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‘Curb Stomp #1:’ Advance Comic Book Review

There’s nothing more unabashedly violent to me than someone getting curb stomped. I have the image of Edward Norton in American History X burned into my retinas. It’s a disturbing thought that makes me click my teeth together anxiously. So, naturally, I asked to read the book by Ryan Ferrier (Tiger Lawyer, The Brothers James) called Curb Stomp. Yes, the book follows through on the promise and gives us a curb stomp; however, it’s not very interesting when it happens.

Curb Stomp is an '80s-style exploitation film. You ever seen The Warriors? This falls in nicely with that genre. We’re introduced to an all-female gang called The Fever with badass female characters named Machete Betty, Violet Volt, Daisy Chain, Derby Girl, and Bloody Mary. If you’re a fan of this genre of storytelling, you may dig this comic. I normally love this stuff, and the cover of the book promised something pretty saucy. Unfortunately, I found the book to be kind of vacant.

The general premise is that a couple of punks from a nearby gang come trespassing onto The Fever’s territory and attempt to shoot one of them. This unfortunate soul gets curb stomped and thus begins a violent winding road to a street war. Why did he come onto The Fever’s turf? I don’t know. Why does our anti-heroine get so wound up that she can’t stop from splitting his jaw open against a curb? I don’t know. I’m really not given a reason to find the characters or situation interesting outside of the premise.

The art of Devaki Neogi (D4VE), while it reflects a specific style of art from that era that I dig, lacks dramatic and kinetic energy. When the thug is being pulled across the street to the curb by his hair, both characters appear to be dead still. That sometimes lifeless quality really saps out the thrill of the story. The emotional connection with the characters is never quite made, and the creators let the world everyone inhabits to be generic.

As politicians and gang leaders file into the story and things become more difficult for our heroines, I became less and less interested. To draw from an era of cinema that speaks to you is one thing, to capture its essence can be fun, but it really does help to elevate beyond that with even richer characters and stories, otherwise what you end up with is a pale imitation. That can be fun for some, but I am not pleased to say that I didn’t get much out of the experience.

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