Sta­lag-x

Foreword Reviews - - Spotlight Reviews -

Kevin J. An­der­son, Steven L. Sears Mike Rat­era (Il­lus­tra­tor), Vault Comics (MAY) Hard­cover $29.99 (160pp) 978-1-939424-28-0

Hu­mans fight or col­lab­o­rate with their alien cap­tors in an ef­fort to sur­vive a harsh prison camp in the sci­ence fic­tion graphic novel Sta­lag-x.

A decade-long war against the alien race called the Krael has hu­man­ity in des­per­ate straits. Sta­lag-x be­gins as the Krael suc­cess­fully at­tack a space­ship and haul their cap­tives, in­clud­ing the main char­ac­ter, “Joe Hu­man,” to a prison planet. There, Joe meets other hu­mans—some of whom, like a trench­coated fe­male as­sas­sin named Dea­con, have sur­vived by work­ing with the Krael—and be­gins to piece to­gether a mys­tery that could give hu­mans the chance they need to de­feat their alien en­emy.

Rem­i­nis­cent of World War II pris­oner-of-war films like Sta­lag 17 and The Great Es­cape, Sta­lag-x isn’t afraid to play those in­flu­ences for hu­mor, with char­ac­ters in­clud­ing a “Camp Com­man­dant” and an alien ex­per­i­menter who wears a mon­o­cle and goes by the nick­name “Men­gele.” Rat­era’s art fleshes out the alien planet of Pondafier in great de­tail, though his hu­man fig­ures are oc­ca­sion­ally a bit stiff-look­ing.

The authors uti­lize Joe as a clas­sic lantern-jawed, tough-guy hero, with a few new twists to keep things in­ter­est­ing. It’s not sur­pris­ing that the story reads like a TV minis­eries, given Sears’s back­ground in the in­dus­try; with an end­ing that in­vites fu­ture sto­ries, and a novella by An­der­son about Dea­con in­cluded at the end of the book, the authors clearly have more me­dia op­por­tu­ni­ties in mind for the char­ac­ters and set­ting of Sta­lag-x.

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