Originally published on Bloody Disgusting
Curb Stomp #2 continues to develop this story, past the roller-derby punk names and the rad subversive hairdos, to kick you in the nuts with mortality. Where the first issue painted a picture of women who owned their world, with all its flaws and glory, this issue pulls the frame back just enough to remind these women (Violet Volt, Bloody Mary, Derby Girl, Daisy Chain, and Betty Machete) that their world is only a blip in the wider universe.
WRITTEN BY: Ryan Ferrier
ART BY: Devaki Neogi
PUBLISHER: BOOM! Studios
RELEASE: March 25, 2015
The Fever is dealing with the aftermath of their turf war situation; Violet is violently angry, Betty and Daisy are bickering but trying to communicate, Mary wants out, and Derby is being held hostage and going through some very painful detox. Betty is really getting panel space to exhibit why, even with her hotheadedness, she is the leader of this group, and what that position means to her in relation to the other women, particularly Daisy. Where our entry to this world showed the Fever as a unit, this follow-up distinguishes them each as individuals, and focuses especially on Violet as she navigates her anger, her sense of justice, and her ties to her community. These women have created a system for themselves, and it’s been their protection and their family, but it’s constantly being influenced—and threatened—by the surrounding industries, from legal and bureaucratic gentrification to elaborate drug distribution rings. These things, things that the Fever have no power over, are constantly fighting to control their world, and in some cases, even succeeding.
The art continues to make this book distinct from any of the others on the shelf. It is vivid and expressive, the characters as drawn be Neogi are varied and unique, different ages and races and body types, a detail that makes this book feel real and believable even while the linework is thick and more representative than realistic. The strongest thing Neogi does in this are the faces; the level of detail in the faces of each character is proportionate to the severity of the emotion they are expressing. With such a serious subject matter, a gritty setting, and the bleakness that can be associated with abject poverty and inevitable drug and gang violence, the colors are what’s keeping this book raw, angry, vivid. The radical colors won’t let this be (literally) muted, these women and their world will stand out and be seen. It’s not sad, it’s furious and neon.
So far this book has gotten better with every issue—not that after 2 issues that’s a reasonable track record, but the way it is developing is engaging with the overall story and as a monthly serial narrative. Sometimes we pick up books, month after month, because we need to see what happens next, but we leave with an unsatisfying amount of narrative and another cliffhanger. Curb Stomp bridges the gap between satisfying narrative arc and satisfying single issues, and the future of the series looks brighter than its neon covers.