You can choose you’re friends, but not you’re family, right? And it would seem in the case of Stanley Dance, our down-on-his-luck lovable rogue, and his son, that’s a well worn statement that holds some truth to it. It would appear that Stanley can charm everyone except his son. But then, he did run out on him and his mom when he was a nipper. And as this second issue of Slots by Dan Panosian unfolds (and you can read our interview with him right here) it’s not the only morally dubious behaviour he has shown in the past, either.
Living in a city like Las Vegas takes it’s toll on you and with the city under your skin, sinful, selfish behaviour seemed to be the order of the day for a younger Stanley and his set of friends. The best of these friends having been Les, now Dance’s mortal enemy, and for all the right reasons apparently. Les and Stanley, as the latter’s ex puts it, are ‘different flavoured assholes,’ but assholes nonetheless.
Now that Stanley is back in town it would seem his own son can’t escape his old man, as he finds he’s on the same bill as Stanley in a MMA fighting event. And, he’s not the only one with parental issues. It’s these parent/child relationships that are coming into clearer focus as this issue pans out and as the plot develops. Stanley may well be seeking redemption, but he’s not doing it very well, or with any real reasoning other than to get back into the ring, pay off Les and save The Piggy Bank for an old friend. But, the more we learn about the younger Stanley Dance, the more I felt Les had a point for wanting to make Dance’s life a living Hell. Stanley’s going to have to do more than save a shady dive to make amends methinks.
This is a book where no-one is innocent and everyone is out for something. It’s a reflection of Las Vegas’s underbelly and it reeks of cheap alcohol, blood and piss. And, I love it. It’s a morally ambiguous book that, in this second issue, challenges you to still like Dance. But then, the people around him seem to like him, albeit some do question this appeal once we are given a potted history of Dance and his fallout with Les, and his wife too. And, by the end of this sophomore issue, maybe we don’t like him as much either. He’s certainly an easier guy to punch by the conclusion, which is something you get the feeling his estranged and embittered son wouldn’t hesitate to do.
The artwork, once again, harks back to a bygone age of both Las Vegas and comic books. It has one foot in the sleazy, bad boy past of Las Vegas, while also focusing more on the next generation. Such as Mercy the burlesque dancer as well as Luce, Stanley’s son, working his way up the ranks of the boxing world that’s as integral to Las Vegas as the Mob.
If last issue was mix of Jack Davis and Martin Scorsese this also has echoes of another Scorsese classic; Raging Bull. However, it’s not Stanley who’s harbouring the rage but his son. Family eh? Who’d have ’em?
Slots #2 by Dan Panosian is out now from Image Comics priced $3.99.