Review: Night Stalker #1

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Night Stalker #1 is created and written by Orlando Harding, David Miller takes pencil and ink duties, Paul Little tackles colors, and Kel Nuttall rounds out the team with lettering. Night Stalker is about a blue blooded death demon named Dyana who tracks down escaped minions from the depths of hell who are hiding on earth. Some live among humans undetected, but others aren’t as low-key.  Dyana is detective investigating these demons with her companion Azrael, a red gun toting hellion.

The first issue of Night Stalker is a familiar theme, but told in a unique way. While it stands out on its own, if one wanted to compare it to something it would be Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Spawn. Harding takes these themes and spins them into a fresh new story. First off, the main character is a female. Secondly, she is African-American. It is hard to find a comic that tells the story of a strong black person, let alone female, that doesn’t go into cliché and near stereotypical dialogue. Harding makes strong, independent female characters who can handle themselves. At first it seemed like we were getting a main character who was dressed up in the ditzy baby doll look, but as you go on you learn why Dyana is dressed the way she is. The one thing that many writers and artists do that greatly takes away from the story for this reader at least, is to make a strong character yet have her dress slutty. Harding and company seem to be avoiding this so far.

The story first starts as a flashback of sorts as two characters talk about their latest captures over lunch. As they are describing their hunts, we get to see the hellions they are chasing. Miller draws unique and compelling monsters for the different scenarios. One thing that really stands out is the time hopping demon. Dyana travels to Club 54 in 1977. There we get jive talking, but it works and makes sense for the story. I don’t know what Harding’s plans are, but time demons are ripe for exploration. It would be easy to overdo it, but another trip or two through time could work if done correctly. Those pages from the past were one of the highlights of the book. The art in the book is handled really well. The San Francisco landscape is captured wonderfully and the demons and creatures that inhabit the world are fresh. The colors are brilliant and really pop.

It is hard to find fault in this book, but a few things are worth mentioning. The splashpage features a good overview of what we are getting into, but some things could have used a little more explanation as to how and why certain characters are interacting. In fairness, some of this could simply be setup for future issues that will fill those gaps. The biggest thing is the lack of a cliffhanger. I’m a sucker for cliffhangers, but this issue seems to just end. There is more than enough excitement to keep one coming back though.

Bottom Line: Harding makes a fantastic first issue with entertaining characters. The hellion Azrael doesn’t utter a single word, but he stills much of the show. At a whopping 60+ pages, it is well worth the price tag. This is one to look for when it is solicited in July. You can check out the Night Stalker site here for more information.  I give Night Stalker a  4/5.

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