Advanced Review: Styx & Stone #1
Writers: Adam Gragg & Darren G. DavisPencils: Matias Balsa & Stephano Cardoselli Colors: Matias Balsa & Willie Jiminez Letterer: Jaymes ReedCover Artist: Matias Balsa Publisher: Blue Water Productions Release Date: January 6th, 2011 Blue Water Productions famous for - or perhaps infamous for (hey, all pr is good pr, right?) - their Political Power and Bio line of comic books, steps into the supernatural genre with the very horrific and mysterious noir thriller, Styx and Stone #1. Full of extreme graphic language, gruesome depictions of murder and totally insane portrayals of inner turmoil - this is one intense book! Writers Gragg and Davis introduce us to the world of Detective Stone who appears to be either possessed or unwillingly paired with another being that goes by the name of Wyatt. As expected, the two are at odds with each other with Wyatt offering up all kinds of gross and humorous comments (depending on the situation) with Stone replying with his many expletives. I found the dynamic between the two to be most enjoyable as Detective Stone tries to balance his life outside his mind with the musings of a mad man inside. At times, Stone simply lashes out at Wyatt, again who is within, seemingly not caring what anybody thinks around him which leaves Stone to look the crazy! This beckons the question if all this is just taking place within Stone's own mind; however that doesn't seems to be the case as answers are given at the conclusion - where we get those insane portrayals of turmoil previously mentioned. Good stuff! The rest of the story sees Detective Stone called upon to investigate a pair of murders in a college dormitory aided by his new partner - a foxy (Wyatt would be giving us his own "foxy" descriptions right about now!) detective named Claire Sanchez. Further adding to the mystery, in addition to the enigmatic Wyatt who haunts Stone's life, are the way in which the victims have been killed. Again, Gragg and Davis do not give us much, but what they do, leaves you wanting more. Coupled with Gragg and Davis' heated writing is the art from Matias Balsa and Stephano Cardoselli - which definitely compliments the story quite well. Balsa and Cardoselli's art mirrors the writing as they provide the necessary mood, setting and emotion when called upon. At times Balsa and Cardoselli give us the typical detective noir style, maybe with a hint of Anime; however they also supply the wacky world of Wyatt as we saw with the Styx scene. They also give the needed detail as shown when Detective Sanchez barred her former's lover arm. The art actually reminded me of Guardians of the Galaxy Marvel artist Wes Craig, who I am a big fan of; Balsa and Cardoselli are a perfect fit. My only gripe would be the use of the many colored narrative boxes we see throughout which I found a bit confusing. Gragg and Davis use them to supply us with the "detective" information. Set atop a background, usually of a building to set the scene, we are provided back and forth dialogue - not narrative - of Detective Stone and what I assumed to be his boss or a fellow colleague (Sanchez or another cop). From there it would go into the regular panel with word balloons which did help to clarify things. Still, I found myself paging back and forth to see if I missed a conversation or to see who's colored box belonged to who - if anybody. Overall, I would say it didn't detract from this very engrossing story. Styx and Stone is Blue Water's first supernatural ongoing and I am going to be there for the ride. I really did enjoy it and can't wait to see where this goes. Filled with some really crazy artwork and just as fantastic writing, be sure to give this one a try - it's a real page turner!