OfStone2-CoverRGB72dpiEvery once in a while, I get the chance to check out an indie book by a local talent and feel the need to let you all know what I think of it. I know, this happens randomly and it feels like I haven’t done this in a long time, but it’s been known to happen on occasion. This is one such occasion as I feel the need to let you know all about Of Stone 2, a comic written and drawn by D.A. Bishop which is now available through Comixology.

In this follow up to Bishop’s original Of Stone oneshot (also available on Comixology), Gan, the leader of the People of Stone, is plagued by secrets he harbors and believes the answer to his problem lies with Rh’ees, an old friend who he has not seen in quite some time, so he sets out to see him. Rh’ees is a minotaur-like creature who’s psyche dances on the edge of genius and madness. In the past, Rh’ees has aided Gan in some very tough decisions. He’s also tried to kill Gan for trivial reasons. For this reason, both his wife and advisor warn him against visiting Rh’ees. But Gan is set on going to him for advice and is willing to take his chances…..chances that might not be in his favour.

Unlike the first Of Stone, Gan’s journey is not the only story covered in the comic. In fact, there’s quite a few subplots that are revealed. The world of men is visited in the opening pages of the book and we’re introduced to Gaiety, a woman who professes to be just a farm girl but is obviously a skilled warrior to be sure. In an altercation at a bar, she uses both her brains and braun to outfox a man of dishonourable intentions. This gets her noticed and asked to join an expedition to slay a monster.

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Both stories are left open ended and imply that there is more to come from the Of Stone universe. At the back of the book, Bishop confesses that he thought the original Of Stone would remain a single issue story that he would never return to. But with constant requests by those that purchased the first book, the idea of expanding the story rolled around in his head and eventually, he had a new tale to tell involving Gan and company.

When it comes to this new chapter, I find the expansion of the narrative quite interesting. The original book was from Gan’s perspective only, with captions of narration throughout that let you know exactly how you were suppose to see the world revealed before you. This chapter does not soley follow Gan, so we see scenes that are not privy to him.

But unlike Gan, these other characters do not put forth an internal monologue. We know very little of Gaiety, except that she’s smart and cunning. The son of Gan’s advisor, another new character, speaks his mind about what his intentions are but his motives are somewhat guarded. Even Rh’ees, who’s crazy rantings are anything but subtle, has a level of mystery to him. The only character who’s an open book is Gan, still giving us insight into his inner most thoughts. I enjoyed the choice to change narrative style based on Gan’s appearance. It gave us an anchor to the familiar in some scenes while we questioned how we should feel about characters in others.

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The penciling for this second story is on par with and at times surpasses the first Of Stone. The depth of shading given to the creatures of the book is very well done, making the characters’ texture jump off the page. The People of Stone look thick and heavy with each step they take. Rh’ees looks feral and meanacing with his size and wild coat of fur. They are visually interesting without going over the top with too many lines. There’s a simplicity to their look that makes them look both realistic and majestic.

The humans of the piece, while well drawn, needed to look a bit more different from the creatures in my opinion. They don’t by any means look like the “monsters” shown in the story but due to the fact that they don’t share any scenes with them, I feel that they should have been drawn “smaller”. When we meet Gaiety at the bar, both she and her unwanted suitor each have a substantial amount of girth to them. Looking at them made me feel like they’d probably be a match for Gan and his crew. I know that when they come in contact with them, there will most likely be a variation in size, but the overall physiques looked a bit too similar to the beasts they may end up hunting. This observation takes nothing away from the story, though, as it holds a strong narrative flow that carries over from the previous book.

If you’re looking for something that sports fantasy, adventure and complex characters, you can’t go wrong with checking out Of Stone 2. It’s available now through Comixology for just 99 cents. While you’re there, you can also pick up the first Of Stone for $1.99. Go check ’em out. You’re just two clicks and three bucks away from a land of enchantment and mystery!

If you’re gonna geek out, GEEK HARD!