Reviews Roulette: Stumptown Secrets

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My So-Called Secret Identity CoverMy So-Called Secret Identity Issue #5

Will Brooker (W)
Suze Shore & Sarah Zaidan (A)
Red Cat Comics

I had no previous knowledge or expectations for this comic. These are my spontaneous reactions while reading it.

I love the visuals of Catherine’s eyes adjusting to light. There is haziness, a touch of double-vision, plus total focus on shadows without bringing color into the mix. The double-vision gets real in the underlying panel, with the dialogue that “they’ve found parallel worlds.”

The following page reveals Catherine is our speaker and an introduction to the multiverse begins, with panels both long and short, narrow and wide manipulating the typical narrative format and endowing the story with disorientation. The inconsistently sized panels are scattered across the pages of Kitty’s past while pages in the present are evenly spaced and from the same focal point.

A military official comes to visit the hospital and informs Catherine/Kitty that the other members of her team are “gone”, along with the man that they are pursuing. When he says “gone” is he saying they’re dead, or lost in the multiverse?

A small number of the Catherine versions from the other Earth’s are depicted, and many have been drawn to the same calling: super-heroinism. Then we are given more background of our Catherine, Cat, through newspaper headlines detailing her stand against crime and its head honchos.

She has four different visitors in her hospital room on her first night in recovery, and the third one is a keeper. It’s a guy in a full body black costume with a text ticker on his chest. He communicates both through talking and through messages on the ticker. The fourth visitor isn’t bad, either. It’s the essence of Ultra Violet, one of her friends she thought was dead. Ultra Violet explains that she isn’t dead, she isn’t scared, and she is going to help Cat. I’m not sure what exactly Cat is up against, but I want to know. This looks pretty great and I’m looking forward to seeing where this story goes next.

This review covers Issue #5 of Volume One of My So-Called Secret Identity, currently funded by a Kickstarter campaign.
— Romona

Stumptown #2  Greg Rucka (W) Mathew Southworth & Lee Loughridge (A) Oni PressStumptown #2

Greg Rucka (W)
Mathew Southworth & Lee Loughridge (A)
Oni Press

When I was reading through the digital review copy of Stumptown #2, I noticed that the inside copy stated that the issue was in fact #1. Not a good start. Personally, I wasn’t really a fan of the comic. Maybe I’m just spoiled by other comics recapping what’s previously gone on in prior issues of their series, but I went into this issue confused and disoriented. It was my first introduction to the characters, and it took some work to figure out what exactly happened in it, who the characters were, and what their goals were. I was dropped right into the story of a woman investigating a beating of a friend related to gangs, politics, and sports, as she interacted with other people she knew that also knew the victim.

I have enjoyed Greg Rucka’s writing work in the past, I appreciated that none of the women were sexualized, and there were some bits in the comic critiquing the racial sameness of the Pacific Northwest/race issues in society. I don’t know if it was Justin Greenwood’s art itself that I didn’t enjoy, or Ryan Hill’s coloring. The lineart was very scratchy, and the coloring felt poorly executed to me, or at least not a suitable match.

Although I didn’t particularly enjoy it, I wouldn’t actively recommend against reading it. If you want to look at a slightly more diverse crime comic than most every other piece of media’s ANGRY WHITE MEN EVERYWHERE, give Stumptown a shot.

— Rachel

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About Author

Staff Writer. Rachel J Stevens is a transgender woman living in Seattle, Washington, originally from Michigan. She loves science fiction, music, bright colors, and combinations thereof. She spends entirely too much time reading on the internet and thinking about robots.

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