By Hayden Mears
Fox and hare #1
Writer: John Tsui
Artist: Stacey Lee
Colorist: Raul Angulo
Letterer: jim campbell
Cover artist: Stacey Lee
Editor: Vault Comics
The highly anticipated Fox and hare #1 was pushed back almost seven months so that its creative team could rework the story. The problem, according to the series scribe Jon Tsuei, was that there wasn’t enough “punk” in his cyberpunk comics. The genre has long been associated with the fetishization and erasure of Asian culture and Tsuei wanted her story to combat these harmful tendencies. Now, with her debut issue finally hitting the shelves, it looks like artist Tsuei Stacey Leeand the folks at Vault Comics churned out the product they wanted: a heart-pounding, evocative, “punky” cyberpunk thriller that further cements Tsuei and Lee as two of the best creators in the business.
The plot, on its barest bones, follows mercenaries Fox and Hare as they attempt to save a savvy coder from the wrath of Synastry Designs. The mega corporation will stop at nothing to silence the coder – and recover what she stole – before she can jeopardize their plans.
Fox and hare #1 is an energetic cyberpunk adventure filled with everything we love about the Vault library. It’s an offbeat story with boundary-pushing characters and fresh angles on tired ideas, a piece of sci-fi that only feels familiar because it uses genre-specific conceits as starting points. But from there, anything goes.
Tsuei and Lee shine a light on this crafty world through the struggles of its main players: black market coder Aurora Yi and the pair of mercenaries known as Fox and Hare. Lee and colorist Raul AnguloMazu art clearly and clearly establishes Mazu Bay as a distinct yet familiar place. We have seen rainy port cities before. We saw neighborhoods tinged with neon and resembling red-light districts. The setting feels like places we’ve all been before, whether through a transportive story or physically.
What we haven’t seen, however, is how these new characters interact with what we already know. That’s part of why you won’t find many detailed establishment plans or backgrounds in Lee’s work here. She knows we have a sense of place and is more interested in selling these people and their problems to us. Taking it a step further: its panel structure deftly communicates the focused action and frenetic energy of the storyline, further streamlining Tsuei’s busy story. Lee’s art shines when highlighting a character participation in the action rather than in the action itself.
fox and hare #1 is a fast-paced, vividly realized cyberpunk action-thriller tasked with bringing new life and flavor to a genre that desperately needs both. Everything feels tight, transparent and intentional; the delay obviously did wonders for the story.
Published by Vault Comics, fox and hare #1 is available in-store and digitally now.