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Stillwater: The Escape #1

Comicscore Index
Generally favorable ratings

Based on 4 critic ratings.


They say that no one ever dies in Stillwater and no one gets to leave…

…but even for those who have freed themselves of the town, is there truly any escaping Stillwater?

In this groundbreaking extra-length special, CHIP ZDARSKY & RAMÓN K PÉREZ have assembled a dream team of acclaimed creators to answer all your BIGGEST questions before the final chapter of STILLWATER begins!

Publication Date
Kindle Edition
Print Length
40 pages
Amazon ASIN

4 Critic Ratings & Reviews from:
  • 87

    The Super Powered Fancast

    STORY 1: This story delivers on everything the series is about and gives some great insight into the simmering feelings beneath the surface as well as the tactics being used to keep the population in line. The art is great and beautifully articulates the feelings of despair the characters are feeling.

    STORY 2: An interesting, somber and serious story that has a great emotional core. The art is wonderfully detailed throughout.

    STORY 3: A sweet and entertaining story that has some great character development and charm. The visuals are great throughout and complement the story beautifully.

  • 80


    With the series about to enter its final arc, Stillwater: The Escape paints a grim picture of how the story will pan out for the inhabitants of the town where no one can die. While this one-shot lacks variety in the short tales it tells, it tries to shed some light on the reality of immortality.

  • 80

    Stillwater has been rushing headlong into upheaval as a community predicated upon never changing confronts the inevitable paradoxes of that concept. Amidst all of the death and revolution, it’s possible to lose track of the sentimental and subtle human elements that were so evident in the first few issues. Stillwater: The Escape, an anthology collecting three tales from Stillwater lore, serves to balance the scales. It features a handful of recognizable characters telling stories of past town members who supposedly escaped around a uniquely haunting fire. Each tale features a different creative team, but they all fit perfectly into the sensibilities and setting Zdarsky and Perez have developed. “Live to Tell” and “Matrimony” are clear highlights, although all three stories and their framing device are well told. They interrogate conservatism in specific contexts, questioning how the desire to preserve and protect what is can often diminish individuals and relationships. The lack of certainty about each tale’s ending ensures they resonate because the focus remains on character’s needs, not their outcomes. However, it’s difficult not to anticipate one or two of these tales reemerging as Stillwater continues to grow.

  • 70

    Multiversity Comics

    “Stillwater the Escape” #1 is a one-shot book that apparently shines light on burning questions that fans of the series might have about specific characters. If you haven’t been following the series, or don’t know the general premise of the book, nothing will really make sense to you. To an avid reader it probably serves as an insightful addition to the canon; and to someone picking up a Stillwater book for the first time this would probably serve more as a moody anthology that allude to themes more than plot.

    Creator and writer Chip Zdarsky sets up the book with a brief intro to the general theme of the book by using the dichotomy of fire as a metaphor for the dichotomies within us. He points out fire destroys us but also brings out stories that leave us to wonder. He also reminds us that stories themselves are at times simply a form of escapism.

    The idea of escaping serves as the primary thematic driver for each story that follows. Writer and illustrator Jason Loo starts off with ‘The prisoner’ -an ode to a man who suffers torture and mutilation over and over again because he loves his wife and child and will do anything to be with them. This shows that he is inability to escape his own love for his family that compels him to try and try again.. Thereby trapping him in a hell of his own making. He is a prisoner of his own love. The most common thread of all three stories in the book is that Stillwater is a town that turns hope despair, time and time again.

    Illustrators Jason Loo, Adrew Wheeler, and Ethan Young compliment each other well. Aesthetically their styles work together in a way that has the least interruption in visual continuity. All three artists render backgrounds with little detail that allows colorist Mike Spicer to apply his unifying touch. In each story we see a similar pattern of shifting orange, blue, and green colors filling the sky and buildings behind the characters. This allows you to feel like you are centered in one reality.

    Fun if you follow the series, but confusing if you don’t.

More From Stillwater: The Escape (2022)

About the Author: Chip Zdarsky

In the ever-evolving landscape of comic books, Chip Zdarsky emerges as a figure of immense creativity and versatility. Known for infusing his narratives with both humor and emotional depth, Zdarsky has charted a course through the comic book universe that is as diverse as it is compelling. From the groundbreaking humor of “Sex Criminals” to the gritty streets of Marvel’s “Daredevil,” his journey is a testament to a talent that refuses to be pigeonholed.

The man behind the pseudonym, Steve Murray, became a household name with “Sex Criminals,” co-created with Matt Fraction. This series broke new ground with its audacious blend of comedy, romance, and the supernatural. It was here that Zdarsky’s knack for balancing wit with genuine storytelling first shone, earning the series critical acclaim and a dedicated following.

Zdarsky’s portfolio, however, spans a broad spectrum. His unique voice has breathed new life into “Howard the Duck,” where he explored themes of identity and belonging, and his run on Marvel’s “Daredevil” has been celebrated for its moral complexity and rich character development. But Zdarsky’s talents are not limited to writing. As an artist, he has lent his distinct visual style to numerous projects, enhancing his narratives with expressive artistry and dynamic visuals.

In recent years, Zdarsky has ventured into the shadowy alleys of Gotham City, bringing his distinctive flair to the world of Batman. His work on Batman titles has quickly garnered attention for its fresh take on the Dark Knight, blending the character’s traditional brooding intensity with new layers of psychological depth. Through stories that delve into Batman’s complex psyche and the morally ambiguous landscape of Gotham, Zdarsky adds to the rich tapestry of Batman lore, proving yet again his ability to navigate and innovate within established universes.

Beyond his impressive body of work, Zdarsky’s engagement with the comic book community — through social media, conventions, and insightful industry commentary — has made him a beloved figure among fans and fellow creators. His contributions have not only earned him awards and nominations but have also solidified his role as a pivotal voice in contemporary comics.

As Chip Zdarsky continues to explore the darker corners of Gotham City, his journey exemplifies the power of storytelling in comic books — where humor meets heroism, and the human condition is explored in the flicker of a bat signal against the night sky. For those drawn to the art of comics, Zdarsky’s work offers a masterclass in creativity, inviting readers into worlds both wildly imaginative and intensely real.

[Latest Update: April 8, 2024]