Review: Lost Vegas #2

If you’re ever looking down the business end of a mutant reindeer sturdily claiming the fact that, “I know science,” you might be, A.) peaking like a motherfucker, B.) mentally incognizant, or C.) reading Jim McCann and Janet Lee’s Image book, Lost Vegas.

In any event and regardless, you might want to get a check up from the neck up, since I’m not convinced whether this book is a royal flush, or should just be flushed. Most other reviewers I’ve read out there seem to be enamored with the series, and while I think it’s okay, I wouldn’t call it a sure bet.

In issue two, we are still following Roland, obsessive gambler, prisoner and one of the last humans in the galaxy, following the events of a thus far only whispered about crisis called the Post-God War, which ripped their outpost, Janus, off the map.

Trapped aboard the roaming space cruise ship, Lost Vegas, Roland must serve as one of the members of staff to pay off his debts and finally go free. Not wanting to wait another five years for this to happen, Roland has officially put his escape plan into play, and in this issue, begins to use guile and guise to cheat/win back his money from the house, with the aid of a select group of variously talented friends.

It’s all futuristic fun and holographic games until he accidentally runs into The Lady Kaylex, Lost Vegas’ resident Celine Dion, who is forced to perform night after night as the star attraction. It is during this hormonal exchange when our “hero” meets up with the previously mentioned science reindeer, Atho. Despite my misgivings, which I’ll discuss later, I actually really liked the dialogue here, and I kind of wish it was applied throughout the story.  Anyway, escaping after he learns some disconcerting news about Kaylex’s parentage, Roland and his colleague Loria set about their covert and complexly articulated winning spree.

Just when you think they’re out of hot water, however, the two Janus survivors get roped back into a game of species comeuppance. As the alien responsible for the deaths of their shared people “just happens” to come aboard Lost Vegas, they trade in their chips of freedom for a dish of cold, hard vengeance. To. Be. Continued...

I think I’m the only one out there who isn’t wowed by either this story or its art. No offense to Lee, and while I am starting to warm further to its poppy style and bright color palette in the sort of Candy Land-like vein, I find most of the art to be, not necessarily “bad,” but surprisingly lackluster.

Just like last issue, there are only two pages that really shine: one which shows our hero saved from a literal pit of despair by his amoebic amigo, Ink; and the second, which shows the same smudge of a character at the center of a colorful roulette wheel of happenstance, in admittedly a very clever and impacting layout.

Beyond these examples, however, I find the overall style to be somewhat flat and static, except perhaps when the lizard-like Bisa makes his return or any scene with a heavy involvement of Ink. There’s often not enough depth for me - even allowing the pop elements I spoke of earlier - and the action and figures just seem wooden or papery.

The pace here plays a lot faster than its first issue, which makes sense as it’s usually the case, but it also hits a bottleneck for me near the end, trying to get a few too many concepts out of the gate at once. The dialogue also shows some improvement, though many interactions still feel stilted.

Plot-wise, there is some great promise with all of the political underpinnings bubbling up to the surface, but that’s where they remain, with a so-far shallow depth, to equal the lack of backgrounds or rich, densely populated environs.

Given the team attached, I know this is bound to become an indie darling, and that a lot of folks will disagree with me, but so far Lost Vegas is, if not completely devoid of its entertainment, then certainly a bit underwhelming.

Score: 3/5

Writer: Jim McCann

Artist: Janet Lee

Publisher: Image Comics

Price: $2.99

Release Date: 4/24/13