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Prism Stalker Volume 1 by Sloane Leong #BookReview

Far from the border of colonized space, a newly discovered planet teems violently with strange psychic life and puzzling telekinetic ecology. Vep, a refugee raised away from her devastated home planet as an indentured citizen in a foreign colony, is taken by a private military firm to assist in settling the new planet. What awaits her will test the limits of her will as she grapples with the strange power the planet exerts over her….

Title: Prism Stalker vo|ume 1 | Author: Sloane Leong | Series: Prism Stalker #1-#5 | Publisher: Image comics | Pub. Date: 5 March 2019 | Pages: 168 | ISBN:
9781534308282 | Genre: Sci Fi | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 3 out of 5 | Source: The publisher provided a copy for review consideration

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Prism Stalker Review

When I was about 13 I went to France and stayed with a family there, the intention being that immersing myself in French culture and everyday life would help me learn the language. Whilst I was there, I bought two graphic novels (or bande dessinée as the French call them. One was by the legendary Moebius and I forget the title; the other was Valerian comic (as filmed recently by Luc Besson). I was wowed by the artwork and depth of imagination on display in both. Here were science fiction worlds so rich and vibrant that they put the US and UK comics I was used to reading to shame. They were infected with a dreamlike surrealism that transported my teenage mind. Unfortunately, my weak grasp of French meant I often had little idea what was really going on, but that somehow added to the experience.

Reading ‘Prism Stalker’ was a similar experience. It’s wonderfully imaginative, weird, inventive and confusing as hell. The book contains issues 1 to 5 of the Image Comics series and the story is (I think) really quite simple. The heroine, Vep, is a young humanoid woman living in a community that has a symbiotic relationship with an alien species. Vep is chosen to join a military unit that is going to colonise new worlds and begins training. Plot-wise that’s about it.

The story might be slight, but the universe it is set in is richly conceived. The imagination and level of detail is fantastic, and behind it all is a critique of colonialism that isn’t always subtle but at least rings true. It turns out, the plot doesn’t matter so much, when the set pieces are as good as they are here. I’d find myself flipping through a few pages of exposition thinking, ‘This is okay, but it’s not great’ and then get slapped in the face by beautifully imagined cosmic weirdness that made my head spin. When this book is good, it’s very, very good. Uniquely offbeat with a fusion of story and art that works perfectly. The characters are good too, weird but good. Vep is an engaging and convincing heroine. She’s determined and credibly fallible; and drawn as a person rather than a sex object.  

This is a mixed bag, then. At times its incoherence was frustrating, but at others it delighted me. The art, like the storytelling, isn’t always perfect, but at times its brilliant. Some pages would get an easy 5 stars from me, others just 2. I’ve evened things out and gone with 3 overall and my head tells me that’s the right score, but my heart is yelling at me for being stingy. If the trippy kind of sci fi that graces the pages of ‘Heavy Metal’ is your bag, then I think you’ll like this a lot. Don’t expect any sexy robots though.

You can find this book at many retailers via clicking on the appropriate link on Goodreads (Buying direct from retailers is a good way to support indie authors); however, in the spirit of supporting literacy programs, we would like to point out that you may be able to purchase this book through BetterWorldBooks.

Published inGraphic NovelsScience Fiction Book ReviewsUnstarred Reviews
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