In my first review of the hilarious sci-fi comic series that is Lou Scannon, I noted that one of the strengths of the first five issues of the series was that each issue could be read in isolation of the others due to their episodic nature. With Issue 6, “Loose Cannons”, the pattern seems to finally be broken, as this issue is rather heavily focused on the (now many) arc plots established in the previous issues. While it’s nice to see Lou a bit more goal-oriented, this is ultimately a bridge issue; it pushes the overall plot forward and we get some real development, but its own internal plot falls a bit flat.
“Loose Cannons” opens strong with Lou and Vic interrogating the elusive Bart Ender about the origins of his medallion, which is similar to Lou’s. Bart sends Lou to the dangerous planet of Amper, but we then learn that Bart has actually been working with the Korrogos Pirates, manipulating Lou into a trap in outlaw space. While Lou takes the bait, blinded by his desire to uncover the mystery of his origins, Bart is visited by another of Lou’s enemies, Captain Tarpa, who sets a course for Amper as well. As you can imagine, the climax gets a bit… explosive, with a three-way space battle that ends in true Lou fashion. Let’s just say many a cannon is loosed.
I’ll be the first to admit to being intrigued by Lou’s Lone Star-esque investigation of his medallion as well as really wanting to see just what is on Dax’s datapad, but the rest of the storyline wasn’t as gripping as I hoped. There’s a lot going on here, and the payoff just wasn’t as big as I wanted… which means the real problem is that now I’m dying for Issue 7 so I can find out what happens next! Perhaps that’s the real success of this issue; it may not be my favourite of the bunch, but it certainly achieved its goal of keeping me invested in the series as a whole.
“Loose Cannons” also had plenty of great moments brimming with the humour we’ve come to expect from Lou Scannon. All the scene’s with Tarpa, especially the visual gag about his pursuit of Lou yielding more mockery than anything else, were a particular high note. Unlike the other issues, there didn’t seem to be a specific target that was being spoofed (I said before that Issue 4 is perhaps the strongest in no small part because of its close ties to Alien). However, this did not diminish the laughs and indeed the issue was able to build a bit more of Lou’s world in its own right. Indeed, Crysta gets a little bit more to do this time around (even getting a joke in), and I for one hope she features a bit more in issues to come.
One of the best things about Lou Scannon is that the artwork seems to be ever-improving. I went back to look at Issue 1 and was surprised at the remarkable contrast in quality with the artwork in Issue 6. The creators have certainly pulled it together, pushing the boundaries of black and white with an ever increasing palette of greys. This may sound like an odd compliment, but I appreciated the fact that you could always tell where the light source was in a given panel (save those in space, which is always wonky anyway). For instance, the consistency of the glare from Bart Ender’s TV and various other monitor screens. It also feels like the characters have settled into their looks, evolving to the place where they look the way the creators always intended.
It’s clear that the creators are playing the long game, and that means issues like this will be necessary to push the story forward. While it may not provide the same one-off enjoyment as the previous issues, it does serve to help the reader reinvest in the arc stories and did help pull together a few dangling threads. If anything, this issue made me even more excited for what will come next than I was before.
And maybe I’m just complaining because I know it’s going to be a long wait, and I wanna know what’s on Dax’s datapad dammit!
Lou Scannon Issues 1-6 are all available for purchase here. We think the bundle would make for a pretty nifty Christmas gift for any comic and/or sci-fi lover!