New friends come at a price. Shayde Whisper is thrilled with her newfound friendship with the handsome Eldon Redwood, but with the ever-growing presence of the mysterious voice and powers, this "friendship" may be sending her in the wrong direction.
Up to this point, the mysterious powers and past of Shayde Whisper had remained somewhat of a mystery. We knew generally what she was capable of and what kind of childhood she had. In this issue, we learn more about her powers and what they meant for the people of Athea. Shayde possessed red magic, an energy associated with heroism and peace. But Shayde’s actions as a result of her upbringing and environment have not brought a sense of peace to the people of Athea, so the council decided to try to help raise her to be the best version of herself with discipline and training before they decide her fate.
In the present day, Shayde is still struggling with physical and mental conflicts. Her physical powers are starting to manifest, and she realizes she doesn’t remember much before arriving in Lightspring Canyon. Meanwhile, she and Eldon Redwood grow fonder of each other, but Shayde still feels that Eldon may not be all that he seems as a more sinister plot is set into motion…
The story, at this point, is starting to heat up. The last two issues did a great job of worldbuilding and setting up a broader account of Shayde’s background and environment, whereas this issue brings more clarity behind what’s at stake and where the story is going. Kubert does a great job of letting these issues scaffold the story with each issue, letting the latest one raise the stakes higher than the last. Although the story is written at a level geared toward all ages (or at least 7+), the romance is written for a pre-teen/teenage reader, and the action/violence is set at that level or higher as well. It’s a mixed audience readership that seems to make the story a little unbalanced but is overall enjoyable that most people can pull something out to enjoy. Whether it’s the mythos, the romantic relationship, the mystery, or magic, there’s something that the reader can enjoy.
The artwork remains consistent with each issue. The opening pages are down in a drawing style and monochromatic black-and-white (with the occasional red) to represent that the story is a flashback of Shayde’s past to give the reader a glimpse of what’s going on in the story. The art style is not one that most people think of in terms of traditional comic book art and may at first be distracting, thinking that the art is unfinished. But by this issue, the reader can appreciate that this is the purpose of the art style in the flashbacks. Just like a memory, some of the details are blurred and unfinished, hazy at times, which is a success for this story.
Another feature of Kubert’s art here is Shayde herself. She is not drawn to unrealistic standards but rather a person whose features are authentic and relatable. As a person with physical strength, her appearance reflects the body type of someone with that strength.
As with previous issues, the dialogue and narration boxes are still a struggle for the reader. Although there are a couple of great uses of having the text break out of the speech bubble to demonstrate emotion, it is still unclear why some dialogue is in speech bubbles, and others are floating in the air. Although distracting, it does not deter one from enjoying the story.
Just like Shayde Whisper, the story finds itself to be with all of its strengths and flaws that we can love and appreciate and continues to get better and more exciting with each new issue.
Stoneheart #3: Villain Or Hero?
- Writing - 7/107/10
- Storyline - 8/108/10
- Art - 8.5/108.5/10
- Color - 9/109/10
- Cover Art - 9.5/109.5/10