After seven issues of increasingly wild hobo adventures, Rock Candy Mountain has reached its conclusion, and appropriately, it lands like a solid right hook.
If you haven’t been keeping up with series, Rock Candy Mountain has been following the harrowing misadventures of the perpetually unlucky man who’d come to be known as Pomona Slim, as he gets swept up in the life of Jackson: the most badass hobo to ever live. Jackson is a man of many secrets in search of a way to get back to his family, and as the two men rode the rails and got in and out of trouble over the course of the series, they made enemies of all kinds. Other hobos, the law, bloodthirsty railway workers, and even the devil himself all want a piece of Jackson, and in this action-packed final issue, they’ve all come to collect.
The fisticuffs are a big focus of the issue, and cartoonist Kyle Starks pulls them off with a trademark charm that’s equal parts goofy and awesome. Each punch and comedic beat lands, but they only do so because of the work the story has put in to make the reader care about all of the characters who are colliding in this issue. Whether it’s FBI Agent Babs Bardoux, the hammer-swinging Big Sis, or the ever-smooth Hundred Cat, they each have a role to play and a meaningful arc that’s paid off in this issue.
But ultimately this story is Jackson’s, and he’s given an immensely satisfying and definitive conclusion. Readers will be left wishing for more Rock Candy Mountain, but they certainly won’t be left wanting. All the threads are wrapped up, but if Starks ever wants to ride the rails again, he leaves himself plenty of room to do so.
This final issue took a solid series and elevated it. The more cartoony art style may not be for everyone, but it’s clear that Starks and colorist Chris Schweizer went the extra mile with this issue, which has easily the best and most fantastic visuals of the series. It’s a testament to the creators’ talent that they can take such a minimal and jovial approach to the artwork and still nail the story’s emotional moments.
Rock Candy Mountain is the type of heartfelt and imaginative adventure series that comics can always use more of, and it sticks the landing in this final issue.