Writer Chip Zdarsky’s and artist Ramon K. Perez’s new horror comic Stillwater is a bizarre, confusing, head-scratching, curiosity-filled wonderland. The story follows Daniel West, a designer fired from his job after shoving a co-worker. A few days later, he receives a message to come to the town of Stillwater to collect an undisclosed amount of money from his great grand aunt, Margaret Smith. In true horror fashion, this sends him on a road trip he’ll wind up wishing he never took.
The creep factor, unpredictability, and questions continue to pile up in Stillwater #2. It picks up from the day after the insane events that closed out the first book where one of Daniel’s friends is killed right in front of him. But as clueless as the plot keeps the reader, it does offer one hefty tidbit of information: the people in Stillwater don’t age, can’t die, and can heal from injury. Which sounds more like a paradise than a tragedy.
But it’s the sadistic nature Zdarsky gives his characters that immediately remind the reader that Stillwater is not somewhere you want to stay. Many examples of this theory show up in the story, like Ted, a hot-tempered cop who will kill anybody to keep the town and its abilities a secret. During the second issue, we are also introduced to a bunch of new characters who all play a different role within the town. We’re not given much of a backstory on any of them, but that works to keep the mystery going.
Overall, Stillwater #2 feels like an episode of The Twilight Zone meets Tales From the Crypt. A lot of noteworthy potential for this series. Aside from that, we can look forward to learning more about Daniel and many of the other characters. The first chapter was crazy and the second takes that crazy and runs with it.
The art not only complements the story, but also fleshes out the animalistic nature of human beings incredibly well. Some excellent rage-induced moments occur throughout the book that are executed brilliantly. Aside from that, colorist Mike Spicer brings it all together with his soft and close-to-the-touch color choices. And the captions and word bubbles by Rus Wooton are placed to perfection, never disturbing the imagery.
Stillwater #2 is such a fun and weird ride. The pacing, script, and artwork are all dynamite. There are a lot of layers to pull back on Stillwater, and I think Zdarsky and Perez are just getting started.
Like what we do here at AIPT? Consider supporting us and independent comics journalism by becoming a patron today! In addition to our sincere thanks, you can browse AIPT ad-free, gain access to our vibrant Discord community of patrons and staff members, get trade paperbacks sent to your house every month, and a lot more. Click the button below to get started!