Written by: Chip Zdarsky, Illustrated by: Ramon K Perez, Colours by: Mike Spicer, Lettering by: Rus Wooton.
After the town hall blew up, Daniel and his mum Laura are on the run, knowing full well that they will be blamed for the carnage. Meanwhile, the judge slowly heals from his wounds, as Ted and his marine squad move in to restore “peace” to the town. Daniel and Laura have a difficult choice ahead, do they run from the town and its special gift, where they will be found and then silenced, or do they stay embrace immortality and fight back.
We are now 7 issues in, and we have gone from the morals and ethics about someone living forever, to something more like an action or horror film. This may seem like a drastic change in pace, but it’s one that has been bubbling under the surface for some time. It’s been clear through the series that the people are unhappy with the judge and his authoritarian way of helping the community. So when you look past the principled discussion on what it means to be human if you live forever, you can see the rebel rising up to challenge what is a dictatorship at the top level.
Another example of how Zdarsky is perfectly encompassing the morals of the community is with Daniel and Laura’s discussion on the ramifications of the town hall being blown up. Laura states when you live forever, that holes, scratches, and wounds can mend, but damage to property is serious. She says that for the town to rebuild would be a monumental task. This just proves the point that as they are immortal, they have a backwards view of society: property means more than people. The fact that they have to work at rebuilding something, whereas if someone is shot or stabbed, shows they have been desensitised to it ,as these can heal very quickly.
This one panel I believe sums up that point completely, that property destruction is an act of war, but inflicting pain on people is seen as nothing at all. When the Marines come into town, there is a stand-off which turns into a gun fight. Ted's old sergeant shoots the sheriff in the head, turning everyone on each other. So while there is chaos behind him, he just stands there as if it’s nothing. It emphasises that they just don’t care about human life anymore.
Ramon K Perez’s art has been consistently good throughout the series. I’ve enjoyed the retro '80s feel to it, and that there isn’t a shying away from blood and violence, which is necessary to be able to tell the story of people who don’t care about wounding or killing people. I like that it’s been a consistently high quality throughout, with no dips as far as I can remember. Despite not being as “polished” as I would normally like in a comic, I find it complements the story very well, and I’ve grown to like the style.
Overall, Stillwater is asking some interesting questions about humanity and the mental state of people who can’t handle the gift. If this can be called a gift. To others it may be a curse. The ethical debate is still alive even within a more action -packed issue, which is why I enjoy this series so much. Zdarsky and the team have created a book that is thought-provoking, action-packed, with horror elements. To be able to do all these things at once, just shows why Zdarsky is in my opinion one of the best writers around today.
Stillwater issue 7 was released on 19th May from your local comic shop as well as comixology