Chain Reactions | <i>Stumptown Vol. 2 #1</i>

Dex Parios returned to comics this week in the second volume of Stumptown by Greg Rucka, Matthew Southworth and Rico Renzi, as she begins to tackle "The Case of the Baby in the Velvet Case." Did the long-awaited return of Portland's finest and feistiest private investigator deliver? Here are just a few reviews from around the web:

Matthew Santori-Griffith, Comicosity: "Volume one of Stumptown is probably one of my favorite comic series of the last few years, and for good reason. It’s the perfect blend of character focus, beautiful art, high production value, and sharp detail that makes lead character Dex Parios so brilliant to watch in action. Coming in with such high expectation off a previous volume (or case, as the books are titled), the start of volume two had a mighty hill to climb. I can say it succeeds in every way to match up to my expectation."

Grant McLaughlin, The Weekly Crisis: "It is a noticeable departure from the tone of the original series, but it's not a complete one-eighty. While Greg Rucka illustrates Dex's stabler lifestyle by showing her unpacking the office, he also in certain to demonstrate that the Dex we know and love is still alive and well. A major part of the first volume was Dex's own personal code of honour, which went a long way in making her a sympathetic character (well, that and her interactions with the book's supporting cast), and although that initial scene might be a little confusing for readers new to the character, it reinforces that code and how capable of a private investigator Dex is."

Charles Meier, Darling Dork: "And this case looks to be an intriguing one indeed. As with any good mystery, the first act of this four-part miniseries is all about setup–what needs to be solved, what are the stakes and all that. The stakes turn out to be quite a bit higher than they first seem, elevating Stumptown above the “hipster mystery squad” pap the uninitiated may expect. What initially seems a simple hunt for a missing guitar turns out to be anything but, once the boxcutter-wielding skinheads and the trigger-happy DEA agent gets involved. It’s nice to see Dex is still prone to making poor decisions–the way she handles the skinheads should, by all rights, have gotten her killed to bits. I suppose getting beaten up so often it’s practically a running gag does funny things to one’s fight-or-flight response."

Ryan K. Lindsay, Comic Book Resources: "The art style of this book is different than the first volume as Matthew Southworth experiments with layouts on a few occasions. The opening splash of punk rock music coming to sequential life is intriguing and just flat out gorgeous. This is immensely helped by the wonderful colors of Rico Renzi, a colorist who knows how to bring tone and life to the seedier side of things, making them something new. Rain settling over some dive bar suddenly becomes an exciting adventure."

Mark Robert Bourne, Bleeding Cool: "Rucka’s essay at the end of the book is probably only interesting for those over 40 and was around in the late 1970s. He speaks at some length about his early influences with old TV show P.I.’s like The Rockford Files and the classics from writers like Dashell Hammet and Donald Westlake. I don’t think I’ve seen someone mention reading the “Great Brain” book series, anywhere in forever. I always enjoy the insights from the Author about their own works giving us an idea of where the ideas come from. It’s been ages since I’ve seen an episode of the Rockford Files but I can kinda see where it is influenced in the main character of Stumptown Dex."

Walt Richardson, Multiversity Comics: "The first volume of Stumptown was great, so is it any surprise that the second volume looks promising in its first issue? I don’t think so. Rucka, Southworth, and Renzi have made for us another great comic, because that’s what they do. That you don’t even need to have read the first volume beforehand is icing on the cake. There’s no justifiable reason to purposefully miss out on this comic, so stop reading this review and go get yourself Stumptown if you haven’t already."

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