REVIEW: Curb Stomp #1

Written by Ryan Ferrier
Art by Devaki Neogi
Published by BOOM! Studios

Curb Stomp is set in a world where the rich and powerful live inside a city with all their needs met, while the poor live in the outskirts, divided into boroughs where the only law is that set by the gangs which rule it.

Of these gangs, The Fever, the group which takes center stage in this story, is different than the rest. Unlike The Wrath and other gangs who rule their boroughs with iron fists, dealing in guns and drugs, The Fever’s only concern is for the safety of their neighborhood, Old Beach. They are also different in that they are the only gang is which all female. Whether this should serve as some kind of social commentary remains to be seen.

The beginning of the book reads a little slow with not much happening as writer Ryan Ferrier sets up the world in which this book takes place. Things quickly pick up though as a group of rival gang members invades Fever territory leading to the titular curb stomp which sets off a series of events that forms the basis of the rest of this miniseries. If you’ve ever seen American History X, you may have some idea of what I’m talking about.

Ferrier has done a terrific job with the dialogue and pacing of this book. There is plenty of exposition told through inner monologues, but the relationships and character dynamics which Ferrier has created in this book are astounding. There is plenty of politics and back room deals happening in this book which made it really exciting for me, and the overwhelming odds with which The Fever will have to contend in future issues really has me rooting for a group whose intentions are definitely good, but whose means may not always be the most logical – at least in our society.

And that’s part of what makes Curb Stomp so different, is that these characters are very much a product of their environment – a tough and dirty world full of lies, deceit and violence. Boy is there plenty of violence! Still, it never feels unwarranted or gratuitous, instead serving to advance the story forward. Each and every character is so interesting, and with a cast as physically and psychologically diverse as this, Curb Stomp is bound to take chances that other books are unwilling to take.

If you’re looking for a book without superheroes and with deeply interesting, and layered characters, look no further than Curb Stomp #1. I expect this book to be one of the sleeper hits of 2015.

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