Skybound/Image Comics 2020
Written by Chip Zdarsky
Illustrated by Ramon K. Perez
Coloured by Mike Spicer
Lettered by Rus Wooton
Daniel West has returned to Stillwater, but his homecoming is anything but happy! What secret is the town hiding from the outside world? And can Daniel save his mother from meeting her fate within The Park?
The first issue here was something to behold, I mean what a hell of a great, twisted and shocking issue it was! So there was a lot to live up to with this issue and knowing Chip I knew he would bring it. This series is definitely twisted and bizarre and yet so damn fascinating and hypnotic so that we cannot put it down. All this and we’re only two issues in! This might be his greatest work to date and if it keeps going I am looking forward to this wild and crazy ride. The way that we see this book's structure and how the layers within the story move forward it becomes as cerebral as it is unnerving.
I am a huge fan of the way that this is being told. The story & plot development we see through the sequence of events unfolding and how the reader learns information is extremely well laid out. I found myself riveted to the story and it engaged my mind in more ways than I had expected it to and that’s how you know something is extraordinarily good. The character development that we see here is just the tip of the iceberg and the fact that what we see on the surface isn’t necessarily what’s underneath makes for a fascinating character study. It almost allows the reader to become an amatuer shrink or psychologist and that too adds a little extra to the book. The pacing is superb and as we see it take us through the pages revealing the town’s eccentric characters it is easy to see how everything works together to create the story’s ebb & flow.
Part of me has to wonder how twisted the mind of a writer is and can be to come up with not only the premise of a story but also to create this kind of diverse group of personalities. There has to be some real skill, talent, uniqueness to how the process is done and what we see only reaffirms why I will read pretty much everything Chip writes.
I really like the interior artwork here. The linework is sensational and how we see the strength through the varying weights that create the detail work we see is extraordinary. The faces have these unique appearances and I’m impressed by that because it’s the attention in creating them that showcases some real forethought and skill. Backgrounds are being utilised judiciously and it really works to that advantage. It brings us depth perception, a sense of scale and the overall sense of size and scope to the story while it also enhances the moments and creates this great mood, tone and feel. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show a remarkable eye for storytelling. The colour work is gorgeous! How we see the various hues and tones within the colours being utilised to create the highlights, shading and shadow work is sensational.
This is so much more than a mere story and I have to say that what these folks are doing here is crafting the modern twisted fairy tale life. To be so far out of society that films and television are nowhere to be found and everyone in town is gifted with this immortality is a contradiction in and of itself. Which of course makes for some of the finest reading around. This is the year's biggest hit series and leading into next year this will be the new standard.