The cover to this issue almost acts in the same way as the covers to Watchmen, in that it stands-in as the first panel to the story within, but it will still not fully prepare you for the bombastic and beautiful splash page that confronts you upon opening up this book. It’s what splash pages should be, I think. And, it certainly lets you know how the focus of this particular issue is. Clue: its not Stanley Dance.
Some may well see it as sexualised, but then Mercy is a burlesque dancer in high demand and is comfortable gyrating in next to nothing because she is accustomed to this after years if dancing in Las Vegas. It’s a way of dressing that simply does not look out of place in this, the most sinful of cities. It doesn’t define her. It’s her uniform as much as a shirt and tie is that of the office drone. Although, I imagine she has more interesting friends.
But, underneath that punk-rock bikini lies a very independent, confident woman who is more than aware of her bankability, but isn’t afraid to play the dumb showgirl when she needs to. Usually around Stanley Dance’s nemesis, the lecherous Les. She’s lived in Vegas all her life and, as such, is a product of this weird, dangerous world, but one who is control of her own destiny. Unlike some of the other down and outs we’ve met.
This isn’t Rocky, so the end of each fight is never a foregone conclusion, especially when the chips are stacked against you, as they often are. Stan may have found a new streak of luck, but all around him seem to have found nothing but bad luck and heartache.
Once again creator, writer, artist, Dan Panosian, has delivered a gritty, great issue and his capturing of both the beautiful and the barbaric is complemented by his page layouts. No better an example of these element combining in perfect synergy is a double page spread that captures Stan son, Lucy’s, boxing match. Each punch in the ring, each reaction from a worried father and gleeful Les outside the ring, are framed in a series of panels that seemed to have been punched this way and that upon the page to emphasis the forces behind each right hand and left hook. Vicious, sweaty, punchy. And that’s just one example from a book full of life and lewd behaviour.
But, make no doubts about it, this is an issue that focuses firmly on Mercy, suggesting that we ain’t seen nothing yet from this hard-edged burlesque dancer. The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree and with her mum’s smaller casino in some jeopardy, thanks to Les, the con is on methinks.
Another Scorsese-soaked issue which would have us look one way when my money’s on Mercy. Let’s see if my bet’s a safe one, or not.
Slots #4 is currently available from Image Comics.