From what started as a quick six-page story over on Penny Arcade has found its way into an ongoing series from Cryptozoic Entertainment. Lookouts #1 gets the Major Spoilers treatment just around the bend.
Writer: Ben McCool
Pencils: Robb Mommaerts
Inks: Mike Norton
Colors: Rainer Petter
Letters: Tom Long
Editor: Cory Jones
Publisher: Cryptozoic Entertainment
Cover Price: $0.99
Previously in Lookouts: A long time ago, on a website called Penny Arcade, Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik created a fantasy world center around a Boy Scouts like group of boys, called the Lookouts, that are tasked to learn about the Eyrewood Forest in order to protect its travelers. The duo fleshed out their idea in a six-page story, which received a large enough response that Cryptozonic picked up the title, placed a new creative team on it, and is now putting out Lookouts as an on-going series.
WHAT MEN MUST KNOW
We come into the story on a family traveling through a dark and dreary forest AS they come upon a multi-story tall, braided beard Sphinx. As the creature mesmerizes the tiny children, the Sphinx spills out a riddle and will not let the family pass until the correct answer is given. The little girl gives a cute, but wrong answer, and, well, the family doesn’t make it to Yarrow.
And now we leave the sad, story setting up portion for a group of happy-go-lucky boys walking through a monster-laden village. From there, their leader takes them to a hut where a village leader gives them their next task to earn another merit badge. I enjoyed the manner in which the story is being set up with village children being raised to protect their village by ramming swords through woodland monsters and figuring out the mysteries of Eyrewood Forest.
Story wise, the second reason that I enjoyed this issue was the fantastic use of troupes. So far within the Lookouts group we have: Dore, the kill first, ask questions later guy. Boli, the small, scared kid who, most likely, will have to overcome his fear to accomplish the goal. Then there is Samson, the Lookout’s leader, who is a no-nonsense guy who wears an eyepatch (surely those two go hand-in-hand by now). Yes, the characters may all fall into a slot, but they are done well enough that I’m completely fine with it.
To finish it all off, after the actual story finished the Eyrewood world was built up a little more with pages out of the Lookouts’ manual. The one page went into detail about the Magnus Arbor badge with its three levels (Honor, Journeyman, and Master) and what the recruit would need to accomplish to earn each. I always liked when Locke and Key expounded on the different keys within that series, and it is a welcome addition here.
BOYS MUST LEARN
Simply put, Eyrewood Forest pops off the page in this issue. Robb Mommaerts has illustrated a world that is both terrifying in one hand but warm and friendly on the other. None of his characters look the same, but it’s easy to tell that they have come from the same geographical area. The riddle sphinx looks noble when standing guard, putting forth his riddles, but when he goes in for the kill his appearance undergoes a tonal shift. Mike Norton’s inks complete the art style, and with that, Lookouts is an artistically satisfying experience.
BOTTOM LINE: GRAB IT EARLY, IF YOU CAN
Officially, Lookouts #1 doesn’t come to your LCS until August 29th, but you can head over to comiXology right now and download it for a mere $0.99. It is essentially stealing from every person involved by getting this comic for less than a dollar. Even if you don’t want to read this fantastic first issue, at least download it to make up for how cheap everyone is downloading it. Lookouts #1 earns a well deserved 4.5 out of 5 stars.