"Stumptown" #3 from Greg Rucka and Matthew Southworth is another solid step in this crime tale. Dex has been handed a small blessing in the "Case of the Baby in the Velvet Case." This issue sees her ponder how to play her new hand as she discovers a new problem that rises from the situation. While the case is interesting and Dex remains a great lead, this issue is full of too many small moments and not enough large play.
Dex and her case are certainly changed by the end of this instalment, but getting there is a slow process. Although this is a P.I. comic and not a crime/action book, all scenes linger at their own pace without consideration of the whole. This does work in instances, but other times it hurts the overall issue. The opening page barely holds any story, but it's a great character moment that shows off Rucka and Southworth's mastery of timing through panels. The rest of this sequence, however, runs too long and stalls the progression of the case and the narrative.
Matthew Southworth's art is expressive -- as it needs to be; most of this story is carried on conversations. He manages to make pages dynamic through staging of venues and angles. While the line work continues to play in harmony with the book, this issue suffers from mixed coloring. There is a distinct difference in coloring style between Rico Renzi and Southworth. Some pages feel more layered and feathered with color, which detracts from the emotion and narrative on the page.
"Stumptown" #3 is a great step within the overall tale, but as a single issue it slices thin. Dex steps closer to a resolution but also wanders into the fray in order to tie it all closed. The smaller moments between Dex and her brother or the interrogation from the police ring true and add depth to the characters and the world. Hopefully the next issue works harder on the story so as to remind readers of the focus. After all, there is no P.I. without a case to solve.