So last week there wasn't a book coming out, so I took a week off. And this week, there IS a book coming out, and I... very nearly took a week off. I'm pretty under the weather this morning, and as always the deadlines are looming, so we're going to keep it simple...
WHAT'S OUT TODAY?
X-MEN RED #13, that's what!
This is the final build-up issue before the Genesis War, so it's no surprise that Genesis is in it. In fact, she plays a pretty huge role, gatecrashing the Great Ring meeting set up to discuss her return. Is she going to be nice about it? She is not. And she's got the Annihilation Staff in her hand - last seen dominating all of Arakko and marching on Otherworld in helmet form in X of Swords - so you know it's about to get even worse. Stellar artist Jacopo Camagni joins me to bring Genesis' wrath to life.
What else? Do we have time for a Marvel Panel by Panel?
MARVEL PANEL BY PANEL
Let's find out!
I've referred back to this panel more than once, in different ways - "you want to see my creation" was sampled for AVENGERS: NO ROAD HOME, our first glimpse of the House Of Ideas (originally thought of by Jim Zub and pitched to myself and Mark Waid in a very nice sushi restaurant in Manhattan). The idea I had was that The One Above All - Marvel's monotheistic God figure, counterpointing the Distinguished Competition's The Presence - should speak in samples from Marvel Comics #1, and since he was talking to the Vision at the time, it's good if that came from the Human Torch story. (I won't get into how they're related/not related in this space - look it up, it's a fascinating saga of duelling retcons.) Anyway, actually putting that together was so difficult that a) I cut it down to just a couple of lines in the end, and b) I've taken a very different approach with TOAA ever since.
And then, of course, the "framing story" in MARVEL COMICS #1000 built itself around MARVEL COMICS #1 and heavily referenced the page we're about to slowly pick out way through. And none of that means anything, because you wake with a sudden start. The year is 1939 and you are a child who until recently had ten cents. Now you have a copy of Marvel Comics #1 and you're on the second page of the Human Torch story. This future cannot come to pass, Rome must burn etc.
So what can we glean from this panel alone? It's a very effective bit of exposition, telling us everything we need to know from Horton's one-sided conversation while remaining naturalistic. The caption hovering below is interesting, since it chronologically comes before the action above - was it assumed that captions were always read first? The effect is to tell us about an eerie silence that we weren't here for. In these days of decompression, we'd show that - a silent panel of Horton brooding over his phone, the shadows lengthening, maybe a caption doing solo duty in the panel if it's the 70s and baroque narration is in. But it's 1939, you are Hannibal in his tent and most importantly in comics space=time and we don't got the time, mac, I'm walkin' heah, enougha dis scientist guff we gotta get to da meat. So it's a dutch angle, half a phone conversation and a little spice in a caption and we're moving on. And rightly so - we can't be expected to hear about a Scientists' Guild coming and not immediately want to meet them. And they're just a panel away.
BUT FOR NOW, THAT'S YOUR LOT
A day late but hopefully not a dollar short! Once again, after my brief hiatus, this is where to find me. Love and strength to all who need it, and I'll play us out with "Digital Love" by Daft Punk.