Lookouts comes to us from the mind of the gentlemen who created popular webcomic Penny Arcade, giving us a liovely tale of caution, boyish adventure and sword-and-sorcery. I picked up the first issue of the ongoing book, hoping to find more of what made the webcomic version so great.
Things I liked:
- The book has a firm grasp at sword and sorcery, and manages to incorporate children into a fantastic, violent world in a believable way. Adventurers don't spring up out of the ground, so it makes sense that there's a "training troop" of lookouts to gain knowledge in the ways of the land, blade and magic.
- The children have unique designs and characterizations, giving us the chance to identify with different facets of their personalities.
- While I have some things to say about the art (see below), I did enjoy it, despite my reservations. The colors are this autumn of earthy tones that don't lash out at your eyes, but still maintain some warmth.
- The book isn't afraid to be a little mature, just like the original property; it shows the harshness of living in a world of fantastical beasts - namely, a riddling sphinx.
Things I didn't:
- This book is Penny Arcade in name only. Besides the concept and familiar character designs, there's not much here that would signify a link to the original property - the art styles of Mike Krahulik (original creator) and Robert Mommaerts (Lookouts artist) stand in stark contrast. Sadly, the book doesn't advertise the creative team on the front of the book, so it may lead fans to think that they're picking up something when in reality, they're not.
- The plot is a bit formulaic, and the character tropes even more so. There simply isn't enough time to establish personalities and the story hook in the same issue. Characters are a bit stereotypical, as well.
- The Lookouts don't really do much in this first issue. Like I said above, it's mostly about establishing threats and small bits of personality, but when most of this happens over the course of a long walk, something is wrong.
The Verdict: I wouldn't say this book hobbled out of the gate, but it might have some trouble finding an audience beyond Penny Arcade fans who are seeing a familiar face and might be disappointed. Three Scout Badges out of five, but that could easily change with issue two.