Prism Stalker is a unique book, and I couldn’t help but be drawn to it when it was announced. It follows Vep, a refugee from a dying planet, who is uprooted and forced to be a slave worker for a race of insectoid creatures. She protects her siblings and her people and works to keep their memories alive in a place she could never see as home. It’s a very cerebral comic, mostly told through Vep’s absent-minded musings as she works in the colony harvesting eggs for the creatures to whom she is indentured.
The visuals take center stage in this series. The dreamy, neon scenery jumps off the page, and there is no current comic I could think of compare it to. The art is in a class of its own — the coloring is vibrant, demanding your attention, and the creature designs are creepy yet well-constructed. It’s rare to find a comic that comes this close to perfection in emoting its mood and intentions within its art. The opening scene with Vep traveling through a complicated arterial system, trying to stay hidden from the host creatures, was as striking and attention-grabbing as any opening sequence I have seen. I have nothing but good things to say about the artistic talent this first issue conveys.
The story is simple to understand if you dig deeper into the abstractness of Vep’s internal monologue. It’s an important story to be told, especially in this day and age, of a young person escaping a ruined home, to find themselves persecuted and enslaved by similarly dying lifeforms. While it’s a sci-fi story, the roots of this narrative can be traced throughout history, races, and cultures. I definitely feel a sense of difference and scope in this story, and it can only go further from here.
I found myself both annoyed and endeared by the layers of allegory and cerebral ideas conveyed in Vep’s musings, but the dialogue wasn’t similarly entrenched in vague ideas which would have weighed down the comic. Vep is an interesting enough character, but there was a certain level of disconnect I felt with her. She’s going through the motions of a main character, but doesn’t seem to have much going on behind that. This is a problem a lot of first issues fall into, so it doesn’t hinder the enjoyment, but I hope Leong elaborates more on Vep’s character in future issues.
Prism Stalker gets points for originality and trying something new and unique, especially within in the realm of comics. The art is stunning and has a high caliber of thought and work put into maintaining a vibe and feeling, and the story is an affecting one. The only thing holding this series back from being truly great is more development regarding its main character. This shouldn’t keep you from picking up this issue though, as the art alone is worth the price of admission. Prism Stalker is new, different, and evocative, and really brings something entirely unknown to the creator-owned comics table. If Sloane Leong can deliver a series start this strong, then imagine what the future holds for her as a storyteller and artist.