It’s not looking too good for Paul and Nick, who ended the last issue with a serious accident, and this issue doesn’t get much better from there. Stringers #3 gets a bit darker, as suddenly it’s not just our main characters involved in the drama. Speaze, the rival who we glimpsed in #1, shows up again. Through his involvement, we learn that the cops hunting down our duo aren’t after the mysterious USB, but rather the footage from that night. Unfortunately, for both sides, Paul and Nick have already sold the tape to the station.
Paul and Nick break up over what some might call creative differences and others might call hurt feelings. This split is bound to up the drama; they’re still being hunted down, but now they’re on their own. And then that ending- poor Paul can’t catch a break.
It felt like there was actually time for a breather in this issue. Paul and Nick’s break up allowed us to turn our engines off and regroup a bit. This story is so fast-paced- and I mean that literally, how many car chases have we had now?- that it was time to hit pause, even just for a bit of personal drama. Because while the car chases stopped for a moment, the story continued full steam ahead. The split between Paul and Nick could change the story’s dynamic, depending on how long they’re apart, and I know I’d be interested to watch them work individually in the face of danger, though they are certainly better together. Either way, we’ve got some tension between the pair, because what this life-threatening situation needed was a touch of personal drama.
The cliffhangers seem to be getting more brutal by the issue, which could be dangerous for the story. Too many of these intense closing moments will cause them to progressively pack less of punch, and then there’s the risk of an anti-climactic resolution. This time it worked- the ending and the beginning of the issue as a bit of parallel- but it probably won’t work again.
I don’t expect this break up to last, and I don’t expect the mysterious USB to be forgotten. The drama is now expanding outwards, which means it’s bound to get messy- or, messier. First Speaze, then Michelle- it’s just bad news for anyone who’s crossed Paul and Nick’s path that night. In this case, messy is good. I don’t want my danger neatly packaged- I want it to leak all over and ruin my nice carpet. We’re not quite there yet, but we could get there in the next couple of issues.
Stringers #3 Writer: Marc Guggenheim Artist: Justin Greenwood Publisher: Oni Press Price: $3.99 Release Date: 10/28/15 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital