Words/Art/Letters: Emma Kubert
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: April 12th, 2023
Stoneheart #2 continues Shayde Whisper’s story, as her life in a new city abruptly takes a sharp turn after the events of last issue. Now on her own, she’s visited by Eldon Redwood, who begins winning her over with his charm. Little does Shayde know that Eldon is really an agent of the Queen, charged with monitoring her and keeping her powers under control.
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We get more glimpses into Shayde’s power in Stoneheart #2. The issue starts with a black and white flashback to her childhood (similar to last issue) and we see the first time her powers erupt. These prologues to each issue have the feel of a dark fairy tale, with their stark monotone color occasionally interrupted by splashes of red (usually from blood). Her powers seem to manifest when she’s agitated or angry, and she gets angry a lot, especially with her mentor Arthur missing. I wish we’d had more time to see Shayde living solo, fending for herself in the city, continuing to dazzle the locals with her blacksmithing skills and spending every free moment searching for Arthur. Shayde is a fun character, as volatile as nitro-glycerin but also downright adorable at times.
The bulk of the issue has Shayde meeting Eldon Redwood for the first time, and even though he has good moments (including one scene where he gallantly stands up to two hulking bullies to protect an unconscious Shayde), I found him to be a pretty dull character. He’s a handsome rogue similar to Robin Hood or Captain Hook from the ”Once Upon a Time” TV series. It’s frustrating watching him corral and manipulate Shayde when she could easily body slam him and do whatever she damn well wants, but at least Shayde never seems to trust him 100%. I hope she always has that cynicism towards him and they don’t become yet another romantic couple where one partner dulls the flames of the other. The most intriguing aspect of the book is Shayde’s mysterious powers. Does it come from something in her lineage? Are they really just spellcraft that she’s wielding and she’s really just a powerful Mythic? I look forward to seeing the mystery unraveled over future issues.
Emma Kubert’s art on Stoneheart #2 is the most enjoyable aspect of the book. Her panel layouts are innovative and her alternating use of black and white with splashes of color in the flashbacks gives Shayde’s past a storybook feel. Her characters are wonderfully expressive and the art enhances both the humorous and dramatic moments.
Stoneheart #2 has fantastic art throughout and a great main character in Shayde, but the introduction of Eldon Redwood, who’s a very bland character and pretty much dominates the whole issue, set the book back for me. Hopefully he’ll grow on me in future issues.