There are times you go in reading a comic and expect to be entertained but then are caught off guard as to how good it is. Stake #1 is that type of comic. While I expected it to be entertaining, I didn’t expect it to be as good as it is. Stake‘s concept is rather simple. Vampires are real and a young woman is out for revenge after a friend is killed and another injured by them.
Written by David A. Byrne, Stake #1 does an amazing job of introducing us to this world and moving the story along. The story focuses on Angel, aka Stake, who’s out to kill vampires in an act of revenge. It’s hard to really go into detail for the comic because what’s revealed is what makes it so interesting and why it’s unexpected. There are some interesting depth and twists and turns to the comic which has a bit of a Blade meets Lost Boys for the social media age vibe about it all.
Byrne delivers a really interesting debut using media to drive the narrative. The introduction of the vampires is done through video and the news with commentary from Angel. Angel’s initial hunt is broadcast live online. This isn’t your typical vampire comic and there’s a lot packed in to parse out and ruminate on if there’s deeper meaning or it’s just a great way to tell the narrative.
What Byrne also does is deliver a hell of a twist toward the end of the comic. Our expectations of Angel, aka Stake, are subverted as she gets into battle with the vampires she’s hunting. This twist is partially why the comic is so different, there’s an intelligence about how it approaches the concept and world. It also takes some of the silliness we see elsewhere and grounds it in some ways.
The art by Francesca Fantini is fangtastic. The different delivery of the imagery, through video as an example, really shakes things up and creates interesting visuals. The comic is also black and white with a splash of red. The designs of the characters are great playing with some different aesthetics we’d expect and delivering something a bit new too. The lettering by Joel Rodriguez is great as it changes up a bit to give readers a better idea who is talking and also through what medium they’re doing so.
Stake #1 is a fantastic debut that took my expectations and shattered them. There’s parts that caught me as a reader completely off guard. I want to see what comes next and where the series goes from here. It’s not the simple direction I was thinking. While the concept might sound like a vampire story you’ve read and seen so many times before the actual end product is so much different.
Story: David A. Byrne Art: Francesca Fantini Letterer: Joel Rodriguez
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy
Scout Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review