It’s not at all a coincidence that I’m reviewing this amid the rerelease of Titanic. There’s something about the element of water that’s so intriguing for storytelling. It’s because of the depth of the oceans, it’s the hidden mysteries, and it’s the force behind such a natural phenomenon. In this graphic novel’s case, it’s how puddles and rain can open gateways. Whether that’s to past lives or something entirely different, that’s up to the reader’s interpretation. All I know is that the water motif is strong in Leonie O’Moore’s Torrent. The story follows three women whose lives crossover amid a torrential storm. The winds are vicious, rivers bend, and their souls carry over through three different time periods.
Three is the magic number here; three women’s lives intersect, three time periods, and three animals. Speaking of animals, Torrent follows the cliché of pet symbolism. Do you know the sayings about animals sensing something ominous or predicting weather patterns? This comic makes very good use of that trope. The three animals in question – the dog, the fox and the wolf – all have their own stationary time period. But they later become guides for each woman; whether that’s to stray from their path or to correct their trajectory. Their expressions are also good indications of the change in the atmosphere. You know when and where each woman is depending on which animal they have as a companion. It’s a very fascinating line of thought to follow.
The full panel on page fifty-two is a great example of how these three animals are used. Their footprints mark all over the path intersections. Each one runs on top of the other, all pointing toward different strayed directions. When the women begin to question whether what happened really truly happened, these footprints counter that growing doubt. They’re there – concrete, sunk into the ground – and an obvious mark of having been there all along. Another page of interest is thirty-nine – a parallel of two of the women, signifying the difference between them, but also the possibility of the sameness in their souls: reincarnation.
Micah Myers’ lettering helps Torrent provide an old-timey feel to scenes of the past while maintaining a modern edge to the present day. Grainy and textured paper creates the white noise of rain. Simple and strict horizontal panel layouts provide straightforward storytelling before it gradually descends into chaos. The boxes become more erratic as the story moves forward. It’s very much in line with the initial quote: “It’s a bit drizzly. Not real rain”. Such a foreshadowing reigns havoc on the later pages of the graphic novel.
Colors not only provide atmosphere but are also markers for each specific character’s perspective. The colors are dull under the heavy pour of rain. Vibrance peeks through as the dark clouds clear out, and everything falls perfectly back into place. Another indication of the change in time is the context clues in character vernaculars. It’s these little things that make each and every piece of the story more engaging. While there’s plenty of movement in the scenes themselves, some of the body positions in action are a bit off which can be distracting.
Torrent is a mystery, and it pulls you into this other-worldly aspect of storms and rain. There’s the idea of past lives, but no exact confirmation of how these characters are actually connected. The link is there—we just don’t know why it exists. It’s this intriguing aspect of the story that makes O’Moore’s writing so alluring. If that’s your cup of tea, I highly recommend giving this beautiful piece a shot.
Allured by rain and the potential depths of water? You can read all the information on Torrent and its crowdfunding efforts on its Crowdfundr page. Get to know the author and artist Leonie O’Moore and feel free to talk to us as well on Twitter and Instagram.