The cute and vivacious Shayde Whisper falls down an emotional rabbit hole when her small facade of a world crumbles beneath her, revealing unanswered questions, unusual new characters, and unique red magic.
Issue two of Emma Kubert’s fantastic StoneHeart starts in the same style as Issue one: a mostly black-and-white flashback scene where we learn more about the mysterious past life of Shayde Whisper. At age five, her father had since abandoned her, and her mother, a healer of the Paladin, would have also liked to abandon her because of the magical trouble she had caused her. Because of this statement from her mother, Shayde’s fit taps into her mythical rage and undeniably causes damage and casualties around her.
Jump back into the present-day, Shayde awakes in the morning (a jolt from memory, it appears), only to find that her blacksmith mentor, Arthur, is nowhere to be found. Feeling abandoned again, Shayde feels she is left to run the blacksmith shop on her own with no clue as to how to run the business side of the shop. Luck would have it; she gets a visit from someone who says that he would like to be her mentor and caregiver (much to her chagrin). This person is no other than Eldon Redwood, the same Eldon who, in the previous issue, helped the mysterious, villainous mythic that murdered Arthur…
The way that Kubert writes this story hooks you from the very beginning of each issue. Then going into the main story, her writing has a perfect balance of storytelling elements that anyone can enjoy: humor, romantic attraction, action, mystery, and drama. The flashback scenes have been phenomenal for a reader because we are getting glimpses of Shayde’s previous life and trying to piece it together while she’s also trying to figure out what’s going on with her. She also is playing the long game with the story as well. From the events in the previous issue, the reader may be expecting to learn more about the aftermath and its characters, but it will continue in a future case of the story. The story has a kind of “adult-themed innocence” to it, where you love the romantic interest developing between the two main characters (that will undoubtedly face a conflict of massive proportions) in a first-love sort of way. Still, then on the next page, they’re dropping swear words about the events happening to them. It’s an outstanding and fun balance that you don’t see too often in comics that usually leans excessively in one direction or another.
Kubert’s artwork here is stunning as well. She applies various techniques and coloring styles to tell the story excitingly and fascinatingly. The use of red in the black-and-white flashback scenes to highlight the strength of the power that Shayde has is a great way to communicate the intensity of the magic she possesses. She is also precise in putting the level of detail in ways that matter. She makes sure to highlight the red freckles and green eyes that Shayde has, no matter what the distance is between the viewer and the character. In contrast, she uses minimalist detail in scenery to give you an idea of the environment without distracting you from what’s important.
However, the dialogue choices in this story still leave one somewhat baffled by the decisions. Most of the dialogue boxes tend to be what you traditionally see in comics; a narrator box, a speech bubble, etc. But then, in other instances, you see dialogue words that exist outside of a bubble, and it isn’t entirely clear what the purpose or reason is for it. At first, it seemed like that decision was to add emphasis to the driving point of the story of the page at the time. Still, you get an entire conversation that is part of the dialogue that flows between speech bubbles. It makes one wonder if this decision has a significant meaning or if this is an artist at play, trying out different styles and techniques to make the page look more attractive. As confusing as that can be, it doesn’t distract one from enjoying the story, so it’s not detrimental to the larger picture.
StoneHeart #2 continues the story of the already-legendary Shayde Whisper on her way to discovering who she is in a story that is just pure, simple fun for anyone who loves a great fantasy mystery.
StoneHeart #2: This Mythic Cannot Be Abandoned
- Writing - 9/109/10
- Storyline - 9/109/10
- Art - 7.5/107.5/10
- Color - 8.5/108.5/10
- Cover Art - 9/109/10
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