ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘On the Stump,’ #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

On the Stump #1

On the Stump #1 is published by Image Comics, written by Chuck Brown, art by Prenzy, and letters by Clayton Cowles. It’s a different world. One where politicians meet in a designated area called the Stump to determine legislation. The two political opponents beat the tar out of each other until only one is standing. But in the shadows, political forces are trying to control the system. When a lone FBI agent gets wind of the situation, she must enlist the help of past his prime political fighter Senator Jack Hammer to preserve the system.

Where to begin with talking about On the Stump #1. I guess the first thing to know is that this book is hyper-violent. Graphic, bloody imagery is littered throughout these pages. Visual depictions of an eye being physically dislodged and a gruesome decapitation are the highlights, but there is plenty more. And this is not violence with a point behind it. This is no statement about culture or allegory about some meaningful thing. At least not that I could see. This book is about shock value brutality first and foremost.

While the blood feels like the focal point of this story it isn’t the only thing that dwells within the pages of On the Stump #1. Readers are introduced to a couple of characters that do have some depth to them. Mainly, Senator Hammer. The way this character is introduced gives the feeling that there is a layered story there for him. The classic story of a man that used to fight to make the system work, but has been worn down over time. Having been approached by FBI Agent Anna Bell Lister to help her uncover some dirty dealings within the system gives me hope for Hammer’s character. I can easily see the comeback happen. And who doesn’t love a comeback story?

On the Stump #1

Aside from Hammer however, everyone else introduced in On the Stump #1 remains fairly shallow. While some have the potential to grow, none have yet been given the time to. Whether or not they can expand beyond their basic concepts is something for future issues.

Much like the story, I found the art of On the Stump #1 to be a mixed bag. While it does a great job of focusing its panels where the images will have the most impact, giving the violent imagery its maximum impact, how it portrayed those images was a bit lacking. The proportions for characters often felt off. Necks appearing too slim to actually hold up heads, and characters muscles structures felt inconsistent to me throughout this story.. These unrealistic portrayals of human physiology went beyond what one often expects to find in the comic book medium.

So to sum it all up, On the Stump #1 presents a mostly shock-story with a few nuggets of character. While the visual framing of said story is solid, the actual imagery is sometimes a bit wanting. Even though I personally felt like this start was a bit lackluster, I can certainly see where it has the potential to grow.

On the Stump #1 is available February 19th wherever Comics are sold.

On the Stump #1
2.5

TL;DR

On the Stump #1 presents a mostly shock-story with a few nuggets of character.