Last Sentry’s The Stalker feels as though it was ripped from the pages of the pulps. Fans of the old pulp heroes like The Shadow and The Phantom will fall in love after just a few pages. Even the tag line “Where there are shadows, there is… The Stalker” hits the nostalgia button. Prepare yourself to be steeped the in dark trenches of the underworld. To get your head in the right space try playing The Stalker Theme over on Last Sentry’s website while you read the next paragraph.
The Dirty 30’s
Obsidian Bay in the late 30’s finds itself overrun by the criminal element. Crooked cops and gangsters run the streets while civilian life burns to ash. But from the shadows a mysterious figure appears to stamp out villainy wherever it hides. The Stalker with the help of Kizam Krey and his undead driver monitor the city ever vigilant. After saving crooked cop Frank Donavin from a deadly fate brought on by his own lies and depict a deal is made to join with the elusive Stalker. What will Franks future hold? Where will The Stalker strike at evil next?
Art and Story blend in seamless nostalgic perfection
The Stalker takes the gritty darkness of the pulps and pulls it into this decade perfectly. Characters all embody their roles beautifully and the writing wonderfully illustrates the atmosphere. The art is reminiscent of the pulp style with an updated use of color and added detail. Juan Romera seems to have a solid understanding of Travis Huffman’s story and seems to construct his art around it. Immediate action drives the issue forward and returns to fill in any holes as the plot moves forward. This issue serves to wet the whistle and nothing more but it leaves you thirsty to find out where the story is headed.
The Stalker: Good? Evil? Or Something In between?
While good and evil are easily spotted before the Hero arrives The Stalker himself seems to fit into a grey zone. Our mystery hero pulls influences from other classic heroes making him an odd cocktail with a flavor you cant quite put a finger on. For example he has an underground layer beneath a cemetery and seems to surround himself in darkness. Characters like Batman have layers as well but The Stalker’s lair feels more brooding with overtones of death and the occult. His abilities seems to make his form untouchable or invisible much like Alec Baldwin’s version of The Shadow from the mid 90’s. Finally Franks reaction to the GA-NO-DU box seems to be a look of absolute horror. After Franks decision is made the box is burned which feels somber in tone. Destruction of the box truly feels like Franks new beginning.
Although The Stalker feels like a unique cocktail whose ingredients I can’t quite put my finger on, all I want is more! It’s gritty while staying true at heart to the tone of the story. Characters are interesting and complex, each with subtle quirks all their own. The allure of who or what The Stalker is makes me glad I bought Issue 1 and 2 at the same time allowing me to binge. Fans of pulp or readers just looking for a more unique brand of hero should definitely give The Stalker a try.
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