Writer: Dan Panosian
Artist: Dan Panosian
Letterer: Pat Brosseau
Cover: Jason Latour
Publisher: Image Comics/Skybound
An ex-boxer, at the end of his rope, takes on one last job to square his debt.
The issue starts with some levity, as a man charms his server at a roadside diner, only to dash out on his bill moments later. This introduces us to the charismatic conman, Stanley Dance, who we learn has just perpetrated his last scam. After fleeing the scene, he drives through the desert to a distinct rock, where he digs up a lockbox containing a loaded revolver. This was meant to be the end of Stanley’s story, but as he raises the pistol his phone beeps with a message. He still owes somebody a favor.
This book has a contemporary noir feel, full of debauchery and lies. Stanley shows up in Las Vegas, and immediately jumps back into the world of crime and extortion. With it’s dark, comedic tone, Slots reminded me of the film The Last Boy Scout (There are even panels where Stanley has a more-than-passing resemblance to 1980s Bruce Willis). Nobody’s hands are clean, and even his “friends” seem to be working any angles that may benefit them. The issue was split up into four chapters, which allowed it to cover a good deal of story in 22 pages.
Panosian draws and colors the whole book, and his experience can be seen in the character’s expressions and acting. Having a background in inking and graphic design, all of Dan’s skills are on display here. There’s a high-level of cohesion across the entire book. There’s a lot going on in most of the panels, but everything is legible, and flows nicely.
Fans of neo-noir, like The Last Boy Scout or Hulu’s Shut Eye, will find an engaging story populated with rich characters. As much as we learn, there are still several threads left dangling for Panosian to pull on later. With artwork that matches the subject matter perfectly, this could be a great title for someone looking for a more grounded comic book.
New England born and raised, it didn’t take long for Adam Kubert’s “Wolverine” covers, early 90’s Image Comics and Marvel trading card sets to infect my brain. Consuming all things comic, video game, and cartoon-related, I’ve always had the drive to create worlds of my own, becoming a digital designer, a music producer/performer and a flourishing writer. Some of my earlier work can be found at smartassortments.com