“I will impale you in places you did not know existed.” Nice try, “Science Deer.” I’ve tried that line before ... and in my experience, it works about 35% of the time (every time), and usually only on people for whom English is a second language. And besides, I bet you say that to all the girls, you silver-tongued trollop.
But for serious, the above line exemplifies everything that isright with McCann and Lee’s Image book Lost Vegas. It’s got this instantly distinctive feel: a sort of phosphorescent pop, electro-pastel, non sequitur vibe, which makes it look like a stained glass window version of that old Star Trek animated series from the early 70s. But there’s only one problem ... I just can’t seem to dig it.
As sharp as it can sometimes appear, I can’t get away from a sense that this story is kinda dull, or at least one not befitting the highly-regarded reputations associated with such a talented team. And they are talented, but here only in flashes, like the fun bit of writing above and some, though not all, of the art. I know this puts me in the minority of the comic book community, and because of that, I’m trying to understand the appeal, which is why I’m determined to stick this one out.
In issue three, we start out 10 years in the past, meeting up with our two main humanoid characters, Roland and Loria, as they power-walk for their lives from a burning forest, wearing adorably matching low-cut, quasi-futuristic onesies. This whole scene is apparently the destruction of the human outpost known as Janus at the hands (and by “hands,” I mean “space lasers”) of a fleet of alien ships, and with the help of something called a Godspark: a sentient explosive who is used to pop the planetoid like you might a small child’s balloon. I guess you could say “he’s the bomb,” but I’d rather you didn’t.
Three years on, we have followed the fortunes of Loria after her escape from Janus and separation from Roland, finally seeing how she reached the Lost Vegas space station in the first place, and why she has remained there since. We then fast forward to Today, where Roland and his chums’ plans of escape from the pleasure/grifting cruiser are flustered by the arrival of the nefarious Ensign Scotsorn.
It was this noseless, blue alien who was apparently responsible for the destruction of Janus, and whose devilish schemes now include a bid for power involving a forced marriage and leveraging the power of his dreaded Godspark ... which, to again clarify, is not a nickname for his penis, or whatever genitalia aliens have. Ooh, hang on. Genitaliens™. Goldmine.
As we are left to ponder the final scene, which promises a cage fight or two next issue, I instead try to think about why Lost Vegas doesn’t rub me the same way it seems to everyone else. Well (and not to make yet another poorly-veiled innuendo), I think it’s because the whole thing feels a bit stiff.
This book just doesn’t feel as unique as it wants or considers itself to be, and its execution, while trying to be bright and shiny, is so rough, it almost doesn’t feel pro in some places. The dialogue, apart from the measured cadence of Science Deer, often feels forced, too tightly-wound and clichéd. Then again, maybe that’s its charm?
The art is okay, but it follows suit, in terms of quality, with the story. Exactly like in previous issues, there are no more than two to possibly three truly astonishing, type-defying layouts and iconoclastic pages in this book, while a majority of the rest feels rigid. What it makes up for in its stained glass stoicism, it loses in fluidity and polish, and that inconsistency bothers me.
Lost Vegas #3, like issues previous, isn’t bad, it’s just not breaking any new ground yet, content to be another space story about the last humans making good in the galaxy. That’s fine, but it doesn’t inspire or leave me wanting more, and with so many other space titles out there, this one feels a little lost.
Writer: Jim McCann Artist: Janet Lee Publisher: Image Comics Price: $2.99 Release Date: 5/29/13