Story by Jim McCann
Art by Janet K. Lee
Colors by Chris Sotomayor
Letters by Dave Lanphear
Covers by Janet K. Lee, Chris Sotomayor, Dan McDaid, Francesco Francavilla, & Skottie Young
$3.50 / 32 pages / Color
Published by Image Comics
My immediate thought when I finished reading Lost Vegas was, “what a relief!” What a relief that it’s a science fiction concept that actually works for me and is incredibly fleshed out. What a relief that the team of McCann and Lee, who won an Eisner for Return of the Dapper Men have followed up with something wholly new and interesting. What a relief that Janet Lee’s style has evolved and improved to such an extent. What a relief to have something good to talk about!
Apparently, I have a lot of worry going into something new. I’ll have to look into that.
Lost Vegas finds us aboard a giant resort spaceship (I think it’s a spaceship), named the same as the book. Our hero Roland is indeed high rolling, until he has a bad turn of luck, and with no way to pay his debt, he’s put into servitude with all the other deadbeats. They earn meager wages, and realistically will never earn enough to buy back their freedom. And yet, you can’t have a bunch of destitute prisoners frightening the customer base, so they’re all given uniforms and hologram collars to make everyone look exactly identical. It’s a wonderful, well thought-out set up, and they’ve created a world I want to know more about. At the same time, we’re also setting up a caper. This isn’t an exposé on the lives of the oppressed workers of Lost Vegas, is it? Of course not. There are grafts and thrills and adventures to be had. There are also going to be complications, and that’s where things start to get fun.
The first thing I thought about this is that it’s an excellent analogy for credit card debt. You get in too deep, and you’re hosed for life, without a chance of digging out. Because if you can’t afford something, but you can’t wait for it, and it seems so easy doesn’t it, you’re making a bet on your future. They’re probably not using that angle to sell the book, because it’s not all that sexy. But that‘s why I’m known for having my finger on the pulse of what the kids are interested in.
Turning the spotlight over to Janet K. Lee’s art, we find an artist who has certainly become more adept at the art of comic book storytelling since her debut. She’s done a good amount of other work, for Marvel for example, in the time being, and her comfort with the art form has evolved since then. Lee has a very good sense of when to keep it simple, and when to go nuts on a page. Unlike the wood block decoupage adventures of Dapper Men, Lost Vegas finds things a little more traditional, with colors from Chris Sotomayor. It looks like a normal comic book, except it also looks like Lee’s artwork, so basically, it’s the best of both worlds. I was pleased to see the update to the work, and I think it will be more palatable to readers with more of a mainstream taste. But at the same time, it remains very unique. I also sense just a touch of Chaykin in the work, and that’s usually a pretty good thing. I have the feeling that as we go through this story, the pages are going to look better and better.
Lost Vegas is imaginative, fun, and original. It’s like one of those worlds you encounter in a random episode of Doctor Who that exist outside of any times or places we know, but is familiar to us. It’s also an wonderful look at the evolution of creators who were pretty successful the first time around, but keep coming back for more. I didn’t know what to expect, but I think they hit the jackp-
What a relief I didn’t actually type that.
Story: 4 / Art: 4 / Overall: 4
(Out of 5 Stars)