimson history.

As the story progresses, we’re able to tuck a little more into Blake, Lana’s girlfriend, and watch her wonky relationship with Raymond take a strange and awkward step that will presumably come back to bite her in the behind at some point. Grandma has made a made a surprisingly well orchestrated run for it, into the forest, and with it, her childhood memories.

The subject of feeling on the outs in the only place you’ve ever called home continues to be handled gently and perfectly by Ann Nocenti, Lana waking up on the pavement, poked with a stick by the only children in town, only to be reprimanded by her mother. We get a sense of the broken relationship between her parents, as another onion layer of everyone’s personality is peeled away. As the knowledge of their places in the story builds, so does the anticipation of the big reveal – far enough in the distance to keep us locked in, but not so far that we aren’t already able to start trying to connect some of our own dots.

The art of the strip club scene, and specifically the attempts by Lana’s grandmother to disguise herself for her escape are particularly beautiful, and the sense of the elements of loneliness that permeate all the characters’ lives is communicated dreamily by Flavia Biondi, (along with Lee Loughbridge and Sal Cipriano) in the space she leaves between them. More please. Sophie Francois

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