Article first published as Book Review: Soul Stealer: Collector’s Edition by Michael Easton and Christopher Shy on Blogcritics.
Comic books and video games go hand in hand and nowhere was that more evident than Comic-Con. Just an hour or so south, on a light traffic day from Los Angeles, the San Diego Convention Center hosts the annual event. Though film and television are buying their way into the convention, video games with action-packed, short form storytelling are a more similar medium. Ignoring shared demographics for a moment, the storytelling is so similar that the two outlets often share writers and illustrators and even when that doesn’t occur, new comic series are inevitably spawned from successful game franchises.
Christopher Shy, the action game Dead Space’s comic adapter has also illustrated Soul Stealer, an amazingly gorgeous series of graphic novels. Written by former soap star Michael Easton, the Soul Stealer trilogy is a dark and bloody tale that manages to borrow much but still manages an engaging story. The occasion of Comic-Con marked the perfect opportunity to unveil a new hardback collector’s edition of the award winning Soul Stealer series. This marks the first time all three volumes have appeared in one compilation and is limited to just 1,000 copies. If that weren’t enough incentive to buy the coffee table sized book, they are also signed by both Shy and Easton.
The easiest analogy for the Soul Stealer trilogy is to imagine if Clive Barker took over the Starz series, Spartacus. The story starts off with a similar theme to the TV show but takes a supernatural detour and is as mythological and religiously irreverent as much of Barker’s best stuff. Elements of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein also find their way into what is essentially a dark tale of undying love and determination throughout time. Obviously beginning in a much earlier era, the tale wraps up in the present day or a gritty near-future.
This saga spans centuries and follows the fallen warrior and protagonist Kalan. The Soul Stealer trilogy seeks to answer how far would you go to get back someone you love? Throughout the tale, the tension never lets up, from Kalan’s first encounter with the Apis Bull to the next. Kalan is finally left overwrought with grief when his love Oxania is murdered. Set in the midst of a war of the gods and with the help of his father-in-law, he is transformed into a supernatural being, who returns souls from the afterlife. It is with this power that Kalan seeks to reunite with his beautiful, elusive and cursed lover and to avenge her killer.
Though Comic-Con has come and gone, the 536 page oversized hardcover edition book is still available for a limited time. This collector’s edition of Soul Stealer includes an introduction by Michael Easton and a cover gallery with never before seen sequences and over 100 new pages. Measuring 9 inches by 13 inches, the large format publication covering the three volumes of the award-winning saga; The Beaten and the Damned, Blood and Rain, and Last to Die, is a fitting treatment for the nine-year collaboration of writer Michael Easton and illustrator Christopher Shy.
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