By Daniel Vlasaty
I know what you’re thinking. Here’s me giving Kyle Starks a verbal blowjob in the form of another glowing review for a book I clearly love that is super fucking awesome and blah blah blah. Okay. Well here it is. I guess. I don’t know. But Rock Candy Mountain #4 is out and it’s the last issue in the first story arc. And, yes, I’ll just come out and say it. It’s great, like the rest of the issues. And here is my review of it.
Not much happens in this issue but that’s okay because it’s still one of my favorite books coming out right now. Slim and Jackson get themselves into a spot of trouble and end up in prison. This all just may or may not be a part of Jackson’s plan, though. But slim is pissed and all the other prisoners are pissed too. And Marion Flimbo (from issue one and the hobo mafia) is also locked up and he feels that Jackson’s insulted him and needs to be dealt with. Flimbo makes the entire prison (cons and screws) an offer they can’t refuse. Kill Jackson and he’ll make them so rich they’ll be pissing champagne and shitting quarters. Now, if you’ll remember: Jackson made a deal with the devil that he can’t lose a fight. But it’s only to any one man, not an entire prison worth of men. He needs a plan and he needs one now. Which leads to a great hallway fight scene like those from both the first and second season of Netflix’s Daredevil.
Story-wise, this issue is pretty light. Not a whole lot happens and almost none of it moves the story forward at all. This issue is a stand-still, maybe even a step back from Jackson’s ultimate mission (and Slim’s too). This isn’t an entirely bad thing, because like I said it’s a great issue as a stand-alone. It’s just that it kind of comes off as a stall. There is a reason for Jackson to be in the prison, there’s something (or someone) he needs to get out of there. And we see that but then it’s almost like the rest of the issue just gets sidetracked. I would have liked to see the first arc end with more of a conclusion. It just seems like kind of a weird place in the story to end the first arc. I don’t know.
The art, again as always, is great. This is a fight issue and the fight scene is center stage here. Starks really seems to have stepped up the game for this fight scene. Smaller panels and pages more tightly packed make it seem more tense and nail-biting. The hallway fight especially. It seems extra claustrophobic with smaller panels filled with punches and kicks and the bigger, page-width ones to show just how many bodies are crammed into the tight space.
Chris Schweizer’s color work is truly beautiful here. I’ve commented on it in most of my other reviews, but in issue #4 it just seemed like so much more. It really adds to the atmosphere and mood of the issue. Like in the fight scene, every panel is awash in purple-blues and pink-reds. Like emergency lights. The shadows are deep and dark and it just makes the whole spread feel heavy. Lighting seems to be a real focus with the colors of this issue. The orange blasts of guns firing glow through the muted colors. The watch tower spotlight bleaches everything it touches. It’s a real treat.
All things considered, this is a great issue. I feel the art and color work outshine the story by a great deal but the story is still everything I’ve come to expect from Kyle Starks and Rock Candy Mountain. But I do still feel it was a bit of a letdown. The first arc didn’t end as strong as I thought it was going to. I’ll still be eagerly waiting for the book to return, though. I realy, really, really, just want my boy Jackson to find his dang mountain.
Rock Candy Mountain #4