The Complete Final Arc Of Jackson’s Homeric Odyssey: Rock Candy Mountain Vol. 2

by Brendan M. Allen

Jackson’s mysterious history finally unravels. A massive battle atop a moving train. The Hobo Mafia and the feds close in for an actual war and Jackson’s final battle with The Literal Devil. Pomona Slim, Hundred Cat, and Big Sis are all mixed up in the epic conclusion of the World’s Toughest Hobo’s search for the mythical Rock Candy Mountain. 

The first volume of Kyle Starks’ Rock Candy Mountain introduced us to a mysterious hobo named Jackson who couldn’t lose a fair fight. Jackson spent most of the first arc collecting artifacts and allies for a mysterious score. All the while, Jackson was chased down by the FBI, the hobo mafia, and the actual, ever-loving Devil himself.
Rock Candy Mountain Volume 2 flashes back to before Jackson’s hobo lifestyle, circa WWII. He has a wife and a baby daughter. We get to see a side of the man that isn’t present at all in the first storyline. Turns out, he’s actually pretty sensitive. Jackson pulls a draft slip and has to get creative to find a way to make it home to his girls in one piece.

That bindle stick Jackson’s been hauling around? Yeah, that’s no stick. The story of how he came into possession of that particular artifact is key to the rest of the story. It also explains why everyone in the world is trying to locate this cat.
The World’s Toughest Hobo will go through Hell in his Homeric odyssey to return to his wife and baby girl. He’ll have to buck up to the Feds, the hobo mafia, the literal Devil, and the most purely evil human being that ever lived. There’s only two ways this thing can end, and neither finish is particularly clean.

This second half is chock full of the dark wit, unorthodox onomatopoeia, and ridiculous action sequences we’ve come to expect from master storyteller Kyle Starks. In addition to being insanely funny, Starks’ dialogue flows brilliantly. He’s clearly dug deep into period slang and hobo subculture. The slick drollery and dated references don’t feel forced at any point, and the story plugs right along without getting hung up on insignificant details.
I’ve said before, many times during this limited series’ run, that this is easily in my top ten stories of all time. The opening sequences of Volume Two give enough of the back story you could easily read this as a stand-alone story, but if you haven’t already picked up a copy of Volume 1, I’d highly recommend doing so, post haste. Rock Candy Mountain is too good to miss.

Rock Candy Mountain, Volume 2 TP collects chapters 5-8, published by Image Comics, releases 11 April 2018. Story, art, and cover by Kyle Starks, color by Chris Schweizer.

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