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"Stillwater #1" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Image Comics / Skybound Entertainment

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Written by Chip Zdarsky
Illustrated by Ramon K. Perez
Colored by Mike Spicer
Lettered by Rus Wooton
2020, 40 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on September 16th, 2020

Review:

Welcome to Stillwater, a town where no one ever dies. That sounds like paradise on the surface, but the truth is anything but. The place has been kept secret, off the beaten path. You won't find any road signs directing you there for a reason. When Daniel receives a cryptic letter about a long lost relative's inheritance in Stillwater, he learns more about this town than he's ready for and the result is a whole lot of bloodshed.

The thing about Daniel is that he's kind of an asshole. He means well and he's capable of good work, but he seems to sabotage everything he touches. Tony doesn't help matters. He's like the devil on his shoulder, encouraging bad behavior and amplifying it at every turn. Now imagine these two big personalities rolling into this small town like total dude bros. They would rile up the locals under normal circumstances, but this is a special case.

Artist Ramon K. Perez perfectly captures the eerie nature of Stillwater. Despite seeing people around, the streets feel empty. Those we do see appear disgusted and uncomfortable at the sight of Daniel and Tony. It's clear they're all sharing a secret and these two represent a threat to it.

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The truth, as writer Chip Zdarsky reveals by the end of the issue, is incredibly chilling. The lengths these folks are willing to go to protect this town and its secret are alarming. Much is spelled out in a bit of an info dump, but without coming through like a history lesson. Instead, it's presented more as a matter of fact scenario, giving you just enough information to understand the horrifying situation these two ultimately find themselves in.

Then, in a great twist ending, some threads are tied together in the final moments to solidify Stillwater's place on your pull list. Letterer Rus Wooton helps this along with a small phrase shown in a quieter font, conveying so much emotion in such a tiny word balloon.

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Colorist Mike Spicer helps this along by ratcheting up the tension in the last few pages. We go from the quaint light of the day where everything is out in the open and nothing bad ever happens to Hell on Earth. Yellows, oranges, and reds take over the page, raining pure evil down upon all who dare to step forward.

Stillwater scratches that small town horror itch. It starts with a rock-solid premise then builds to a fascinating and unsettling story that should not be missed. This is a comic that's going to stay with you for some time, your mind racing with possibilities and wondering what will happen next.

Grades:

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Art: fourstars
Overall: 4.5 Star Rating

About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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