Stjepan Šejić’s Sunstone is a comic that’s impressed from the first panel of the first page so it’s with a mixed sense of high and low that it all comes to an end with this fifth book.
While the first volume got the ball gag rolling and introduced us to the unique relationship between Lisa & Ally, the second volume brought the reality of things in the BDSM world, the third broadened the character roster helping develop the central character dynamic further and the fourth volume brought the hints of jealousy & doubt that rock any relationship. The big gamble and excruciating wait for the fifth volume was instantly eased when it arrived and it soon became evident that we were being set-up for a finale……we just didn’t know how that was all going to play out.
This volume itself sees Ally & Lisa trying to cope with a separation and while we’ve seen Ally take the obviously dominant position up until now – it’s a role-reversal in this one as Lisa throws herself into her writing as a way to reflect her inner conflict & get her true feelings across without being too direct. The sexuality is confined to the extracts from her book so this one does feel like it’s firmly focused on the people behind that and the human element that that represents is something this story has had from the beginning.
The hurt, the humour and the overall heart is a combination that we don’t really get enough of these days and while this may well be as far away from a spandex-clad superhero as you can get…..it does just as much for the comic book medium as it does for it’s own story. Stjepan is an amazing writer and the merest glimpse of any pages from this book will confirm just how stunning his artwork is but the combination of all that into a book like this helps elevate it onto a new level.
The sexual part has never been anything other than natural and while the BDSM world is not something everyone is involved with you have to take that as part of the complete story that’s on offer here. It’s got everything going for it and while I’m as open-minded as the next guy/girl that’s not a necessity for taking the plunge on Sunstone. The sex isn’t “in your face” and when it’s read in context it’s just as natural an element as the fact it’s about a same-sex couple which any well-adjusted person should be able to accept. The love shines throughout those five volumes and the dominant element proves to be the “Romance” as opposed to the “Erotica” part of it’s classification.
I’m sad to see this end but it’s such a well-rounded run across those five volumes that it’s a title that I have & will continue to read & re-read as time passes with the same sense of purpose that I have so far. The faith that Image & Top Cow have in Stjepan is justified with every laugh, grimace & character quirk the reader experiences and I implore you to read the whole thing……you won’t regret it.
You can get all five volumes in any good book store or online and it’s good to hear that the first three books will be collected into a hardback collection which will be released at the end of March with volumes 4 & 5 to follow in a second hardback…..you might not want to wait until then though.
While this may mark an end to the Ally/Lisa story there’s hope for more of the same quality of story coming soon with a section near the back of this volume that hints at what’s due to come next in the same world.