Loot isn’t National Treasure but it scratches a similar itch, as Emily tries to figure out where Diana Jensen’s treasure map leads.
The first thing that must be said about Loot #1 is K. Lynn Smith’s cover is awesome. As with any comic, the cover is the first thing you see, and Smith, who did the interior art and lettering as well, sets up this series perfectly with the image of Emily wearing a fanny pack and posing like Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark. It’s an image that both sells the issue and is filled with clues to what’s going to happen inside, and while that might not be what people notice right away, they’re fun to pick out afterwards, like the book by Emily’s favorite treasure hunter, Diana Jensen, in the stack of books to the right.
Emily, or Emily Jackson, is the series’ sticky-fingered thief – a treasure hunter with a knack for stealing things but a bad habit of getting caught. For a while Emily’s stealing caused her to bounce from home to home, but she has a foster mom now, and is even using her powers for good by helping her mom catch shoplifters at the store where she works.
Written by Don Handfield and Richard Rayner, Emily’s mom is a wonderful character and a constantly surprising one, too. Instead of trying to curb Emily’s enthusiasm for treasure hunting, she gets upset that Emily doesn’t ask her for help and both mother and daughter have very different reactions to a shoplifter they catch (Smith makes this scene particularly funny by having Emily’s mom mime things behind the shoplifter’s back).
Characters are kept front and center in this issue, thanks to their bright clothes and Smith’s minimal backgrounds. One thing Smith’s art doesn’t quite get across is Emily’s age. At one point Emily’s mom says she’s legal, which probably puts her in her early 20’s, but it’s hard to tell how much time has passed since Emily moved in with her mom and – maybe because Loot is part of Scout’s new all-ages imprint, Scoot! – she seems like she should be younger.
What Emily wants more than anything, though, is to follow Jensen’s treasure map. Recently released online and taken from Jensen’s diaries, Emily thinks she might be onto where the map leads, but she’s not the only person looking for the treasure, and her motives are suspect in a way that only makes her more interesting.
Similar to the clues on the cover, it’s always up to readers to decide whether they want to try and solve the mystery themselves, but Handfield and Rayner actually encourage it. At one point in the issue there’s a warning to stop here if you want to try and crack the clues, and it was cool having that reminder, because while one could argue it’s risky to interrupt readers and take them out of the story, without that interruption you forget to try. It might not come to much (and Loot definitely rewards researchers and history buffs over puzzle solvers) but that interactive quality is nice. Loot isn’t National Treasure, but it scratches a similar itch and adventure fans should check it out.
Loot #1 is on sale starting January 27th from Scout Comics.