By Dustin Cabeal
My name is Dustin, and I survived the grunge era. Sure, I was pretty much a kid, but I still recall how terrible it was. That’s my clever way of saying I was never a fan of Nirvana, which I’m sure many of you will be mortified to learn. I once had a teacher in college that worked on a Nirvana music video, and I stared blankly because I had no idea what fucking song she was talking about and I sure as shit never watched the video.
Skip to the End is and isn’t about Nirvana. Obviously, they couldn’t just straight up use the names of the people and the band, so everything is changed enough to avoid… I don’t know, lawsuits or something. After a quick intro to the band at the center of the story, we arrive after the lead singers suicide and find the bassist bartending. A rogue homeless man comes in and knifes him for all the money in the drawer, and the dude makes a trade for the dude’s guitar for the last of his heroin.
The gist is that the bassist starts playing the guitar and discovers that it allows him to travel back in time, but only to parts of his own life. In the present timeline, he joins a support group and develops a connection with the, for lack of a better word, leader of the group. He continues to try and change the past/future by visiting his timeline over and over, but nothing stops it from happening.
The concept is an interesting one, but instantly it all depending on the ending. Which is difficult to talk about because… well, the entire story is about the ending… anyway, it’s complicated. It works, the ending that is, but I think some of the plot was lost in wanting to recreate an authentic retelling of the source material. There is also something superficial about the support group, all of the dialogue seems very generic. I get that the groups like that are generally about routine and such, but it felt like a procedural TV show at times. That and the breach of trust between the sponsor and sponsored that occurs in the story was confusing in that it seemed like a huge breach in trust but was glazed over.
The artwork is solid and drives the story. There are several nuances in the art that add to the overall story, and nearly all are sound related which was a nice touch. The art makes the story a breeze to read. It’s very well paced in that way. The only thing that gets tiring is the song lyric, which spoiler is part of the title that repeats over and over throughout the story. There’s a reason for it, but it doesn’t stop it from being tiring to read.
Skip to the End is interesting. Fans of the band the story inspired are sure to like it, but then others that enjoy time traveling stories will likely dig it as well. By the end though, it’s the overall execution of the ending which plays into the rest of the story that doesn’t quite land. It’s a good idea, but it’s forced to work and could have used another spin before completion. If you’re going to do it, I would actually recommend that you read the title and follow its advice. It might change how you read the book, but you might also find some plot holes along the way.
Skip to the End