Nine Stones // Italian Comic Review

Welcome to Queer Fudanshi. Let’s Talk. In this post, we’re going to talk about Nine Stones.

Nine Stones is a comic created by Italian artist Iayafly and published in English. The official premise for the story goes:

Disturbing dreams shake Alistair “Allie” Jacobi’s nights. But his daytime life is not much better. His father, the boss of a criminal organization, has decided that it’s time for his son to gain experience in the underworld. So Allie, 19, finds himself doing an “internship” in a convenience store run by the man who, under the cover of home deliveries, is selling drugs to the entire city. To teach him the “job” is Christopher, an older guy. The bond created between the two of them will give life to dark presences and disturbing and enigmatic premonitions.

My Thoughts Before Reading

This is another comic that I’m reading by the suggestion of my fellow BishounenCon panelist Sharon Stogner. I’ve already done one for Check, Please! and I’m excited to read this one.

I know next to nothing about the series other than its going to be a creepy thriller like Killing Stalking, and apparently, though I’m a total wuss when it comes to horror/thriller, I’m down to read that. Let’s get started.

This is Nine Stones.

*Note: I’m reading from the start up to the most recent upload to the day of this posts’ publishing (May 2nd).

**Also, this post is tagged as NSFW because the comic has graphic violence and one sex scene. That includes one graphic image in the Spoiler Section below. You have been warned.

Where to Read:

Tapastic

The Talk (Non-Spoilers):

When I think of this comic I think of graphic violence, beautiful artwork, a bickering couple who ultimately love each other, and a great ninth chapter.

The story, while rushed, is very interesting. It starts off with this bubble gum atmosphere around the very gory and dark life of working in a mob. People are shot at, tortured, and killed. This is not a comic for people who can’t handle that.

In addition, the main couple are fun because they first bicker and act like they hate each other, but they can’t deny the attraction between them. Then, before I knew it I cared for them enough to not want anything bad to happen to them, which is hard given the circumstances of their environment.

If you are into dark stories about drug dealing and gang violence, or stories about two guys who hate each other but also like each other, you should give this comic a shot.

The Talk (Spoilers):

The Artwork & Atmosphere

I love the artwork. It visually pops and looks 3D and real. I think the creator of this comic is a very talented artist. Her art really does just pop off the page and it adds so much to the experience of reading Nine Stones.

My one thing about the artwork though is that I’m surprised at Allie is 19. He’s drawn to look very young. I’d have guessed 15 or so.

I love how the story this nice and light everyday feeling and this dark and upsetting mask of an atmosphere. At the start, they may be dealing drugs but there’s a nice smile to the story. It remindd me of the show Weeds because of that. Then, the end of the first chapter had this “slap to the face” end that really kicks the story into gear. And made to realize, “No, this is gonna get dark.”

Allie and Chris

As for the two main characters, at first I wasn’t that into them. I love their looks and I was interested in their dynamic, but at the same time their push and pull relationship wasn’t amazing to me.

But then the sex scene happened and I turned real quick. The added sexual tension at the least got me drawn in because I was like, “Wait what? Now they’re having angry sex?”

Then I started to understand that the two have a more complex relationship. Physical attraction, hate, respect, its all mixed up in there. To use just one of those words would be wrong.

That said, I feel like the creator rushed their relationship along to get to the “I love yous” too quickly. They went from bickering, to angry sex, to confused about it, to lovers, to being tortured. They’ve known each other for a week.

There are times when the writer of a story wants something to happen so badly that he or she will force the story to go in a way that feels unnatural or unwarranted. I feel like Chris and Allie’s immediate close bond is like that. Don’t get me wrong, I like the two together, and I love the after affects of the two getting together. But, I just can’t shake off the feeling that the pacing is off.

Chapter Nine

And then chapter nine came and I completely lost it. I love the idea that Allie was just looking back in time. I thought all the flashes were visions of the future, but in truth they were visions of the past. Well done!

That said, I also feel like the set up of how the memory searching worked was over simplified. “I’ve made it so that when you pick up these stones you’ll remember blocked memories.” Cool, I’m with that, but how? Plus, how’d they do it in that office? Was it like an Assassin’s Creed animus situation?

All that negativity said, I do have to say that I care about Chris and Allie. I deeply care. So, seeing that the two are being tortured and that Chris may die is devastating.

And of course, I’ve caught up and terrible things are happening to them at the moment.

In Conclusion

I have a few things that I didn’t like about Nine Stones’s story, but at its core are some graphic violence, a couple that I care about, some great twists and turns, and a nerve-wracking 9th chapter.

I’m going to keep on with Nine Stones, because how could I stop here. I need to know more and see more. I need to know what happens to Chris and Allie? What was all of this memory traveling for? And how’d they do it?

While the road was a little stony one the way, I’m intrigued with this journey enough to keep on with it.

Extra Thoughts

  • You know, the artwork reminds me a lot of the art for the Gorillaz.
  • One thing though, was the demon/friend guy the professor from the future trying to directAllie in the memories? Were their actions cannon to the memories themselves? Like, the time Allie ran away outside before fainting. Was that because of seeing the demon or because he he had a regular panic attack in the past?