STUMPTOWN #1, vol 2

STUMPTOWN #1, vol 2
Oni Press
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Matthew Southworth

What’s that cheering being heard from comic shops across the land? Comic book readers and crime fiction aficionados are celebrating the return of Greg Rucka’s creator owned PI book, STUMPTOWN, from publisher Oni Press. And all of us are better for it. Rucka first gave us PI Dex Parios and her agency Stumptown Investigations in November 2009. The first miniseries laid out our heroine Dex, and the challenges she faced due to her gambling debts.

In this tale, entitled THE CASE OF THE BABY IN THE VELVET CASE, we find Dex literally hanging her shingle on the door. We meet Dex as she’s (poorly) pounding nails in the wall while setting up her new office space. While new to the office space, it’s made clear that she’s not new to the detective game. When a local construction foreman tries to enlist her services, she turns him down because of past conflicts with the owner, Hector Marenco.

Her second visitor of the day turns out to be rock guitarist Miriam Bracca, of the rock band Tailhook. This is when our story really gets moving. Bracca hires Dex to find her missing guitar, and here is where Rucka hits his stride. The question and answer session between the two women is fantastic comic book storytelling, an almost perfect blend of exposition and character moments.
Special mention has to be made of Rucka’s essay piece at the back of the book. WHY P.I.? PART ONE WESTWARD HO! is fantastic. Rucka’s essay tells the history of the PI genre, and how an eleven-year old Greg Rucka fell in love with it.

SPOILER: It has to do with a California based PI’s answering machine.

STUMPTOWN is wonderful celebration of the PI, brought to us by a writer that loves the genre, and we’re all the luckier for it.