"Cascade #1 - #2" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Red Branch Publications
Written by Chris Canibano
Illustrated by Larry Nadolsky
2012, 55 Pages Total
Comic released in October 2012
Mark and Sue have a great relationship. Everything seems like it's in the right place when Sue reveals she's pregnant. Mark thinks this is the perfect time to finally meet Sue's parents. What should be a casual trip down memory lane and a joyous celebration of life turns into a terror-filled journey through redneck country in Cascade from Red Branch Publications.
Cascade starts off slowly, building up the suspense. Sue is clearly uncomfortable about visiting her family, but she can't put it off any longer. It's weird enough that her fiancee hasn't met his future in-laws. It's a whole other level of strange for them not to meet the soon-to-be father of their grandchildren.
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It doesn't help matters that Sue grew up in the middle of nowhere. The bulk of the first issue has the couple driving through the countryside looking for this podunk town. It turns out that the area has been under an Indian curse for ages. As a result, every so often the place floods and just about everything is washed away. Eventually Sue and Mark end up at a shady gas station run by one of Sue's ex-boyfriends named Steve. He's your stereotypical redneck and tries to pull a fast one on the pair by screwing with their car, then tails along on the trip to Sue's familial home.
The second issue has Sue, Mark, and Steve exploring the seemingly abandoned house. There's something weird going on, but everyone goes along with it like it's not a big deal that the lights are going on and off. You know those stupid decisions that people make in horror movies? Cascade is full of them. Steve checks the circuit breaker and comes back with blood all over his face. That would be a great time to leave. A loud BOOM comes from upstairs and no one else is home. That would be a good push to get out of Dodge. Bodies are found in the attic and they decide to sleep in the barn instead. Sounds totally logical.
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Larry Nadolsky's artwork is hit-or-miss. The basic forms are all there, but people are often in strange positions, like they were three dimensional and then folded into a 2D page. This makes some of the action scenes very awkward-looking. Some of the facial expressions are also a little off. For example, Sue is always puckering her lips, like she's making a duckface for a selfie.
There are some good ideas within Cascade but they get bogged down by some basic horror pitfalls and cliches. The length of the story hinders it as well. Since the first issue is all travel, the end feels rushed, as if the page count suddenly caught up to author Chris Canibano. If there was a third issue or even a few extra pages, it would have helped flesh things out a bit more. As it stands, the ending seems very strange and doesn't make much sense.