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Stillwater 4 Main

"Stillwater #4" 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, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on December 16th, 2020

Review:

No one dies in the town of Stillwater. When did this happen and how did the judge rise to power, ruling the place with an iron fist? Stillwater #4 takes us back to the beginning of this strange phenomenon in a chilling flashback.

What I'm continually impressed by in Stillwater is how writer Chip Zdarsky has thought of everything when it comes to the ramifications of living forever, all with a horror lens. Other stories might have just stopped at the idea of people with a Wolverine-like healing factor and called it a day. This one looks at how it can affect people psychologically and physically, particularly the children.

That was the catalyst for Laura sending her son Tommy away in the first place. The kid was a five-year-old in an 18-month-old's body. All children are stuck at the age they were when this weird event hit the town. Despite this unsettling concept, the judge holds firm. No one comes in and no one goes out.

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The real horror of Stillwater comes through in these interpersonal conflicts. The idea of a kid stuck in his body, while growing mentally is tragic and it's made even more so by the judge's actions. He's cold and absolutely ruthless in his endeavors to do what he thinks will protect the town. He has total control too, stifling out any and all rebellion. There's not much anyone can do about it either, as we see in this issue.

On the surface, the judge looks like your average guy. You'd see him at a barbeque cooking at hot dogs or coaching your kid's soccer team. He has an aura about him, like his presence commands any room he's in. When he first appears in this issue, his eyes are completely in shadow, giving off an ominous look at certainly foreshadows the events to come. Letterer Rus Wooton delivers the man's words in a commanding tone.

The thing is, you can see where the judge is coming from. He realizes that if word got out about what's going on in Stillwater, all kinds of people would descend on the town, destroying everything they hold dear. That makes for a very eerie feeling.

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To distinguish this issue from the previous ones, colorist Mike Spicer gives each page a faded look. The images have the appearance of old sun-bleached photographs. This snaps back to a more vibrant palette as we return to modern day at the end of the issue. These pages are heavy in orange, coinciding with the sunset. This serves as a metaphor for the closing of one chapter and the beginning of another.

There are still questions about what exactly is going on in Stillwater, but they don't need to be answered in order for the story to rocket forward. This concept has been explored in a fascinating manner. While that premise might be what got you in the door, it's this great personal drama between these characters that will grab hold of you and never let go. This is compelling stuff.

Grades:

Story: fourandahalfstars Cover
Buy from Amazon US.
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Buy from Amazon UK.
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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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