Review - Stillwater #1 (@ActionLabDanger)

"Did you hear that?"

Things that go bump in the night are typically our imaginations getting the best of us. When something is more than just our imagination though, that's when things start to get real. A large, mysterious lake is a great setting for things to get real in Stillwater #1 from Action Lab Danger Zone. The issue is written by C.W. Cooke, illustrated by K. Wroten and lettered by Warren Montgomery.

Set in a small town with a dark secret, the story follows Bill, a recent transplant in town, and a paranoid cop named Jude. As the duo uncover the mysteries abound, they get more than they bargained for. In the depths of the local pond, a creature beyond explanation lurks and tragedy is sure to follow.

Off the bat, Stillwater #1 feels uneasy. Cooke does a great job of setting the mood up well, largely by relying on the mystery surrounding a lake on a farm. Bill is new to town and is trying to find his way as a transplant, yet despite his best efforts the town seems to have something else to say. Jude is an interesting addition to the story as well, considering he's clearly a persistent investigator who knows there's a truth to be uncovered. The script itself is relatively simplistic, but that doesn't prevent Cooke from still managing to cram in tons of intrigue in the sleepy little town setting.

While the story feels pretty concise, Wroten's art feels more loose. Wroten's approach relies on illustrating characters with features that resemble caricatures in some ways, emphasizing exaggerated facial features and body movements. It adds a surreal terror to the town and events that helps bolster the eeriness of the story. And since the comic is all black and white, the enigma that is the lake feels even more terrifying because its illustrated as a massive, black hole basically. It all comes together in a quite unsettling way.

Stillwater #1 plays on the notion that the still waters of the lake are anything but still underneath. Bill is learning a lot about the new town he's arrived in, yet it's what he learns from Jude that will likely bear the most in terms of revelations. Cooke's script is straightforward and doesn't hesitate in establishing the mood. Wroten's illustrations are abstract and provide another level of suspense to the story. Stillwater #1 is an interesting first issue that sets the table for a mystery that may be steeped in the supernatural.

Stillwater #1 is available now on comiXology.