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TV Review: Stumptown S1E4 Family Ties


Stumptown‘s fourth episode picks up on the third with Dex trying to protect her client and baby from an abusive and slimy real estate mogul. That also pits her against Artie Backs, her former mentor when it comes to private investigation.

The episode is a good one and interesting in that it explores a lot of the different characters.

First, there’s the main story featuring Dex and Artie. Cobie Smulders is fantastically pitted against Donal Logue. The two actors just work against each other so well and the playful competition is great. There’s a ratcheting up of actions against each other and it’s just an entertaining tête-à-tête. There’s also some depth added to Artie that while he’s scummy, there’s more than just being a stereotypical private investigator. Hopefully, we’ll get more of Logue in the series as he’s just amazing in everything he’s in.

There’s also a story having to deal with Detective Cosgrove. A prisoner escapes and we learn a connection to Cosgrove’s past but also to Grey and his friend that was murdered. The series gives the storyline a decent amount of the show’s time and in doing so again gets us away from the Dex show and being just another police detective show. Stumptown has been smart in its use of its secondary characters and teasing their history.

The episode wraps up all of the various plot threads in satisfying ways either concluding them or taking them to the next level. The episode is a key one taking the secondary characters and putting them front and center, a lot of the characters. It’s a show that really is about the full cast delivering an entertaining hour and one of the best new shows of the year.

Overall Rating: 8.0

TV Review: Stumptown S1E3 Rip City Dicks


In hopes of becoming a certified private investigator, Dex seeks mentorship from veteran PI Artie Banks; Hoffman grows suspicious of Grey after evidence proves that he has a connection to a victim in his case.

Stumptown has been fun the first two episodes and the third gets more entertaining with the addition of actor Donal Logue as Dex’s mentor Artie.

Cobie Smulders as Dex delivers something really entertaining in her delivery. Logue goes toe to toe with her in the screw-up/sarcastic department and every scene has me wanting Logue to be a regular. There’s a great chemistry there that somehow has upped the game of the episode.

What’s great about Artie is that he pushes Dex in various ways but a specific scene that triggers Dex’s PTSD really brings it all home. There’s such depth to the character that’s teased out and part of her without it being on display at all times. Instead, scenes like this remind us Dex is more than just PI wannabe.

Grey’s storyline of his murdered friend moves along as well. It’s solid that the series has something strung out throughout the season instead of just delivering a standard weekly one and done storyline. It helps bring in other characters and give them something more to do than just being the background for Dex.

All of that is good and then things drop in the last ten minutes or so when everything comes together. That takes a really good and entertaining episode into great. There’s something so good about the twist. It all really adds to both characters in so many ways.

And that ending! I’ve got the power.

Overall Rating: 8.0

TV Review: Stumptown S1E2 Missed Connections


Dex is hired by a wealthy man to search for a woman whom he recently met, but she quickly learns that the task is not as simple as it seems: Dex and Grey’s history unfolds.

The second episode of Stumptown is an interesting one with a case that juxtaposes nicely with learning more about Dex and Grey’s past.

A wealthy individual pays Dex to find a girl he clicked with and while I expected one thing, it turns out to be something completely different. In a good way. Then there’s a revelation of Dex and Grey’s romantic(ish) past.

The two together share a theme of relationships of the unhealthy type. And each is that in their own way. It’s an interesting framing of it all and a step above the usual procedural detective show.

There’s also the laying out of a deeper story involving Grey, one that’s unexpected and adds a narrative that’ll thread through multiple episodes in a “big bad” sort of way.

The episode does a solid job of focusing on characters. At times it feels like the case is secondary to it all. That’s a good thing. The series is focused on its characters first and everything else second which makes it stand out from the pack.

Stumptown continues to be a fun hour of television and is a solid comic live adaptation.

Overall Rating: 8.0

TV Review: Stumptown S1E1 Forget It Dex, It’s Stumptown

Cobie Smulders in Stumptown

Dex Parios tries to stay out of trouble while working as a private investigator in Portland, Oregon. Stumptown is based on the comic series by Greg Rucka, Matt Southworth, and Justin Greenwood. Rucka is given writing credits and al three have producing credits.

Starring Cobie Smulders as Dex Parios, Stumptown establishes the character as flawed in so many ways. The series gives us a likable character who’s at the same time an asshole. But, what the series intelligently does is adds to the character’s depth slowly as the first episode unfolds.

We learn about Dex’s PTSD, her caring side when it comes to her brother, and her loyalty in many ways. The series allows the viewer to connect the dots and only verbalize it when another character might.

The episode also delivers a solid whodunnit. There’s some twists and turns that some may easily figure out but it reveals itself well. Then there’s the humor of it all. Small jokes like a broken cassette or the car not starting adds depth and laughs. Smulders delivers laughs with a deadpan delivery.

The comic focus on a crime story with each arc with some great characterization. The show does what it needs to as far as giving us hour-long crime stories. So far so good with that.

The supporting cast is fantastic with Jake Johnson as her friend and sounding board Grey McConnell. Michael Ealy is a welcome addition as Detective Miles Hoffman, and Camryn Manheim is a welcome surprise as Lieutenant Cosgrove. Then there’s Cole Sibus as Ansel Parios, Dex’s brother with Down Syndrome who helps add a heart to the cold Dex.

