Reviews: California

Published On April 15, 2013 | By Richard Bruton | Comics, Reviews

California Part 4

By Rob Jackson

California Issue 04 1

Here we go then , the fourth and final part of Rob Jackson’s tale of weird goings-on, part family saga, part Lovecraftian horror, part bizarre sci-fi adventure. (You can find details on previous issues here: issue 1issue 2, issue 3.)

So far in three issues we’ve gone a long way, following Billy and his family to California, Cthulu tentacle thingies made an appearance and it all got very strange last issue with shamanic goings on, huge alternate dimensional monsters and Billy transformed into a floating ….. well, see for yourself….

California Issue 04 2

Yep, that was Billy. I didn’t want to tell you last time, but here there’s no getting away from it as he’s in disembodied head form for the first quarter of the comic. It’s a very strange experience watching the hero of the piece either flying around the place, or even more surreal, bouncing about the place, battling the hideous monster from Lovecraft’s nightmares.

I’m not going to give much of the ending of the comic away, and as you’ve already seen reviews of the first three I’m not going to recap as  they have more than enough plot and theme details to keep you going, but if you’re not in the mood to go back:

“Issue 1 introduced us to Billy and his family, heading out to California, with younger brother Jake beginning a flirtation with religion and power that we can all tell is not going to go well. In issue 2 Billy gets just a little insight into the sort of things that Jake might be involved in. They’re not nice and there’s tentacles involved.

Billy seeks out elderly shamans to help him find his family once more. And then it gets VERY strange… the house floating in some weird multi-dimensional space, the dark spheres, the columns, the blank space….  Tentacles and teeth galore. It is all quite wonderfully strange.

What started out as soap opera drama and drifted into creepy horror has now devolved into full-blown pan-dimensional horror weirdness”

Yes, it’s a strange thing, this comic, and the whole series has been stranger than much of Jackson’s stuff, purely because it does what Jackson always does, the genre mixing, throwing high drama up against down to earth common people stuff, dropping humour into the most serious of moments, and does it even more. So the off tempo beats you normally find in Jackson’s dialogue and pacing seem accentuated here. And in the end, at the very end, it feels just that little rushed, a little too quick and easy to tie everything up, a little too off tempo.

But everything leading up to that has been hugely, weirdly, wonderfully fun. A bizarre, horror tinged adventure, another really good Rob Jackson comic.

I shall leave you with a gag, or at least a ridiculously funny bit of Jackson dialoguing, doing that thing he does of deadpanning something into a moment of supreme high tension….

California Issue 04 3

“You three keep the monster in the hole, I’m off to get something to help kill it.”
“How do we do that?”
“Errm… Throw planks at it if it tries to climb out… I’ll be back as soon as I can…”

You can pick up copies of all three issues of California at Rob Jackson’s website.

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About The Author

Richard Bruton
- Started in comics retail aged 16 at Nostalgia & Comics, Birmingham. Now located in Yorkshire, he's written for the Forbidden Planet International Blog since 2007. Specialising in UK Comics and All-Ages comics, Richard's day job in a primary school allowed him to build the best children's graphic novel library in the country.

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