Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artists: Ramón K. Pérez & Mike Spicer
Letterer: Rus Wooton
Chip Zdarsky has an impressive resume as a writer so far. He has proven himself capable of writing good drama, superhero stories, and of course, humor. He hasn’t really stepped into the horror genre yet, but all of that changes with Stillwater. Stillwater is published by Image Comics and is created by Zdarsky, Ramón Pérez, Mike Spicer, and Rus Wooton.
Daniel recently lost his job after a minor altercation with a colleague, then gets into more trouble later on at a club. The protagonist seems to have a good heart but has an issue with controlling his temper and staying out of fights. He receives a strange letter informing him of the death of a distant relative and is told to go to the town of Stillwater to discuss an inheritance. Without much thought, he departs with his best friend.
Stillwater is solicited as a horror series, but the debut is pretty light on all things scary. The first issue focuses on introducing readers to Daniel and his close friend. Zdarsky doesn’t rush into the series premise, and instead spends about half of the issue outside of the titular town of Stillwater. The heavy exposition will likely pay off though, as readers will get to know Daniel well and will likely feel closer to him throughout the story. The excitement starts to ramp up during the second half of the issue as strange things happen around the two pals. Very little horror occurs, but it is all still intriguing stuff.
Ramón Pérez brings a nice style to Stillwater. The characters look great, with bold lines and tons of emotion bringing them to life. The action moves smoothly across the pages making everything easy for readers to follow. The backgrounds are simple, mostly lacking the detail that the characters have. Stillwater #1 doesn’t have the dark, oppressive tone that horror fans might be used to. Some of that is due to Zdarsky’s script, but most of it is because of the style that Pérez and colorist Mike Spicer bring.
The colors are mostly bright. The shading and lighting are fantastic. Key moments are emphasized thanks to changes in color palettes, which sometimes are only used in a single panel. Scenes that take place during night time also look great. The final few pages are dark but still colored in a way that its easy to understand everything. Rus Wooton’s letters succeed at bringing energy to the dialogue.
Stillwater #1 doesn’t throw tons of horror at the reader. Instead, it is a strong introduction that brings the stakes and great characters. The premise is great, but it remains to be seen if everything will be executed well enough. For now, this is a series worth checking.
Stillwater #1 doesn't throw tons of horror at the reader. Instead, it is a strong introduction that brings the stakes and great characters. The premise is great, but it remains to be seen if everything will be executed well enough. For now, this is a series worth checking.