• Baraka

Stillwater #1 Review - Death is Just the Start of the Journey...

Chip Zdarsky (Writer) • Ramon K Perez (Pencils)

Mike Spicer (Colorist) • Image Comics (Publisher)

I'm not sure why Stillwater caught my eye while browsing the Comichub App. Aside from Chip Zdarsky being the writer I didn't know what to expect from the project. I didn't even realize it was a horror title when I preordered it.

Stillwater #1 follows Daniel West. He's a normal guy that's down on his luck. He isn't really a people person but tries anyway. As a notorious introvert, I can totally relate to this character. After losing his job and later his dignity in a bar fight he receives a letter from his Great Grand Aunt to visit the town of Stillwater and obtain a family inheritance.

Things get really weird really quick as there aren't any signs providing direction to the town and none of the locals seem to be able to provide details about Stillwater. The situation gets even weirder when they arrive in town just in time so see a kid get pushed off a building and seemingly walk it off moments later.

Daniel and Tony are a couple of down to earth and relatable guys. You probably know people like them or share qualities with them. When I started reading Stillwater I almost wrote it off because the first half was so down to earth. You'd never guess that the story had a supernatural angle based on the opening third and when things get weird it's kind of jarring because the first half is so grounded in regular life situations.

The mundanity extends to the art style. Perez draws everything as completely normal and plays everything straight even as it becomes obvious that things aren't right with this situation. It's a nice and subtle way to lull the reader before putting our leads through the meatgrinder.

I gave a lot of the first half of the issue in this review. I won't spoil the ending as it acts as a cliffhanger and also establishes the direction of the series going forward. There is a major shift about midway through the book which immediately sold me on the project. There's a lot more to the town of Stillwater than you'd suspect and even then you'd probably be wrong.

The issue is fun and gets shockingly violent after the guys arrive in Stillwater. It's a tale of two halves and once the veil is lifted you're in for a treat especially if you're a fan of horror and suspense. I can't see anyone reading this issue and not coming back for seconds.

Rating: 8.5/10