Review – Stumptown #1

STUMPTOWN #1 4x6 COMP FNLThis Wednesday sees the release of Stumptown, the eagerly anticipated new series by writer Greg Rucka (Whiteout, Detective Comics, Queen & Country) and artist Matthew Southworth (Infinity Inc.).

As reported elsewhere the series will consist of four issue arcs, broken up by four month breaks in between.  This is to ensure the comic is produced in a timely fashion without any delays.

Oni Press was kind enough to provide a preview copy of the series for review.  Here’s their description of the series:

Dex is the proprietor of Stumptown Investigations, and a fairly talented P.I. Unfortunately, she’s less adept at throwing dice than solving cases. Her recent streak has left her beyond broke—she’s into the Confederated Tribes of the Wind Coast for 18 large. But maybe Dex’s luck is about to change. Sue-Lynne, head of the Wind Coast’s casino operation, will clear Dex’ debt if she can locate Sue-Lynne’s missing granddaughter. But is this job Dex’s way out of the hole or a shove down one much much deeper?

Story: Noir is the hot genre in comic book story telling and Stumptown in the latest entry into what’s quickly becoming a crowded market.  The intriguing crime drama is headlined by a deeply flawed heroine, and an interesting cast of characters that left me looking forward to the second issue.  Rucka took his time researching the world of Dex and it shows.  The first issue is important in setting up the mystery, the danger, the characters (and their quirks), and leave enough for you to want to come back and unravel the mystery.  Rucka pulls this off masterfully and in a manner that I was not only sucked into the first issue, but want to know what happens next.  Rating: 9

Art: Matthew Southworth’s gritty art reminds me a lot of Sean Phillips’ artwork in Criminal.  It’s very fitting for the series and ads to the overall noir-ish/crime drama feel to the series.  Even on pages with no text, Matthew is able to convey the feel and continue the narrative.  I can easily see this becoming another classic paring of writer and artist like Brubaker and Phillips’ work. Rating: 8.5

Overall: Noir is the hot comic book genre with some excellent series being produced.  What could easily be just another comic book quickly lost in the mix instead stands out from the pack as one of the best being produced and a fine example of it’s type.  The first issue is all about the “set up” and Rucka succeeds weaving the beginning of a tale that sucks you in and makes you want to come back for more.  So far so very good. This Issue Rating: 9

Recommendation: Buy

Oni Press provided Graphic Policy with an advance copy of this issue for FREE for review.