StoneHeart is a new fantasy adventure in the vein of “Wynd” about an overly enthusiastic and over-confident apprentice blacksmith named Shayde Whisper. Once a member of the Circle of Might, her fellow paladins have decreed she must be exiled from their guild, lest she remain a great danger to herself and others. Shayde is essentially given a magical soft reboot and sent off to the provincial town of Lightspring Canyon. Naturally, her abilities could only remain suppressed so long and before long the shadows of her past threaten to shroud her new life in a darkness too powerful to comprehend.
Written, drawn, inked, colored, and lettered by Emma Kubert, StoneHeart is the kind of fantasy adventure that seem so much more epic from the little guy’s POV. It’s also a love letter to comics in general as Kubert handles every aspect of the book without ever losing herself in it – that’s not an easy feat, trust me. Shayde is a likable enough protagonist whose plucky narration avoids revealing anything about her past, creating a mystery of which both she and the reader are only vaguely aware. The rest of the cast, however, including the book’s would-be villain are far less developed. Additionally, the world-building is mostly vague, handled better by the frequent footnotes than anything the characters say or do.
Stylistically, the book is all over the place and it’s better for it. The opening prologue is devoid of any color save black and gray. The sketchy line art and streaky inks create the impression the pages exist in an old, pencil-smudged sketchbook. Everything and everyone seems to have texture and personality, and the rough look just makes it all the more enjoyable. I liken it to having a talented friend force their self-published comic upon you – it’s rough around the edges, and the world seems familiar but the ideas are sound. It’s far from perfect but there’s potential and you want to see where the story goes.