The first words between Thunder Bearer and Jack are exchanged in On the Stump #4. At the end of issue #3, we saw Jack and Anna taken hostage by the clown-faced bruiser, Joe Doakes. Before that, they were caught trying to infiltrate one of Thunder Bearer’s building properties known as the Mayhem Club. Their main objective was to find hard copy evidence of Thunder Bearer’s underhanded dealings to stop him from bringing the Slay Act to fruition. Issue #4 sees the aftermath of Jack and Anna trying to escape, as well as the reveal of another mysterious person working in cahoots with Thunder Bearer.
Writer Chuck Brown’s plot continues to be a relatable topic that blurs the line between fiction and current real-world reality. Like anything worth fighting for, progress takes time. This issue sees our heroes take a small jab at dethroning Thunder Bearer’s plans. Besides that, it’s good to see Jack and Anna back on speaking terms again. This issue proves that they work better as a team than against each other.
The first half of the book plays out like your typical ’90s action film. The heroes are in trouble, and someone conveniently shows up at the ideal moment to save them, which is fine. It works. But it’s the second half of the book that gives us the goods. First, we get something that involves genetic mutation and the origins of how On The Stump came into being.
As far as the genetic mutation bit goes, I hope we get a little more backstory on it because I have to admit, it was bizarre at first glance. Other than that, the pacing, dialogue, and everything else meant to drive the story forward work increasingly well.
In terms of the art, Prenzy creates some creatively playful panels. There’s a fantastic page where panels are replaced by mobile phones involving a foreshadowed conversation between Thunder Bearer and Jack that gets pretty heated. Prenzy knows how to craft impactful moments that bring out the emotions in each character brilliantly.
On The Stump #4 brings us one step closer to a showdown between Jack and Thunder Bearer. It’s a very action-heavy issue that pulls the reader deeper into the world of the Stump. There are two amazing covers for this issue, so make sure to grab them both.