It’s clear from Eddie Porter’s script to Issue Two of “Stroper” just why the digital comic’s Kickstarter managed to raise an impressive $2,186 in funds by the end of February 2018, with its broadening of the title’s leading cast and additional insights into Pak Booker’s incarceration “in the Bo’ak 5 prison mines”. Indeed, the thoroughly entertaining interplay between the mullet-haired hunter and his robotic assistant Tango, is arguably worth any cover price alone, especially when the surprisingly terrified bot begins to produce a high-pitched scream as it desperately tries to help its master lug his latest prey’s burdensome corpse aboard their spaceship before the pair are consumed by zillions of hungry Krill; “You know my courage drive is under cranked. It’s a sensitive subject for me.”
Similarly amusing is the automaton’s all-pervading aura of doom, which persistently appears to tweak the nose of the fate for all its worth. Understandably defensive when it is initially blamed for not correctly calculating that the stalker would actually encounter a female Rook on the Moon of Centi-7, the android rather humorously constantly goads the gods with its prediction that “things could be worse…” and subsequently seems to set up a sequence of events which disquietingly sees Booker’s dead extra-terrestrial prize ‘give birth’ to a cute, six-eyed living hatchling just before his vessel C16-227 is intercepted by “the boys in blue”.
Far less witty however, and understandably so, is the visual effects artist’s disconcerting dalliance upon Pak’s daily deadly routine “chain ganged to the Galaxies finest scum bags.” Strapped into a hammer suit whilst drilling for “the galaxies most precious resource” this arduous, soul-sapping punishment actually seems entirely appropriate for someone who killed “endangered aliens for money.” But when the prisoner stood working right beside our titular character is seemingly vaporised by a ruby-red release of rays from inside the ‘coal face’ upon which they’re working, it quickly becomes apparent that Pak’s sentence is probably a short-lived terminal one, where he literally takes his life in his hands every second of the working day…
Of course, what really helps bring across the monotonous nature of the captive stroper’s existence is Porter’s excellent computer-generated artwork. The scenes showing this title’s protagonist simply being one of many miniscule-sized miners as he traverses a leviathan-long, winding ravine “down into the belly of hell” alongside his innumerable fellow inmates, really captures the analogy of him simply being seen by the Galactic Union as nothing more valuable than a replaceable worker ant. Whilst Booker’s increasingly troubled facial features, in light of his latest hunt’s aftermath, shows the man’s agitated unease as circumstances pour woe after woe upon his shoulders, and really adds to the growing tension inside his spacecraft’s cockpit.