Written and lushly illustrated by Anna Fitzpatrick
the three cents.
First and foremost, know that this here is, gloriously, one of those mindfuck comix. Like from the golden years of Heavy Metal magazine, the gorgeously rendered fantasy fables of metaphysical introspection, minus all the sex and violence. Juno/Lynx is one of four knights for the half-mad king of the empire of Minoka. Sort of an inner circle of uber-guards. But the king’s nightmares are affecting his daytime sanity to the point of obsessing that she is some manner of witch. Removing her from her well-earned position of prestige, the poor woman awakes and awakes and awakes in a long series of memories, dreams, and either some parallel world or outright insanity altogether. Maybe a spot of both.
Fitzpatrick’s story is very dreamlike, floating at non-linear speeds around specific points in Juno’s past, from an adolescence spent in training to various moments in her professional career under order of the empire. Her world is different from ours, to say the least, bridging in many ways the space between 1984 and mayhaps some of Michael Moorcock’s non-Elric fantasies. The deconstruction of Juno’s world goes from poetic to violent and back again, with just about all other characters coming off as passing shadows. This is really beautiful stuff. The focus shifts elsewhere in the more recent chapter, expanding the world in general and the troubles for Juno in particular. A voyage without roadmaps or checkpoints, proving to be one interesting trip. What it lacks in cognizance it certainly make up for in shear imagination.
The art goes through constant change, as the strip has been in progress for a few years now (and still going mighty strong). This may not have been intentional, but in hindsight it does add to the dreaminess factor and overall surreal effect of the narrative astonishingly well. Her style is still her own of course, though one gets the impression she is deeply more influenced by European graphic novels than anything American. Her coloring effects especially are just jaw-dropping and inspired. If a non-sexual Serpieri were to write something for early, pre-manga’d Chris Bachalo to illustrate, inks by Bill Sienkiewicz, with colors painted on by a fluttering fleet of dizzying faeries, then you might have something kinda similar to this. Not to downplay anything. Anna Fitzpatrick is well into one of the most beautiful and engrossing comic book stories…mindblowing and enchanting. This goes for her writing here as well, but her artwork on Between Worlds is irresistibly distinct. Seriously, as young as she is, her obvious spirit of experimentation and desire for uniqueness aside, this is the work of a master.
Currently nearing the end of chapter four (not counting a side chapter along the way), these segments sometimes run longer than graphic novellas. I hope the story runs for many, many more moons to come, and I sincerely hope Fitzpatrick’s work meets with all the success this story garners. Read it all here and now.