Written by: Chip Zdarsky, Illustrated by: Ramon K Perez, Colours by: Mike Spicer, Lettering by: Rus Wooton.
It’s been one year since the Judge was killed and Galen stepped up to be leader of the town. Laura is still outside the town while Daniel is inside, yet both are prisoners. If one does anything, the other dies. There have been many changes around the town in the year, including people coming in, which means others die, to keep the population the same. It’s obvious that the town is no better off without the Judge, so Daniel is now taking target practice from Tanya, as they both feel they can’t take much more. Is this a case of "better the devil you know"?
So it’s back to Stillwater, the cursed town whose population cannot grow old. Again a very strange issue, as the last made me believe that it was the final in the series. This issue sets up a whole array of new challenges for the population. Despite them having the same overall problems—of one unjust dictatorial ruler—this still feels fresh, as Galen is presented as an even harsher ruler. Yet we are already pushing through this part of the story very quickly, as Daniel and Laura are already thinking about what they can do to free everyone from the tyranny. We also have the new sheriff and Ted looking to usurp the authority of Galen. This I feel is coming due to an obvious example, being after the delivery driver notices something strange, which includes Dina and Dale. Dale has just been introduced to the town and isn’t fitting in, so Sheriff Kreegs (Ted's commanding officer in the Marines) and Ted disagree with Galen on how the situation should be handled. Which leads to one of the best 2 panels in the book.
Even though there's no dialogue, it really speaks to how both characters are feeling. Galen looking down from the treehouse on the sheriff as he is in the position of power, yet both look stern and unwavering when it comes to their thoughts. The disdain coming from the sheriff I feel comes from a position of age, where he feels that Galen, despite more than likely being the same age, is acting like a child, which again is depicted by him in the treehouse. This is why I feel that this is the best side by side panel of the book, as it has so many layers to it.
So despite the town facing the same threat, it really does feel fresh; this could also be because of the building mutiny from the sheriff's office and also the potential insurrection from Daniel and maybe Tanya. As these kind of things either never happened under the Judge or they happened and he was able to deal with them due to his experience, which Galen is lacking.
The art and colours by Ramon K Perez and Mike Spicer are great. They have been consistent throughout the series and it continues to be at a high standard. One thing that has made this issue stand out more was the silent panels. As I showed with the first example, the art is doing so much when it comes to telling the story. I have another example here, where we have seen panels like this before but with the Judge. So straight away the comparison is that Galen is the new Judge. He’s the one with the authority in the town, however the difference is that the Judge was a larger presence in the panel. Which makes sense, as he was an “adult” whereas Galen is a “child.” This is shown by their actions through the book, in which Galen is less accommodating and more of a dictator than the Judge ever was. So the panel reflects this by suggesting that the Judge was the better ruler, it seems.
This book really hits home when it comes to the old proverb: "better the devil you know". The team are making this such a fun and thought provoking book, that I’m still enjoying each issue and I’m excited for the future.
Stillwater issue 11 will be released from Image Comics on 10th November from your Local Comic Shop as well as comixology
Andrew Carr was blessed to grow up watching the animated series of Batman, X-Men, and his favorite, Spider-Man.This started his dive into the comics world, which resulted in meeting his amazing cosplaying wife Imogen. They live in England with their Sinister Six dogs.