Written by Don Handfield and Richard Rayner, Illustration and Letters by K. Lynn Smith.
Loot is the story of Emily Jackson, a foster child bouncing around from home to home, as a result of her love of treasure hunting, which most would just call stealing. This wouldn’t be an issue I’m sure for most, but when the treasure Emily hunts is family heirlooms, well that then becomes a problem. She is then lucky enough to be taken in by her arresting officer Viola Jackson. Now grown up, Emily works for her retired mum in loss prevention during the days but in her down time, she uses her love of theft to continue her treasure hunting adventures.
This series is written by the CMO of Scout Comics, Don Handfield. I don’t know too much about the day to day runnings of Scout, but to be that high in a company and still find time to write a book I think is a great accomplishment. Don also specifically designed this book for the young readers line. This is something that I actually find close to my heart. I see books on the stand and majority are the teen range. Some publishers have the continued adult range and now started to look into younger readers more. This is a great way to get the younger generation to start reading and develop their minds. So by having a fun adventure story like we have here with Loot, I’d say this is one of those stories to help the future avid comic reader.
Don does a great job of setting up the characters, introducing Emily in a way that may seem cliché by adult standards but still finds its feet and manages to not be too cheesy, as it perfectly encompasses the character. He also sets the stage for her love of stealing within the first few pages. I have to say I found this very refreshing; it’s been too long since I’ve seen a new character with depth. Too often these days we get female characters with no limitations or obstacles, which ends up creating an arrogant and unlikeable character. Here however we see Emily in her “adventures” and we are given a character with a flaw so big that in another character it could cause them to be unlikable. Yet here, with only a few words, we go from villainous moves to hero status: “everyone knows it’s not stealing if you put it in a museum”. For me this also draws a big comparison to Indiana Jones, which I do believe is the point, considering the front cover art.
Unfortunately for me there is one flaw from a writing perspective. After the initial opening and Emily gets taken in by Viola, we then see her talking to friends in the Treasure Hunt Club. With no explanation of the time jump, it took me until she was at work and her mum saying you’re grown up now to realize it. This threw me a little as I had no idea of her aging. I think if a book will jump like that, it’s necessary to keep the reader informed of any time change.
The artwork by K. Lynn Smith was mostly good and consistent throughout. I myself am rather partial to more cartoony designs, so I enjoyed it as soon as I saw the opening panel. I also rather enjoyed the simplicity of the panel layout; a lot of creators can go over the top with exploring panel boundaries, so it’s nice to have something that’s more traditional. I do think there are a couple of panels that aren’t up to the standard of the rest of the book and that’s a shame, but I don’t think it’s possible to reach such perfection. Those panels in question are close-ups of faces (as seen in an example below).
However, these few issues I have are without a doubt dwarfed by the enjoyment I got out of this first issue. Despite being a book designed for young readers, I don’t see why readers of any age wouldn’t enjoy this.
Loot is published by Scout Comics, and you can pick up an ashcan copy from your local comic shop for $1.99 or order online at www.scoutcomics.com