The show too does a solid job of spotlighting indigenous characters in the first episode and hopefully beyond. Tantoo Cardinal as Sue Lynn Blackbird stands out as the head of a casino and mother of Dex’s former love interest. In the comic, Dex is bisexual and while that’s not apparent in the first episode, Smulders has said it’s something in the show. So, that’s a nervous wait and see.

The first episode of Stumptown is a solid start that captures the feel of the comic and shows what having the original creative team involved can lead to. In some ways, it’s a by the book detective show but it has a lot of personality to it and delivers an entertaining hour. It stands out as one of the best new shows of the television season.

Overall Rating: 8.5

Stumptown Gets its First Trailer from ABC

Based on the Stumptown graphic novel series by Greg RuckaMatt Southworth, and Justin Greenwood , follows Dex Parios (Cobie Smulders) as a strong, assertive, and sharp-witted army veteran with a complicated love life, gambling debt, and a brother to take care of in Portland, Oregon. Her military intelligence skills make her a great P.I., but her unapologetic style puts her in the firing line of hardcore criminals and not quite in alliance with the police.

Coming to ABC.

Cobie Smulder’s Stumptown Goes to Series at ABC Based on Greg Rucka, Matt Southworth, and Justin Greenwood’s comic

Cobie Smulders Stumptown

ABC has announced that it has picked up Stumptown adapting the comic series and starring Cobie Smulders. The drama is based on the comic series by Greg Rucka, Matt Southworth, and Justin Greenwood.

The series is about Dex Parios who’s an army vet with a complicated life, some gambling issues, and a brother she takes care of in Portland, Orgeon. She’s uses her military skills as a P.I. to make a living.

The series also stars Tantoo Cardinal as Sue Lynn Blackbird, Cole Sibus as Ansel Parios, Adrian Martinez as Tookie, Camryn Manheim as Lieutenant Cosgrove, and Michael Ealy as Det. Miles Hoffman.

Rucka, Southwort, and Greenwood will all executive produce with Jason Richman writing and and also being an executive producer. Ruben Fleischer and David Bernard are executive producers as well with James Griffith directing the pilot.

Review: André The Giant: Closer To Heaven

LionForge-Andre_COVIf you’re of a certain age, or have even a passing familiarity with professional wrestling, then you will probably have heard about André René Roussimoff, known to many as André The GiantMy first introduction to André came, as with many others, through the world of professional wrestling. I remember to this day the first time I saw him throw grown men around the squared circle as if they were children, and it was awesome (note, that I’m not encouraging you to throw children about). André was a larger than life figure, a man known largely because of his size, and this biography takes a deeper look at this legendary man.

Brandon Easton tells the biographical tale of André in a somber voice that genuinely feels as if it is being told by the man himself. Touching and graceful, André The Giant: Closer To Heaven is a fantastic example of using the graphic novel format to tell a biographical story, and with André being a professional wrestler (a business that can often feel like a living comic book), I honestly don’t know whether a full text book would be as impactful as the graphic novel format is. The art from Denis Medri is fantastic here; from the line work, to the muted colouring,  to the very layouts of the panels on the pages, the art is simple yet evocative. The emotions conveyed through Andre’s body language and facial expressions are incredible. The letterer, Adrian Martinez, does something spectacular with the way in which the narrative text is framed within and around the art without using the traditional text boxes for André’s introspective first person narrative. Although it is a purely visual effect, it is just wonderful.

The pages feel organic, and with everything coming together so effortlessly, the graphic novel is a very pleasurable read that I devoured in two sittings.

André The Giant’s story is one that mirrors professional wrestling; as his star rose, so did the profile of the professional wrestling business, but although wrestling was a massive part of André’s life, this is a book that tends to focus more on the man rather than the wrestler. That’s not to say that André The Giant: Closer To Heaven glosses over any of André’s wrestling achievements, indeed with that being such a big part of his life that would lessen the impact of this book, instead the biography allows the reader to get a closer look at a side of the larger than life that few ever saw.

There should be no surprises in how this book ends, but it’s absolutely a journey worth taking. André The Giant: Closer To Heaven was compiled with help from André’s daughter, Robin Christensen-Roussimoff, and there is a touching inclusion from her in the pages of the book.

This is a beautiful story about a man who touched the lives of millions, and gives us a glimpse into the life a great man. As a glimpse into the life behind the legend, you don’t need to be a wrestling fan to appreciate this book. As a graphic novel, this is a superb story that’s heartfelt and touching; as a biography it is a fantastic look at a legendary professional wrestler and a beloved actor. I love absolutely everything about this book, from Denis Medri’s art to the words Brandon Easton uses, and the way in which Adrian Martinez has carefully incorporated the text into the art guiding your eye gently to the next area.

This is just a brilliant book from cover to cover, and if you have even a passing interest in André “The Giant” Roussimoff then you owe it to yourself to buy this book.

Story: Brandon Easton Illustrator: Denis Medri Letterer Adrian Martinez
Story: 10 Art: 9.75 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Lion Forge provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.