I have stated numerous times, publicly, often loudly, that I am Greg Rucka’s bitch. The man can do no wrong in my opinion. That doesn’t mean that I’m not fair in my reviews of his work though, really…REALLY, I mean there are degrees of greatness right? I’ve read the Stumptown graphic novels so I was excited to see that it’s becoming an ongoing series. More Rucka on my pull-list is always a good thing. Yet the first issue didn’t quite bring the warm, fuzzy satisfaction that I usually get with Rucka.
We open with a soccer game private eye Dex Parios is playing goalie in. It’s a nice “day in the life” bit that we don’t normally get to see with Dex. Later we see her brother and her interactions with her friends. There’s more soccer at a professional match later and Dex has a moment with a hot pro player. It’s on the last page that we finally start the mystery Dex will have to unravel.
This definitely feels written as a jumping on point for new readers. You get a peek at Dex’s personal world and what her priorities are in life. My problem was that so much of who Dex is has to do with her private eye skills and how she handles herself in tough situations. It’s hard to get a sense of her in this issue. On the other hand, there’s more room for character development and exploration in a monthly. You also want to go for a slower burn than in a mini-series. Establishing her private life first is a way to do that. If I hadn’t already met Dex under more intense circumstances getting to know her in this way might feel more natural.
I did not love the art though. Justin Greenwood (Masks and Mobsters, The Fuse) doesn’t have the same feel of Matthew Southworth. The art didn’t contribute to the atmosphere in the same way. It felt rougher, which was at odds with the lighter storytelling of the first issue.
I’m giving Stumptown #1 3.5 out of 5 stars. I’m sure as we gear up I will enjoy it more. Reading a first issue for a series I already love is a little tough. I suspect new readers will enjoy it far more and for a writer like Rucka, even his lesser work is still light-years better than most of the books out there. I’ll keep reading every month and if you haven’t picked up Stumptown before definitely check it out. Dex is a character worth having in your life in any fashion.
Here’s some preview pages for you:
Stumptown V3 #1
Writer: Rucka, Greg
Artist: Greenwood, Justin
Cover Artist: Greenwood, Justin<
On Sale September 10, 2014
Publisher Oni Press
Diamond Id: JUL141335