Reuniting the team behind the Eisner award winning Return of the Dapper Men, Lost Vegas is a fun mix of science fiction space play and hustler inspired shenanigans Oh, and it is very, very pretty.
Writer Jim McCann is perhaps best known for his work at Marvel, and of course for Return of the Dapper Men with its whimsical world where time is broken, populated by some rather unique protagonists. The artwork was breathtakingly beautiful, Janet Lee using a decoupage style to produce something wholly magical. Lee has also worked on Jane Austen adaptations, The Wonderland Alphabet book, and – not to be sniffed at – one of my most favourite illustrations in the world. Featuring a giraffe.
What would happen if this dynamic duo were given a more mainstream outlet for their imagination? Well, an explosion of awesome, obviously. Image Comics have snapped up the potential, and the result is really quite delicious: Lost Vegas, a huge bruiser of a space station, a luxury casino that travels the stars and entraps the gullible and weak. Can’t pay your debts? No worries! Indentured servitude is the way forward, no matter your shape or size. Such is the fate of Roland, a charming yet roguish gent who wants to game the system. But the house always wins. Right?
The setting is spectacular, with the sheer variety of imaginative life forms giving Lee plenty to play with. As a latecomer to Star Wars, my favourite part – minus the Ewoks, obviously – was always the cantina scene, where we got to see a myriad of different beings, all shiny and colourful and enticing. It’s a fleeting moment. For a space opera, Star Wars is pretty lacking in the non-humanoid department, apart from hairy dudes, slave girls and that one guy with a frog head. Ah, Admiral Frog Head. I liked him. (My boyfriend has such a look of horror on his face reading this over my shoulder.)
But so much potential was squandered in favour of boring old humans. It troubles me. Not so here! Characters include, but are not limited to, a sentient being made of ink, a ten foot stag, and various reptilian thugs. Background characters range from the cute to the creepy (the one-eyed cat monster on the cover is both, and I want one!), and some clever sci-fi technology is employed to ensure that customers aboard never guess… well, you’ll have to read to find out. And there are a number of female characters, one who looks set to play a major part in future issues.
Roland of course is our Paul Newman, our Danny Ocean, our… Han Solo. But more Newman I think. I’m not entirely sure whether I’m rooting for him. I’m not entirely sure that I’m supposed to. What I am rooting for is issue 2 as I desperately need to know what happens next, as well as needing more of Lee’s simply gorgeous art.
The pacing is pretty spot on too, with events moving along at a canter and the inner monologuing made to sound authentic due to the characters motivations. The entire premise is highly enjoyable – heist movie meets Fifth Element meets space opera – and the whole issue is beautifully drawn.
Don’t take my word for it though, check out the following (un-lettered) pages, then go grab issue 1 tomorrow and try it out!
Last Vegas #1
Writer: Jim McCann
Artist: Janet Lee
Colourist: Janet Lee
Cover Artist: Janet Lee, Dan McDaid
Released: March 6
If you like, try: Starstruck, Return of the Dapper Men