Look Between the Panes: 4venger5

7 Feb

from Avengers 4, that’s FOUR

From Avengers 5, that’s FIVE

I’ve always enjoyed the peer panel (here courtesy of Adam Kubert).  Besides eyes looking interesting, what’s happening that it’s so important that so much space be used to focus on the intensity of a character’s gaze?  It’s an excellent tool for melodrama, as well as a nice forceful assist in punctuating any text shared with the image.  In his new Avengers runs, Hickman’s crafting an operatic scenario where many more stares will surely smolder with intent.

Look Between the Panes: Harbinger Eight

29 Jan
...as opposed to The Situation.

from Harbinger 8, page 18, 1st panel

The underrated Lee Garbett does his best work with wonky writers.  His minimal style makes for wan superheroics, but the man’s clear lines and fluid blocking are wielded for maximum dramatic articulation, and illuminate the daffier elements of writers like Dysart, Morrison, and Williams.  In this panel, Dysart’s fantastic take on the pupating teen climaxes in the surprise hatching of a hulking beflaneled bro with fantasies of heavy metal majesty and bad television.  That’s evolution.

Look Between The Panes: Cap 003

17 Jan

In this new on-going feature, I will post favorite or interesting panels and pages as I happen on them, with minimal commentary.  The hope is that, given my perspective on comics modules as complete units in themselves, the featured images’ qualities will be intriguing or curious enough to arouse your interest. The emphasis will be on newly published work (though I anticipate featuring old ones), like this doozy, which came out yesterday:

4th panel of 1st page of 3rd issue of Captain America (2013)

Zola dismisses the binds of history and convention in a deft coup of cheekily truncated villainous motivationeering, beautifully summarized in those defiantly quirked fingers courtesy of Romita Jr.

A 3 Panel Comic

18 Sep


Uncanny X-Force in 19.5 Panels

14 Sep

a piece of the cover to issue 31

Rick Remender’s Uncanny X-Force has been a godsend for lovers of epic, human (and not occasionally gruesome) stories told with meticulous craft and wit.  Though I’d love to unreservedly recommend this book to any fan of action, sci-fi fantasy, or complex character-driven narratives, as with any Marvel title with an “X” in its name, those uninitiated to the history of the included characters, places, and events will undoubtedly hit a few walls, requiring multiple trips to the Googlepedia for reference.  Remender is unapologetic in his leaning on decades of story, but the rewards are plentiful.  Key events are mined for thematic richness and narrative potency, the goods absolutely delivered.

The book is in the third act of its final arc now.  To bid farewell to this monumental work, here is a bevy of my favorite panels from it, loosely organized. Continue reading

The Cut: Which Comics I Had to Cancel

31 Jul

Sunday was the first day I found time to visit the comic shop in a few weeks. I was suddenly face-to-face with how terrible I am with money.  I spent $100 on comics, and I am not a rich man.

So I looked at my debit card and we both made an agreement: “never again.”  Well, the card suggested “never again” I compromised with “never this much again.”

So here are books I’m canceling, and why:

Space Punisher

Okay, so this isn’t really a cancellation, because only one issue was released.  Seeing the teaser images for this initially confused me, because I couldn’t imagine Greg Rucka’’s current Punisher suddenly finding himself in outer space.

But I couldn’t be sure.  I wanted to believe they wouldn’t let everything built up so far in a Punisher series burn for a stupid schtick, but it’s happened before.

Fortunately that’s not what Space Punisher is.  Space Punisher is a short miniseries that’s set in a little bubble universe all its own; a comical reflection of the Marvel U where Doctor Octopus is an actual octopoda alien and Space Punisher is a ponytailed Buck Rogers with a shit list for vengeance.

But it’s just a concept given flesh, with no soul.  It feels written for a nostalgia that the writer has never felt, and its readers can’t recognize.  It’s mostly satire, but without any purpose.  Is it a farce of old space serials?  I don’t think there’s a market for that.  Am I supposed to be laughing, or cheering?  I’m doing neither.

CBR gave this issue four out of five stars and called it “one of the best ‘What If…?’ comics Marvel has published in a long time.”  But I think it’s just wearing a disguise.  It’s trying to hit the right notes so we don’t notice it’s just coasting on references to the regular Marvel U for the sake of a reference.  “Look, it’s an alien they’re calling Barracuda!  Remember Barracuda?  Look, it’s Thanos standing oddly to the side adding nothing to the book!”

If you want to read this, stop now because believe me: you don’t.  You want to read Fear Agent.

But to be perfectly fair

A race of Brood who have merged with the Venom symbiote is an incredible villain.  New and terrifyingly powerful while still being recognizable and grounded in the canon legacy?  It’s not everyday you strike gold like that, especially in a book that doesn’t seem like it was looking.

Continue reading

Comic Capsules: Time and Atrocitus

17 Jul

Favorite panel of the fortnight:

from Parker: the Score

A good book, but the whole time I was lamenting the absence of gritty brush textures and seeping, atmospheric coloring of the first two Parker books.  Now the pastiche is crisp–Cook’s lines and figures resemble Disney cartoons.  And honestly, the whole scenario is pretty insignificant, while the other two are laden with hefty recompense.  Parker barely makes waves.  There are plenty of excellent moments, though, mostly single panels of an ironic or otherwise removed nature.  It’s clear that Cook knows noir.

Speaking of the impact of a single panel, I spot a trend when assessing my favorite writers of comics.  Continue reading

Loaded Barrel Studio’s Grey vs. Jaws: from Inspiration, to Homage, to Rip-Off.

15 Jul

The back cover of Grey has a promotional quote plastered in the biggest bold font they could find: “This graphic novel has ‘soon to be a major motion picture’ written all over it.”

Brendan Deneen, the man who said it, was almost right. Except Grey isn’t destined to be a major motion picture; it already is, and it’s called Jaws.

Continue reading

John Cassaday’s Cover for Uncanny Avengers #1

7 Jul

John Cassaday drawing a comic book series again was all I needed to hear. You have my money, Marvel.

Here’s the info:



Art & Cover by JOHN CASSADAY


Comic Capsules: the Thousand Faces of Thor

3 Jul

Favorite panel of the fortnight:

from FF #19

Honorable mention goes to Talia al Ghul’s hypnotizing gaze in Batman, Incorporated. Dunno how Burnham pulled that off.

With today’s announcement of a new Uncanny Avengers series, it looks like Marvel is slowly incorporating Rick Remender into its exclusive clique of architects. Continue reading


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