Graphic Novel · Review

Killing Stalking, Season 1 by Koogi

Killing Stalking CoverSeries: Killing Stalking, Episodes 1-19

Publisher: Lezhin Comics

Pub. Date: 2016-2017

Genres: Suspense, Horror, Mature, Psychological, Manhwa

Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Yoon Bum, a scrawny, quiet boy, has a crush on the most popular guy in school and who was nice to him in the military. This crush turns into an obsession and stalking. He goes to Oh Sangwoo’s home and lets himself in. What he saw inside was a psychopath. Yoon Bum becomes Sangwoo’s prisoner. Koogi’s Killing Stalking, a psychological horror manhwa, follows the psychological manipulation of Bum and his twisted relationship with Sangwoo.

I found out about this manhwa from a couple of anime-loving YouTubers. The second one I watched made me want to read it since the manhwa has been controversial since it came out. The controversy surrounding the webcomic has been about the abusive relationship and overall gore. So if you decide to read Killing Stalking, trigger warning for the overall content warning due to the abuse, violence and explicit material.

Bum is a scrawny, depressing guy, but we first meet him as a stalker, lusting after the guy he thought he knew for years. Over the course of Season 1, Bum’s spirit becomes more broken, and he grows more dependent on Sangwoo. There are a couple of times where Bum has so much hope that his captor won’t torture him further or kill him, and it gets you caught up in that false hope. Despite his daily mental and physical torture, Bum still has a survival instinct, a desire to escape when opportunities arise.

Sangwoo is the charismatic type of psychopath. He’s charming to the public. Behind closed doors and in basements, he is terrifying. As he breaks Bum further, he takes greater risks so that he can torture his long-term prisoner more. Those risks drive more suspense about what will happen to them and other characters in the story. I’m not sure that Sangwoo has developed throughout this story.  Anything that I can think of that could be construed as development is part of Sangwoo’s mind games and manipulation of Bum. But that makes it all the more interesting to binge read. I also liked seeing the cracks in the psychopath’s composure.

What I find the most intriguing are the plans of torture and manipulation. They are so detailed, and any change to them are scarier since this is mostly from Bum’s perspective. I was on the edge of my seat.

The art is superb. Action and horror are drawn in thick lines. Excellent choices were made to select a few frames that build suspense and scare the reader at appropriate moments. The expressions of characters are clear and add complex layers to the story. Characters and setting are drawn in good detail, and I love the color work on the outdoor scenes. The detail is amazing. An example of Koogi’s excellent detail-work is that one female character is drawn down to her painted, polka-dot fingernails.

If you like reading dark, graphic books, particularly psychological horror, Killing Stalking is the webcomic for you.

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5 thoughts on “Killing Stalking, Season 1 by Koogi

  1. Thanks for the review! I’m so glad you highlighted the false hope aspect that builds when following Yoonbum’s character. For me, that was a big reason why I got so caught up in the plot and why I didn’t want to stop reading once I started. Have you seen any of Season 2 yet?
    I won’t give anything away, but it’s intense and addicting to say the least. If you haven’t read it yet and want to catch up, it updates every Thursday on Lezhin. I would love to see another one of your reviews going over what’s happened in Season 2 so far, and to see how you think it compares to the first Season. Let me know what you think!

    1. I read up to Episode 5 of Season 2, but I gave it a break when I saw Koogi take a break for a few weeks. I’ll be reading it again soon from the start of the season to remind myself of what’s going on. I’ve liked what I’ve read so far.

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