Anything that’s got Garth Ennis’ name attached to it means you know you’re in for some messed up stuff. Three issues in, Stitched has managed to get that point across. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been able to do much else.
There’s little doubt that Ennis faithful won’t enjoy the young series so far. However, if you happen to fall into that category, you might be a little disappointed with the slow, and relatively uneventful pace of this issue. Compared to previous issues, there isn’t much action in this issue. Most of Mike Wolfer’s story is centered around the capture of one of the group’s adversaries and the ensuing interrogation that is used to reveal plenty of backstory.
Sadly, the background info is pretty bland and hard to follow, especially if you’ve missed one of the previous issues. The most interesting thing they touch on is how the “Stitched” are created, which is also a little bit underwhelming; unless they go into greater detail later on,. The creation of the book’s monsters are coined off on nothing other than black magic. As it stands now, it leaves a little more to be desired.
Wolfer’s art isn’t very impressive in this series either. Characters continue to lack any really distinguishable features and the faces could use more lines to define expression. Because of this, it’s just really hard to pay much attention to or differentiate between the book’s major players. The color palette is very earthy, which makes sense considering the location of the story. However, with soldiers wearing desert camouflage and the Stitched being draped in beige cloth, it can be a little difficult making sense of some of the action. Perhaps that was by design, but it comes off fairly confusing.
The word balloons are a little confusing as well and the dialogue can be wordy at times. But some of the exchanges between the soldier are actually a bit funny which provides a welcome reprieve from all of the long passages of dull dialogue. The ending of the issue was weak as well, especially after divulging such a large amount of information during the course of the book.
Since there isn’t as much action in this issue, we don’t have as many dramatic elements in the layout. The opening scene plays with some interesting panels that move the little action that is in the issue along nicely. The ending panels also do a great job in conveying the tortuous ritual by which the Stitched are created. Everything in between though, is pretty much forgettable.
I’ve enjoyed Stitched a good amount so far, but this issue may be too out of sync with what most are used to from Ennis. Unfortunately, poor pacing in this issue exacerbated other problems in the book. I don’t expect the series to be troubled by a lot of these problems for long, but certain things have bugged me from the beginning.