September 13, 2009

Stalker #2 [1975]

"Darkling Death At World's End Sea" is the 18-page tale of Stalker, the Man with the Stolen Soul, penciled by Steve Ditko with inks by Wallace Wood and a story by Paul Levitz, the creative team for all four issues of this short-lived series. Following his origin last issue, where Stalker sold his soul to the demon Dgrth in exchange for various powers, he is now trying to confront Dgrth directly, and and quest takes him to World's End (literally, this is a flat fantasy world with a waterfall at the edge). After a sword fight with a four-armed monster he tries to infiltrate the cult that worships Dgrth, only to get captured, managing to escape being sacrificed at the edge of the world and rescuing the enslaved girl who helped him.

Ditko and Wood are a solid combination at this point, with some really good action scenes and fantasy landscapes. The story by Levitz is comparatively a bit of a weak mix of fantasy standards, but it has its moments.

Ditko and Wood also provide the cover for this issue, a nice rendition of the opening battle.

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