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Stumptown #2

Posted: Monday, January 11, 2010
By: Karyn Pinter

Greg Rucka
Matthew Southworth, Lee Loughridge (c)
Oni Press
Dex is still hot on ďthe case of the girl who took her shampoo but left her mini,Ē but sheís also freshly out of the hospital from the run-in she had at the end of the last issue. Now it seems all of Dexís leads point to the Marenco family, especially Isabel Marenco.

Of all the comic series Iím reading right now, I think Stumptown is the one Iím most impressed with. Itís out of a small(er) publisher, itís a creator-owned title (which can sometimes mean itís something only the creator wants to read), it has an artist who isnít well known, and the only thing people might recognize about it is Greg Ruckaís name on the front cover. So how is it that what ultimately could have been dust in the wind could end up being so great? Ancient Chinese secret? No. My money is on good luck and the fact that Greg Rucka is a pretty badass writer.

Honestly, Iím not too familiar with Ruckaís work, I donít buy everything he writes, and what I have bought I bought because of the title. I read some of his Wonder Woman and Batman and they were good, but here, with Stumptown, it really seems like Greg is shining bright. Reading Blackest Night: Wonder Woman next to Stumptown is like reading two different Greg Ruckas. You can almost feel DCís chains tightening around your own wrists the way they probably do on Ruckaís. Stumptown is sweet, sweet freedom. Freedom to give your main character a black eye and multiple parking tickets. Freedom to say fuck and shit, and not get censored. Drink in the freedom.

Then thereís the main character, Dex, who is single-handedly driving this comic. There are side characters, but they are either involved in shady doings, or they appear for a page or two and donít provide any sort of sidekick-like role. However, a police detective was introduced in this issue, so sheís my pick to provide the pivotal Alfred/mentor/reluctant backup for Dex, not that she really needs the help.

The overall comic has this feeling to it, but itís hard to describe. More than the Average Joe story, but not quite a hard-nosed detective story. I think thatís where the art really plays a big role. It helps you discover, visually, the essence of the story. All the feeling, not the heart and soul, but the physical feeling is in the art. For example, Dex has a black eye. You see her black eye and you think, ďDamn, that must really hurt.Ē Thatís the feeling of the art. It looks painful or dirty, or like youíve been sitting in a í67 Mustang all day on a stakeout.

Hey, anyone who doesnít have a New Yearís resolution, or needs a new one because youíve already broken your original vow, Iíve got just the thing for you. Read Stumptown. Super easy to keep this resolution--just go to your local comic shop and buy the new issue every month. Itís more than worth it.



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