Check out mrorangesoda's review of Lookouts #1.
Writer - Ben McCool
Penciller - Robb Mommaerts
Inker - Mike Norton
Colorist - Rainer Petter
Several years ago, Tycho and Gabe of Penny Arcade fame decided to replace their normal web comic hijinks with 3 pitches for possible spin offs. My favorite at the time was the "Boy Scouts for Future Fantasy Adventurers" Lookouts. They ran a poll to do a full story of one of their spin offs and somehow Lookouts lost. Luckily, the idea had latched on with fans and the creators leading to a full story and now an ongoing comic series with partner Cryptozoic Entertainment, writer Ben McCool, and artist Robb Mommaerts.
The idea behind the series is that this group of young folks earn merit badges for defeating various forest monsters while under the tutelage of their eyepatched Scoutmaster John Lyn...err... Samson. This first issue sees them introduced to their next challenge the Riddle badge.
First off, the art is extremely pretty. Mommaerts has a great style that reminds me of those Disney animation design pages that you wished the finished product looked like. He’s also got a great eye for detail and some top notch design chops - the menagerie in the market is worth spending some time discovering. His panel layouts are pretty standard, but he includes a few nicely timed dramatic angles that really punch up the reading experience. Mike Norton’s inks are good - I assume. I actually have no idea how to judge inks, but I take it that his work enhanced Mommaert's pencils. I’m also a fan of colorist Rainer Petter's work. His colors are bright and fit in with this Disneyesque tone that I’ve decided the this book is settling into.
On the writing side of things, this is a pretty typical first issue. McCool does a good job setting up the obstacle, giving us a taste of our cast, hinting at future conflict, and then sending everyone on their way to the first objective. It’s not the longest story, and is really more of a prologue. It did it’s job (to tease) well, and I look forward to McCool and the gang getting down to business in the second issue. I was a little disappointed that the pitch of the series wasn’t really given to the audience in this issue. Sure, the original Penny Arcade story is available online, but it’s possible this will grab some people not familiar with that brand. The only other disappointment I had was while we get a sense of four of our Lookouts - I’m at a loss for names right now, so lets call them Braggy, Scaredy, Seriously (with a turn coming that may be a little obvious), and Bookwormy. One of the more visually distinctive members (a red headed kid with missing/loose teeth) isn’t given anything to say or do and just stands in the back without any lines. They look feral on the cover; was he raised by wolves or is he future monster food or did they just run out of space? I guess only time will tell.
There’s some additional back matter - an entry on an arboring badge, a neat pin-up of some monsters, and a couple pages of designs. It’s cool to take a look at, though not typically something I’m enamored by. I’m surprised that they didn’t include Mike Krahulik’s variant cover - I guess it could be intended as a retailer exclusive, but it’s available on Cryptozoic’s website. Seems a little silly to not include it (especially with all the Krahulik fans who will be directed to buy the issue).
All in all, Lookouts #1 is a satisfying read. This issue is the first real step into an exciting world and I’m on board. Penny Arcade has a huge audience who have shown that they don’t mind reading comics that are delivered digitally. I’m hopeful this is a big hit, as it'd be great for digital and the greater comics market.
Download the first issue here.
More info can be found here .
Written or Contributed by: mrorangesoda