Roberts, Rafer – Plastic Farm Volume 3: Seasons of Growth in the Fields of Despair
Plastic Farm Volume 3: Seasons of Growth in the Fields of Despair
A message to the people out there who still miss Cerebus (like me, up until the last couple of years of its run where I stopped caring): maybe you should give Plastic Farm a shot. Granted, it’s not a monthly comic, which is where the loss of Cerebus is most acutely felt, but good luck finding another ongoing small press series that’s this compelling. I was all set to bitch about the fact that there’s no recap at the start of this one, but it turns out that this is the perfect volume for there to be no recap. A new reader who picked up the third volume (but for some reason skipped the first two, which is a little crazy) would have no trouble at all picking up the basics of the story, as a lot of this is one long, continuing origin story. For people who are just starting this now, go back and read some of my reviews for past issues, as I’m sure as hell not going to recap everything here. The short version of the early days of this series is that it was a number of stories involving a wide cast of characters, often not initially seeming to have anything to do with each other, and their connections were revealed gradually along the way. Oh, and Chester, as he’s the main character here, and either the savior of the universe or its destroyer. Or a crazy person, or something in between. Most of this volume takes place in an airport bar as people wait until the bad weather clears up and the flights start up again. Chester takes this time to tell his story to this room full of people, with each of them chiming in at different moments to tell their own stories (most of them engrossing, a few not so much, but the other characters are also aware of that fact). This volume starts off with both of his origin stories: being baptized by a mysterious group and then starting college. We see his introduction to alcohol and drugs (and ladies, really), with little hints along the way of the underlying insanity of his life. Rafer seems to have come to terms with the fact that his story is going to be much longer than he initially planned and he’s really enjoying the freedom that comes with having all kinds of space. Chester’s race to get to his first day of class, for example, would have been a panel or two if Rafer was still trying to cram all of this into a dozen or so issues, but he was able to take 25 pages to really show every aspect of it. I was also impressed with how seamlessly this graphic novel came together, as I know it came from single issues but it was really hard to tell where one issue stopped and another started (that’s the highest compliment I can give, in case that wasn’t clear). We also get our first clear glimpses of what exactly that mouse-like creature is all about as well as a holding room of sorts for some of the more imaginative creatures I’ve seen outside of an issue of Idiotland (and those creatures were almost universally gross, while these are mostly just… odd). I’m hoping, unrealistically probably, that Rafer already has the fourth volume ready for SPACE in a couple of weeks, as I’ve gone from cautiously optimistic that he’d be able to pull all these disparate threads together to having full confidence in his ability to do so after reading this one. Provided that there’s still a Kickstarter around or something that he can use to finance them, that is. Of course, that would probably also be less of an issue if all kinds of people started buying his books. Try that out, see what happens! $16.99
Posted on April 2, 2013, in Reviews and tagged Chris Piers, Dale Rawlings, Jim Coon, Jim8Ball, Mal Jones, Matt Dembicki, Plastic Farm, Rafer Roberts. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Roberts, Rafer – Plastic Farm Volume 3: Seasons of Growth in the Fields of Despair.