I picked up Stone Island on something of a whim, having little idea about the story (barring it being “Porridge meets Resident Evil”) and having never seen a single panel from it. The names Ian Edginton and Simon Davis on the front cover was what made me want to read it, as they are amongst my favourite writers and artist respectively.

Set in Longbarrow Maximum Security Prison, Stone Island begins with the character David Sorrell as a new inmate, having been imprisoned for murder. It doesn’t take long however before the Prison comes under attack by a horde of monstrous creatures. After that we’re very much into traditional survival horror territory, with plenty of blood and gore splashed liberally over the pages. This traditional approach to both the plot and the characters is both the strength and weakness of Stone Island. While reading it is an enjoyable experience, there is always the nagging feeling that we have seen this story so many times before. To Edginton’s credit though, he really does try and do something different with Stone Island’s sequel “The Harrowers” which is also included in this trade. The Harrowers whilst still being as violent as its predecessor is more of a Science Fiction type of story, albeit pretty high concept when it comes down to it. Edginton’s writing really does deserve credit here, as both stories flew by. I could quite easily have read the trade in one sitting which I’ve never been able to say about any other trades no matter how good they have been.

Simon Davis is one of my favourite artists working on 2000AD today, and his art is absolutely fantastic throughout. As well as being able to paint gore petty damn well (he even had me squirming with a couple of his panels), his ability to make a series of talking head panels eye catching is what sets him above many other artists. Every panel is worth looking at, which undoubtedly helped with the already impressive pacing of both stories. Although unfortunately I have to point out that there seems to be a lot of male genitals on display throughout the trade. But if you like that kind of thing then I guess you’ve hit the jackpot here.

While Stone Island is far from perfect, and perhaps a tad clichéd in places, I still enjoyed it enormously. Its not to everyone’s taste, but if you enjoy horror strips then this ones for you.