Publisher: Image Comics (Skybound imprint)
Writer/Artist: Dan Panosian
Release Date: 8th November 2017
After a strong, character-focused opening issue, Dan Panosian’s Slots continues this week as reformed rogue Stanley Dance’s plan to help his old friend Betsy hits a bit of a speed bump when he crosses paths with his estranged son – one of the many, many people who are pretty damn unhappy about his unannounced return to Las Vegas.
This second issue fills in a lot of the storyline blanks as Stanley regales Greg and Alex with the story of why he was kicked out of Vegas in the first place. It’s a tale that, once again, perhaps doesn’t paint our leading man in the best light, but as he himself reminds us, that’s the former Stanley Dance.
It’s also very heavy on exposition, and the sequences featuring Stanley’s estranged son Lucy don’t engage quite as well as those featuring the man himself. Thankfully however, the charm and innate likeability of our lead once again manage to keep the pages turning throughout. It does feel like an issue that grinds the momentum to a halt, however, and with an interesting premise introduced in the first chapter – Stanley returning to the boxing ring to try and put one over on his former-friend-turned-hated-enemy Les – it’s a little disappointing to see that aspect of the story being put on the back burner here in lieu of more character development and explanation.
It’s still a great book to look at, however, and Panosian’s artwork remains slick and expressive, even if I’m still not personally a huge fan of the excessive ‘screen tone’ effect. The brief flourishes of action – primarily made up of Lucy knocking people on their asses – also have a real sense of energy to them, so it’s reassuring to know that, once they finally come, the boxing sequences are likely to be a visual treat.
Panosian also does a good job with the colouring here, providing a sharp contrast between the flashback scenes and those set in the present day, and using the same enjoyably washed-out palette that gave the first issue such a striking aesthetic.
Ultimately then, while it’s likely going to prove to be an invaluable chapter in the long-term, providing some much-needed context to the events of the series as a whole, there’s no denying that this is still a fairly dry, exposition-heavy issue. That said, with all the backstory now hopefully out of the way, we can finally start digging into the real meat of the story, and the prospect of seeing Stanley Dance lacing up the gloves and returning to the ring should provide more than enough encouragement for readers to pick up the next issue.