by Stjepan Šejić
Here we are at the end of Sunstone, the smash hit erotic, queer, kinky love story from Stjepan Šejić. The story has come a long way from some one-shot pages on DeviantArt to New York Times Best Seller.
We’ve always known how Ally and Lisa’s story ends. It was made clear from the start they are happily married and this was the tale of how they met, yet even with that knowledge, watching the fallout of this last volume’s big fight and separation of our leads…it, well, it kinda hurts. That shouldn’t be taken as a negative, not at all. It’s impressive that even knowing this isn’t the end, the attachment to these characters and investment in their journey is so strong you don’t even want to see even the suggestion they won’t make it. That’s where the writing in this volume excels: by making you forget that you know the ending by keeping you engrossed in these women’s attempts to patch things up and finally make it work and you know what? It works. The payoff is totally worth all the angst, heartache, and stress it takes to arrive at.
It’s not all downbeat, of course. The series retains its signature humor and playfulness, but the emotional aspects are ramped up just a touch more. This leaves some of the other characters we’ve been introduced to (with a few exceptions) absent in this volume as they aren’t really a part of this particular leg of the journey, though there are more than enough seeds planted for the next story to keep you thinking about the ones that do feature. However, this keeps the focus were it should be on Ally and Lisa; after all, this is their part of the story, it’s only right they take center stage one more time.
As always, the art is outstanding. Stjepan Šejić never fails in making his cast look real and genuine in their expressions and composure. The art continues to bring a human warmth to the characters that just make them feel that little bit more real, whether it be the frustration on Ally’s face at her injured arm or how Lisa’s entire composure changes with the disappointment brought on at her current situation. Nothing these people do is over stylised, unbelievable, or cartoonish – well, unless it’s meant to be. But more than ever before, Šejić’s ability to tell stories with his illustrations and complement what you are being told through Lisa shines in these pages. In much the same way Lisa uses her writing to communicate the things she can’t say to the people important to her, Šejić use his art to enhance the story Lisa is telling us.
All things end (even a story about a beginning) but that’s not always a bad thing. When it’s a good ending, an ending that feels right and, most importantly a satisfying one, that’s not such a bad thing now is it? Sunstone might be over, but the story is just beginning and if it keeps up like these first five volumes hopefully it’s a long time before it’s all over.