Slots is a series that has that Martin Scorsese crime vibe even though the main character isn’t a mobster. There’s an eclectic group of characters, a grimy sort of world that has a seedy underbelly, and a lead character who is a likable bastard. That same character is trying to make amends, or at the very least make some dough after using up all his tricks in Las Vegas.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Stanley Dance is back in town, but nobody’s happy to see him–especially not his son. The fight game’s changed a lot since Stanley last stepped in the ring…but this is Vegas, where luck is always changing…and tomorrow, he might just come up big.
Why does this matter?
Dan Panosian writes, draws, and created this series and he has a strong first issue under his belt. After speaking to him, it’s clear this series is a deep cut and one to watch.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Now that’s family.
Opening with Stanley running and smiling on the highway and his son screaming “asshole” is a good way to characterize the character. He’s chipper and happier than ever, even if he’s totally destroyed his relationship with his son and with most of the important people in town. This issue aims to explain all that with a well timed flashback to Stanley’s past mistakes. They involve drugs, cheating, and a whole lot of lies. By the end of the issue, we may not like this character anymore, but we can respect his troubled past and why his positivity is so amazing. The guy should be dead in a gutter, but he’s still taking it all day by day.
This issue also develops his son quite well as Panosian shows he’s angry, but also a man who wants to command some respect. From his mother, from the public, and maybe even from his father on some deeper level. Sure he hates him, but their clashing will eventually arrive and something emotional is bound to happen. It just might mean teeth will be scattered on the floor!
The art in this issue is fantastic and Panosian uses texture and Ben-Day dots incredibly. Eagle-eyed readers will notice stains and paper texture in the flashback scenes which adds an aged look that helps convey the time difference. Stanley’s ex and his boys’ mother is also well done with a hidden beauty that age has covered up. She’s trashy and also tragic and you’ll see the complexity in part because of how Panosian draws her.
Seems like a fun crowd.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The Stanley story in the present isn’t really interesting, with much of his scenes resorting to flashbacks to give his story meaning. Maybe it’s because the upcoming fight is still lingering in the distance, but I found it hard to care about his daily routine. Flashbacks tend to slow a plot down, especially when dropped in like this with nothing to show for the now with a character. His son gets the brunt of the interesting dramatic scenes though.
Is It Good?
I’m really digging the characters and the art and dialogue that goes with them. Panosian is creating a world that has interesting dynamics and a building fight that, while it’s slowly creeping closer, should be a knockout.
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