Publisher: Image & Skybound
Creator/Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Creator/Artist: Ramon K Perez
Colourist: Mike Spicer
Letterer: Rus Wooton
For those who wanted to know what happened to Daniel when he was taken to the Stillwater version of Neverland, well this issue tells us and opens up a whole new host of storytelling possibilities. Not only that we see more of Sheriff Tanya who stumbled across the aftermath of the town hall incident. These two stories intersect in a way that means that mid-way through this arc there are some serious plot changes afoot.
The horror aspect of Stillwater is not necessarily in what happened to the adults but what happened to the children. Children who can never grow up physically but mentally whose minds are trapped in bodies that are limited to whatever their child bodies are capable of, which is not a lot. There is one example of a very young baby who isn’t physically capable of speech so not even the children know if the baby has a developed mind as there’s no way to communicate with them. A pretty horrifying thought indeed. The children are going to be driving things forward and all they want is to grow up.
Daniel was one of them but his mother got him out, but still he is reluctant to help as he doesn’t want to act without thinking. A resolution which doesn’t last the issue shall we say. Daniel is in a weird position. These children were his peers but now he’s aged beyond them, simply by doing that he’s done something they desperately desire. Which is why they need his help.
Also needing help is Tanya. The judge might have not sentenced her (and Faith the innocent witness dragged along) to death but Ted has other ideas. Tanya though, as we established last issue, is very much a survivor. So is Daniel, in a different way, so it is no surprise that this issue brings both of their plots together with some typical physical action but in a very natural way. Props to Chip Zdarsky’s plotting.
The art as always really helps set the tone. It’s not easy to depict a baby whose mind might be a bit broken but Ramon K Perez manages it. The characters are always so expressive and the closeups of said expressions really have an impact. The focus on the characters within the art really works well with the writing. At the end of the day this is a story about people. Not to say that the art for the town isn’t also excellent. The treehouse village where the kids hang out is really well realised especially with the use of shadows.
I’ll also say the lettering is excellently expressive.
Overall this issue sets up the next part of the arc and I am intrigued as to how much of the future will be the children now they seem to be moving forward. They are suitably creepy, horrific and intriguing, Galen has been unsettling since the first issue but by now we can see he has some real depth. I want to see what lies next for the weird old town of Stillwater.