Slots is a miniseries from Image comics set in the dusty, backstreets of Las Vegas. The central character is an old confidence trickster, Stanley, who has returned to town on a promise he can’t break. From the very beginning Dan Panosian has laid out just how untrustworthy Stanley is.
Panosian spends the second issue digging down into the characteristics of his two leads: Stanley and his son, Luce. Most importantly he illustrates how their relationship works and the affect that one has on the other. On the first page of issue 2 Panosian sets up the current state of the father/son relationship by focusing on their only encounter in the entire issue. Luce rides his motorbike down the empty desert road and passes by Stanley who is out for a run; this is a ruse to lead the reader into believing that Stanley is in training for his up-coming fight. However, Stanley’s narration would seem to suggest something else, something more conniving. Panosian continues the trend he set out in the first issue of giving Stanley a greater insight into the actions portrayed on the page. Stanley has a very clever plan and only he knows what it is but small hints are given away through everything he says.
The opening of issue 2 suggests that Stanley is setting something up and the interaction with Luce on the first page indicates it has something to do with him.
But this first page does something more than hint at Stanley’s great plan, it also illustrates the relationship between Luce and his father. The first page introduces the characters in the desert setting, each long panel has the character on the far right, in the same position. The reader looks towards Luce on his motorbike than directly down to Stanley out for a run. The two panels and the character’s position within them creates a familiarity between the characters. It is a clever grouping of figures to produce the idea of closeness; a relationship between the two. The two panels give the impression that the characters have something in common and infers a relationship.
This idea doesn’t last though as panel 3 and, the reader, is shown the actual vast gulf between the two of them. The never ending road and mountain range in the background come between father and son. One is on the left side of the panel, the other far to the right. Their expressions couldn’t be any different and their mode of transport are also contrasting. Whereas the first two panels may lead the reader to believe there is a similarity between these two, the third panel marks the many differences.
And the animosity between them is further reflected in panels 4 and 5. Panel 4 is a reflection of Stanley, waving with a smile on his face but this is in total contrast to Luce who is snarling and utters his disgust at this father. The fact that Stanley is shown in reflection at this point is also important because Panosian is saying to the reader that what Luce is seeing is not a true image of Stanley. The narrative has already hinted that not everything is as it seems, that this meeting has been orchestrated in some way, and Panosian is emphasising his point. The reader is shown the angry face of the son but only a cheery reflection of the father.
This first page of issue 2 clearer spells out the relationship between father and son. On the one side is anger and hatred, on the other is false affection. Panosian wants the reader to know exactly how they relate to each other from the beginning because the rest of the issue revolves around their history and present situations. From the get go you know how these to relate to each other thanks to five panels and some very simple composition.
Slots is published by Image Comics and created/written/drawn by Dan Panosian, lettered by Pat Brosseau. Issue 2 is out this week and my full review of the issue will be on Comiconverse.com very soon.