Writer: Jim McCann
Artist: Jan Lee
Reviewer: Optimous Douche
Leave it to humanity to take any great technological leap forward and transform it to meet our most base desires. In LOST VEGAS, a time after sometime tomorrow, we see a universe of fantastic aliens, intergalactic travel and other flights of fancy no one reading this will ever probably see in their lifetime. We’ve also found a way to take all of our self-destructive behavior to the next level as well. In the future you’re no longer trying to mark cards and falsify currency against some no-neck cretin who didn’t get enough breast milk from Mommy, that cretin now has the strength of ten men and testicles nowhere near where you would expect them to be (that was Star Trek not McCann just to be clear).
Roland is one such scammer, a man who can read the cards, the table, and even the expressions of aliens who smile when angry – how’s that for an unreadable tell? After one too many bad reads Roland finds himself serving off his scam spree aboard the beautiful starship LOST VEGAS. Here, he and a host of other aliens pay back the house by placating the desires of any whale to walk through the door. Indentured servitude? Yup, but like I said for all of our progress we still remain the same. And that apparently goes for every sentient life form the galaxy has to offer.
Despite differing genomes, the galaxy is a pretty small place when it comes to finding joy. Sex, drugs and of course gambling seems to be how every species gets their kumba ya yas, and like Las Vegas, LOST VEGAS is the place of the future to make this all happen – for the right price that is.
One part The Firth Element and one part Ocean’s Eleven, the book makes short work of exposition to get Roland’s servitude cemented. Of course this is all so we can get to the main story of Roland’s plan to rob the house. In LOST VEGAS though, this is more a scam for freedom than simply trying to get a night in the high roller’s suite.
The space scoundrel has become a trope at this point, but McCann keeps the story moving so you never focus on the eerie similarities Roland has to Paul Newman and Han Solo. Roland’s chewie is a telepathic blob named Ink who keeps Roland’s gal Friday and his tech wizard in constant communique as we see the dry run for Roland’s plan to start gleefully leaving LOST VEGAS.
Lee has a way with the pencil, but I was most impressed by her page layouts. Things start standard before she begins shattering borders to chronicle the dry-run escape. One complaint, and I’m not even sure I can call it that since it’s probably by design. The book is always inside closed quarters, leaving a blind side when it comes to the scope of the future. I’ve read everything Sci-Fi in my life from the complete works of Asimov, to Heinlein to Clarke. The thing that always entranced me was the magnitude of the vessels we will one day command compared to say a Honda Civic. I didn’t get that scope in this issue. Again, I think this is by design though and will pay off as the ultimate expression of Roland’s freedom.
One other nit, and it doesn’t just go to LOST VEGAS, is Image’s recent “just the tip” foray into new properties. I agree that the days of character’s who live for years and never age is slowly drawing to a close, but I also think there’s more breathing room for stories than just four issues. We should have learned as a community by now the difference between drawn out and not drawn out enough. I think I would have gotten the scope I wanted if the team had more than 4 issues to climb and descend Freytag’s pyramid. Again, this is merely a nit in a very imaginative take into tomorrow’s solar system of sin.