Ouch!

Publisher: Image & Skybound
Creator/Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Creator/Artist: Ramon K Perez
Colourist: Mike Spicer
Letterer: Rus Wooton

We return to Stillwater a year after the events of issue #10. Which means Stillwater is now in 2022. The future. However, it’s not exactly a rosy future. Galen’s governing of Stillwater leaves much to be desire. Daniel is still frustrated by his position in the town as a figurehead, so he’s doing target practice in his spare time.

We open with his target practice and what’s really interesting is the fact there are two near identical panels with just a tiny difference as he talks to our ex-sheriff Tanya abut his frustration. The slight change in expression really makes it work. The two of them are clearly hanging out quite a bit as Tanya has been teaching Daniel about shooting. The bales of hay they have been using to shot out also providing a nice backdrop to their conversation.

It seems that Galen’s reign is not much better than the old one. There’s still fear ruling the town. Ted is Galen’s enforcer and he’s not exactly moral. It’s interesting to see that Tanya, once so ruthless, now seems be more willing to go against the establishment and try and do the right thing. Interestingly her character design is still quite sheriff like with her shirt and trousers more or less the same as she used to wear in her capacity as sheriff. But there’s no badge adorning her clothes yet she still has that air of law enforcement.

Galen also has a great character design. Despite his seeming previous victory now he is in charge he still has the air of a pouty child expressed perfectly through the art. He is still the kid who thinks a treehouse is a better place to talk business than the office. He’s not exactly the benevolent leader, in many ways his immaturity, despite his actual age, makes it worse.

For there are some serious issues to be dealt with. The guy who drops off the supplies is getting wise to the fact something is not quite right in Stillwater which will have some not good consequences. The really nicely drawn map off Simford County shows how close Stillwater is to another local town – Coldwater. It’s interesting to see more of the world, or at least get acknowledgement of it, as so much of Stillwater so far has been quite insularly focused on the town. For good reason.

Outside though is Laura, Daniel’s mother, who is never far from his thoughts. There’s some really nice lettering with what appear to be torn pieces of a journal as we get a window into Daniel’s thoughts. At the same time there are some evocative ‘Bangs’ as Daniel vents his frustration through target practice. It’s a really nice illustration of how frustrated Daniel feels.

One last point about the art, the bit where there’s a meeting at the treehouse? With the sun coming through the canopy. The lighting is nice. Really, really nice.

Overall Stillwater #11 further builds on previous issues. This issue has some really good character work paired with really good character art. I hope we get to return to Stillwater soon because the last page sets in motion what could be another event that shakes the town.

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