The last page of this issue threatens more Stumptown in a really cute way. It’s on the movie theater marquee, with letters missing.
I say threatens because I’ll probably read it and not enjoy it and not get anything out of it.
I think I thought of about six ways private investigator could have gotten the bad guy in trouble. She doesn’t think of any of them. She even has a monologue where she explains how she’s a complete loser.
Apparently Rucka missed the part of the detective story where the seeming loser of a private investigator proves he or she capable in this one very important–to him or her, maybe not the world as a whole–case.
Sure, it’s theatrical and melodramatic, but we’re talking about a theatrical and melodramatic genre. I know Stumptown sold terrible, but it’d have sold worse if it’d been realistic.
Until next time….
The Case of the Girl Who Took Her Shampoo but Left Her Mini, Part Four; writer, Greg Rucka; artist, Matthew Southworth; colorists, Rico Renzi and Southworth; editors, Jill Beaton, Charlie Chu and James Lucas Jones; publisher, Oni Press.
Did it take me three minutes to read that issue? I’m not sure.
There’s nothing worse than a boring all-action issue. I suppose we get to hear about the big secret behind Stumptown’s mystery, but it’s pretty boring. Rucka has no talent for making the mundane seem intriguing.
Mostly what he gives the reader this issue is a couple women accusing the other of being gay.
After Batwoman (and Montoya in Gotham Central and Carrie in Whiteout), Rucka really needs a new schtick. Or maybe he could create some maybe lesbian comic book character who isn’t hot.
Umm. What else.
The art. Something’s definitely wrong with the art this issue. They’ve changed colorists and while the new guy isn’t as good as Lee Loughridge, he’s not bad. Southworth’s getting rushed here. Instead of looking deliberately hurried, he’s looking lazy.
Still, I’m generally okay with the book. It’s just unimaginative.
The Case of the Girl Who Took Her Shampoo but Left Her Mini, Part Three; writer, Greg Rucka; artist, Matthew Southworth; colorist, Rico Renzi; editor, James Lucas Jones; publisher, Oni Press.
I’m mildly tempted to use this space to discuss innovative private investigator storytelling, specifically The Big Lebowski and “Eyes.” If you hadn’t guessed, Stumptown–as a detective story–has failed to make an impression.
Right now, with Stumptown, I’m concerned with two things. First, is Dex gay? Second, does she know the guy her brother works with–I can’t remember the guy’s name but the brother’s name is Ansel–likes her? I only have the first question because of the second.
Rucka’s also implying a lot of backstory from the scenes. The police captain doesn’t care about Dex being shot because she is a private investigator and broke up his marriage.
Rucka’s universe for Stumptown requires a lot of people not to do their jobs. The handling of Dex’s shooting, for example, is ludicrous. I’m pretty sure “Barney Miller” handled such things more believably.
But it’s a fine enough read.
The Case of the Girl Who Took Her Shampoo but Left Her Mini, Part Two; writer, Greg Rucka; artist, Matthew Southworth; colorist, Lee Loughridge; editor, James Lucas Jones; publisher, Oni Press.
It reads well. Stumptown definitely reads well.
Rucka doesn’t go cheap on content either, it’s a solid length read for a modern comic book. He introduces a lot of characters, some backstory… he gets a lot done here.
I like this Matthew Southworth art too. They’re clearly going for a gritty, realistic feel and Southworth brings it. Deliberate but impulsive. They do the same thing with the lettering too. The stray lines make the art (and word balloons) pop.
My lack of enthusiasm, however, stems from having seen and read all this stuff before. It’s a female private investigator with a gambling problem who takes care of her younger, but still adult brother who has Downs; she also might be a lesbian.
Boiled down, she’s a world-weary PI with money troubles. I’m pretty sure Sam Spade was a world-weary PI with money troubles.
The adornments don’t make her different.
The Case of the Girl Who Took Her Shampoo but Left Her Mini, Part One; writer, Greg Rucka; artist, Matthew Southworth; colorist, Lee Loughridge; editor, James Lucas Jones; publisher, Oni Press.
Lapham explains a lot of the backstory–poorly and needlessly–and then fills the rest of the issue with a useless fight against the Nazis. It’s not even good exploitation–if he’d done football players versus Nazis, for example, it might be something. Instead it’s just a standard resistance, followed by some more fighting. I think the biggest battle is all off-page.
The conclusion is sequel-ready, but in a goofy sense. There’s nowhere for the story to go because Lapham didn’t spend any time making a story anyone wanted to read again. So why conclude like he did?
There aren’t even any comeuppance for the bad guys, which Lapham sort of implied the reader would get.
I’m actually more indifferent to the issue than disappointed. It does make reading the entire series a bit of a waste though.
It would’ve been much better with my dream ending. Or any another ending.
Beyond the Mountain; writer, David Lapham; artist, Johnny Timmons; colorist, Darlene Royer; letterer, Wes Abbott; editors, Kristy Quinn and Ben Abernathy; publisher, Wildstorm.
