Vep’s home world may be lost, but her new life awaits her: Training in pneumatic martial arts, assuming she survives… Your Major Spoilers review of Prism Stalker #3 awaits!
Writer: Sloane Leong
Artist: Sloane Leong
Colorist: Sloane Leong
Letterer: Ariana Maher
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: May 9, 2018
Previously in Prism Stalker: “Vep enters the world of pneumatic martial arts: combat focused on dismantling the resolve of an opponent, commanding their will, and dissolving their effect through your own volition. Vep soon realizes that power is artifice. Now, how to control it…?”
“DO YOU WANT TO DIE?”
Ahhh, science fiction. There’s something to be said for picking up a comic full of portents and world-building, having no idea what’s going on and yet being drawn into the story, regardless. We open with our protagonist, Vep, being trained by aliens in the manipulation of “pneuma”, a sort of fundamental force of the universe. First and foremost, you should know that the first issue’s reference to the works of David Cronenberg was not just a random call: This issue is filled with Cronenbergian body horror, as Vep discovers that pneuma allows her teachers to manipulate reality itself, melting her body, ripping her to pieces and even worse. (There’s one moment in this book that I am not going to share, because it is deeply disturbing for me to think about, but if you’re super-sensitive to body horror, like I am, this is a “Read At Your Own Risk” issue.) We also find that not all her teachers have their student’s best interests in mind, as one seems perfectly willing to murder her to prove she’s not worthy…
VISCERAL AND HORRIFYING
The first thing I have to say about this comic book is that the logo is completely impenetrable and unreadable, which I worry will make the book harder to find and less visually compelling to buyers. Once you’re inside though, it’s interesting, Leong’s art echoing Richard Corben and 80s issues of Heavy Metal and the story hitting some really resonant notes in its treatment of a lost human trying to learn the ways of alien warriors. Sometimes, when you come into a story in the middle, it can be offputting, making it feel like there’s no way to catch up. This issue instead makes me want to delve more into this world and it’s players and learn what brought Vep here and what the hell is going on. Even when the visuals became hard for me to look at without profound discomfort, they were fascinating and the use of color is remarkable throughout the issue, with a really broad and varied palette involving pinks and violets and blues that usually don’t appear in science fiction-type settings.
BOTTOM LINE: EXPERIMENTAL IN WAYS SUCCESSFUL AND NOT SO MUCH
This book feels like it is all about experimentation, taking a story that is at once wild and weird, yet grounded, and delivering visuals that make it all feel dream-like and compelling. Prism Stalker #3 is a book that gambles with story and art and is successful more often than not, making for an engaging read that might make your skin crawl but forces you not to look away, earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall. I still don’t like the logo on the cover, but what it’s covering is interesting stuff. I’m going to have to go find numbers one and two…