ON THE STUMP #1
Writer: Chuck Brown
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
When this book was first announced, I knew it was gonna be right up my alley. I was already a fan of Chuck Brown because of his work on BITTER ROOT, and the premise for this one was really appealing. "In this story, history diverged in 1868 when a pivotal presidential debate turned violent. Today, elections are decided by highly publicized hand-to-hand combat in arenas called Stumps. But, the violence doesn't end in the ring, and powerful people can still get away with murder". I mean shit what's not to like. Plus you have this insanely good art from Italian artist, Frenzy and it seemed like a surefire hit. Well, after reading this first issue I have to say it surpassed my expectations. This book had me hooked by the 2nd page.
The issue opens up with a "political battle between Senator Jack Hammer and Senator Sweet Smell Shaw. The art pulls you straight into the action. It's frenetic and the style reminds me of a mix between Sanford Greene and Gennady Tartakovsky, it really is phenomenal. In an amazing upset, Senator Jack Hammer defeats Senator Sweet Smell Shaw. Shaw’s bill to deregulate genetic enhancement in the ring will not make it to the House of Representative. It's such an insane idea to think that politicians have to battle it out to pass a new law/regulation. I'm surprised nobody has thought of this before. I mean could you imagine if this really happened??
Jack Hammer was considered overrated at his peak, and he’s a kind of a loser now. People think that just ’cause he can take a punch, it doesn’t make him great. He hadn't passed any legislation in the ring in 5 years when he defeated someone named Silver Sable. He learns that the fight he just one, was not only supposed to be "thrown" but he was intended to die. The main antagonist is someone named Thunder Bearer whom the FBI has been investigating for five years. So after a meeting with FBI Agent Anna Bell Lister, Senator Jack Hammer ends up teaming up with her to bring it all down.
This issue has it all (mystery, action, huge ideas) and it was a hell of a first issue. Cuck Brown and Prenzy have created something unique and highly entertaining. With so many new series popping up throughout the year, it can be hard to decide what to pick up. But trust me this is one book you won't wanna pass on. This is a book that will have you thinking about it long after you put it down. Chuck Brown continues to put out some great comics and you add in an artist like Prenzy (who came out of nowhere by the way) and you literally have lighting in a bottle.