A solid first issue sets up an interesting cast of characters.
Creator-owned titles are one of the reasons why Image Comics has been on such a roll over the last three years. Enter Slots, a new series from Dan Panosian mixing gambling, boxing, and a strong lead character into the mix. After speaking to him a few weeks ago we’re hooked, but is it good?
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
NEW SERIES You can say this about the life of Stanley Dance: he did it his way. Unfortunately, his way never took getting old into account. Now, the former boxer is on his last legs, looking for redemption…but he’ll settle for going down swinging. Roll the dice with superstar artist DAN PANOSIAN as he creates a bold and breathtaking vision of Las Vegas, where everything old can become new, and superstition influences how the chips fall.
Why does this matter?
Ben-Day dots, man. The dots are so flipping cool and this issue uses them incredibly well. Okay, beyond that? A lead hero who is somewhat unlikeable, but faces a very American journey.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
I’m sure many folks have felt this way.
Panosian uses texture incredibly well in this issue, be it Stanley’s flannel or the texture in the buildings of Las Vegas. This book is already rendered with different texturing due to its old school look with mini Ben-Day dots seemingly everywhere. This gives the book a look and feel like a pulp comic or novel from an older time. That suits the narrative since it’s about an older man whose claim to fame is long gone. There are also some gorgeous double-page spreads of Vegas itself which looks detailed and a bit chaotic and that suits the city well.
The story is an easy enough one to fall into and one could imagine it being turned into a movie pretty quick. Stanley is a bit of a deadbeat who has been living too fast but is respectable enough. He’s the kind of guy who is a bit too selfish, but if given the chance might surprise even himself. When his son comes into the picture one could imagine how this character might grow, but at this point, he’s still rather stiff and narrow-minded. That’ll be an interesting aspect to explore as the story progresses.
It’s also interesting how Panosian has made this character well tapped with locals. He’s in the know and it’s really the only edge he has since he’s basically broke. It’s through his flaws that the reader will find him interesting and will be on board to see how he can get himself straightened out. The world of addiction and living every day like it’s your last is a compelling angle taken with the lead character.
What a jerk.
It can’t be perfect can it?
This issue does a lot to set things up, establish characters, and give the reader a sense of who the protagonist is, but as far as the hook it hasn’t quite yet dropped. I was left wondering where it might go from here, especially since the bigger conflict has not yet emerged.
Is It Good?
Slots has a crime drama feel with a protagonist you will relate to because you’re bound to have a friend like him. It’s a character you’ll root for, but understand why others are just plain sick of him. A great way to get a taste of the Las Vegas underbelly.