Saturday, September 28, 2013

What Happens in Lost Vegas (Is Dull Enough to Stay in Lost Vegas)

Lost Vegas
Written by Jim McCann
Illustrated by Janet Lee
Published by Image Comics
2 Out of 5 Stars

Lost Vegas was a limited series from Image Comics (normally a safe-bet for unusual, creative, and intellectual comics) that started with serious promise and ended with a serious letdown. 

The premise of Lost Vegas is that Roland, a gambler who stacks the deck in his favor whenever possible, is forced into indentured service on the pleasure ship, Lost Vegas, when a card game goes wrong. Lost Vegas offers all the thrills, pageantry, and adult pleasures of its earthly namesake. Roland, however, is the type of man who makes his own luck and it's not long before he cooks up a scheme to escape, along with a rag-tag band of misfits (aren't they always?), that inadvertently draws him into a high-stakes game of intergalactic politics.

The concept behind Lost Vegas isn't a new one, but its futuristic, outer-space setting had incredible potential. The characters could have been intriguing, the plot could have taken some maddening twists and turns, and the story could have ultimately proved memorable. So the problem? It told a minimum 12 issue story arc in 4 issues. The end result is a "wham, bam, thank you, m'am" experience for the reader; the canvas simply isn't big enough for character development, clever world-building, or proper pacing. In addition, there are some glaring and obvious typos in the final issue. 

The bright spot here is the lush and neon-splashed artwork by Janet Lee. While bringing the Lost Vegas in all its hedonistic, bacchanalian glory to life, her efforts aren't enough to revive the story line--its the equivalent of watching someone perform CPR on a corpse. You have to admire the attempt, but, damn, that sucker's dead.

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