Royal Nonesuch reviews Stumptown #2, by Greg Rucka and Matthew Southworth!
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Matthew Southworth
Colored by: Lee Loughridge
Format: Standard - Full Color
Release Date: 1/6/10
Solicit Text: Superstar writer Greg Rucka (DETECTIVE COMICS, QUEEN & COUNTRY) continues his brand new creator-owned series! Dex is hot on the trail of the missing Charlotte Suppa, but the closer she gets, the more people shoot at her. Why is Charlotte on the run and what did she do to garner the attention of the Marenco crime family?
Greg Rucka brings together his proficiencies in writing strong female characters and compelling crime dramas at Oni Press, where he also gave the world QUEEN AND COUNTRY.
Stumptown #2 picks up from a great cliffhanger in issue #1, and immediately charges into some great, rhythmic dialogue that effortlessly tells volumes about the speaker. The exposition is effective and never heavy-handed. The plot twists and turns enough for any PI story, but is always so engaging. It's easy to care for the main character, Dex, and the reader is embarking on this journey with her. So much is learned about Dex with the simplest of narrative tricks employed by Rucka.
Matthew Southworth's pencils are somewhat unrefined, but very effective. He seems to have learned all the right lessons from artists like Michael Gaydos, Paul Azaceta, and Tommy Lee Edwards. His page design may be a little simple, but it makes the story easy to follow, which is the important thing. He does a great job with the dialogue scenes, in that there is no chance the reader can get bored while reading them, and his sense of place is very well-developed. The only real weak spot is a sequence near the end of the issue (page 26 in the review copy) where the scene a bit stiff and clumsy. With some more experience, he will be just as acclaimed as the above mentioned artists are. Also noteworthy is the issue's backmatter, wherein Southworth provides some astute media theory and relates it to the formal elements of a comic book, as well as a glimpse into his process.
Lee Loughride's colors are a great match for Southworth's pencils. The palette is vibrant without being overpowering. The lighting in a scene is very natural really enhances the work.
Stumptown thus far is a tightly constructed narrative that fits comfortably in the realm of the PI story without really feeling derivative or well-tread. It really is a great read.
9 of 10