Review: The Lookouts # 1 from @benmccool, Rob Mommaerts, @PA_Megacorp, and @cryptozoic
For those of you that don’t remember (or don’t read Penny Arcade), The Lookouts were introduced as part of an initiative some three years ago by series creators Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins to stretch the boundaries of their work by doing things outside of their ordinary video game snark genre (which, itself, actually covers a lot of ground, it just doesn’t often dabble in continuity). The Lookouts are a group of children that are trained to act as the guardians of the woods where they live by obtaining badges like the Magus Arbor badge, obtained for bonding with the forest. The children are in constant peril as they try to earn their badges and learn to protect their home (which exists in a pseudo-Medieval/Renaissance time period filled with magical creatures), and it is a setup that I am particularly fond of.
Now, three years later (Well, two after the series was revisited in 2010), The Lookouts have made their debut as a real comic book (well, as a digital comic book, the real comic book will be released later) written by Ben McCool and drawn by Rob Mommaerts (the story was created by McCool, Holkins, Krahulik, and Cryptozoic president Cory Jones). The Lookouts #1, like so many first issues, is one of setup. There is an ancient threat that has reappeared in the woods and the Lookouts must get rid of the menace and determine its origin. We also start to get to know the four Lookouts that we will be following and getting a sense for their personalities (the young, wide-eyed Boli, the headstrong and aggressive Dore, the silent Eli, the bookish Lark, and their protective Master Samson). It’s an exposition-heavy book, with no real action to speak of (although some pretty clearly teased for the next issue), but it’s a really great read, with the banter flowing easily between the characters, which are already clearly defined since they each fall nicely into existing archetypes.
The art is just fantastic. Mommaerts does a good job of paying homage to Krahulik’s work, which is still recognizable underneath the art of Lookouts # 1, but also bringing his own style to the book, especially with the coloring, which gives the book a very nice look. It is colorful without being blinding. The colors are muted, but Mommaerts doesn’t shy away from using the full pallet.
If you are already a fan of Penny Arcade’s previous work on the Lookouts (you can read it starting here) this is a no-brainer of a pickup. It really does a great job of capturing the essence and fun-loving spirt with an edge of danger created by Holkins and Krahulik in their original work. If you are not a fan of The Lookouts, I would still strongly recommend you pick up The Lookouts #1 and give it a read. It’s fun adventure book with a fascinating, well-thought out world that I’m really excited to see more of. If you demand that your books be grim-dark and super-serious all the time, this may not be for you, but to everyone else, you should probably go over to Comixology and pick it up for $.99. The Lookouts #1 will be available in physical form your local comic book store on August 29, 2012.
Score: 9 out of 10