With one issue left, there’s no way Lapham is going to be able to explain everything. Especially not after this issue, when he reveals the bad guy to be the Pied Piper. Well, I suppose he could reveal it all to be a dream of Colin Farrell’s, which would make it the greatest comic book ever.
But I doubt it.
Sparta‘s not a great comic book, but it’s a good one. It’s completely unambitious, which is nice for a creator-owned titled and absent pretense. It’s Lapham providing a monthly diversion for his readers, keeping them interested, keeping them engaged.
At some point this issue I realized Lapham hasn’t made the reader care about a single character. There’s a hostage situation–a standoff–with an infant here and even it doesn’t cause a lot of concern.
However, I’m wondering if Timmons’s lessening of Colin Farrell likenesses isn’t artistic laziness. The art weakens here.
War; writer, David Lapham; artist, Johnny Timmons; colorist, Darlene Royer; letterer, Wes Abbott; editors, Kristy Quinn and Ben Abernathy; publisher, Wildstorm.
Maybe Timmons just really wanted to draw swastikas?
Lapham has gone far without explaining anything at all about Sparta‘s setting; it’s modern day but there aren’t any cellphones so far and there’s no internet. So when the bad guy shows up at the end with a bunch of Nazi stormtroopers, I’m not sure what to think.
It might be better, overall, if there’s no explanation. Though I’m going to love it if Lapham equates American football culture to Nazism.
This issue is, once again, sort of confusing. Lapham’s killing off characters, revealing secrets, all sorts of busy work. But it really just ends where the third issue could have started. Maybe doing a creator owned four issue limited just doesn’t make sense for Wildstorm, but four issues is about all the story Lapham apparently had for Sparta.
Also, Timmons is toning down all the Colin Farrell likenesses for the hero.
Chaos Will Out; writer, David Lapham; artist, Johnny Timmons; colorist, Darlene Royer; letterer, Wes Abbott; editors, Kristy Quinn and Ben Abernathy; publisher, Wildstorm.
Lapham doesn’t really increase the cast numbers here, but it all of a sudden seems a lot more complicated. The comic relies a lot on the logic of the place and Lapham’s plotting this issue concentrates the attention on that logic. He should be skirting over it, since it’s not particularly comprehensive… at least not in the information given the reader.
It’s a solidly good issue–Timmons’s art keeps getter better, with the lead still looking like Colin Farrell, but no longer looking like a traced and colored drawing of Colin Farrell–but it’s something of a lull issue. Lapham’s reached his slump issue of Sparta (one of them at least). There’s always a bridging issue with a longer limited series and it’s here.
I’m hoping it only lasts this one issue, but Lapham’s introducing new ideas and characters towards the end of the issue, which smells like more setup to me.
Various Cancers; writer, David Lapham; artist, Johnny Timmons; colorist, Gabe Eltaeb; letterer, Wes Abbott; editors, Kristy Quinn and Ben Abernathy; publisher, Wildstorm.
Well, I’m still completely confused–there’s a lot of magical stuff going on, fairy-tale type stuff (I think that’s Baba Yaga making an appearance in one panel)–but it’s really quite good.
I’ve sort of ignored Lapham’s output since he’s slowed or stopped Stray Bullets (does anyone know for sure?), but there’s something really nice about Sparta U.S.A.. To some degree, it’s political, but not much. It appears to be a metaphor for giving up your freedoms and thinking you’re getting more rights.
I’m also not entirely sure if I’m missing something because I don’t know anything about football. Maybe there’s something about the Irish Potato Famine in here too.
Lapham does a nice job making the unbelievable town somewhat digestible. There’s this great detail about how the football quarterbacks always have to watch out for assassination attempts (everyone wants to be quarterback).
It’s a much better comic than I’d been expecting.
Fear the Future; writer, David Lapham; artist, Johnny Timmons; colorist, Gabe Eltaeb; letterer, Wes Abbott; editors, Kristy Quinn and Ben Abernathy; publisher, Wildstorm.
Talk about going into something cold. I had less than no idea what Sparta U.S.A. is about before reading this first issue–I also didn’t know the lead character is played by Colin Farrell (someone needs to hire artist Johnny Timmons to do licensed comics; if he can do Farrell without it being based on a movie, just imagine what he could do with something actually supposed to use someone’s likeness).
It’s a rather strange book–I didn’t even realize Wildstorm published books like this one, but I guess I don’t know enough about them for that line of discussion. Lapham’s created this strange little town with an obsession with football, but they’re really either all aliens or they’re ruled by aliens. I guess it’s more likely it’s fantasy stuff, not alien stuff, behind it all.
It’s a decent comic. Timmons’s art is confusing though. Besides Colin Farrell, everyone looks the same.
Where We Are; writer, David Lapham; artist, Johnny Timmons; colorist, Wildstorm FX; letterer, Wes Abbott; editors, Kristy Quinn and Ben Abernathy; publisher, Wildstorm.