Friday, January 4, 2013

A Great Two-Page Spread, Ruined In Print

I read All-New X-Men #5 yesterday and was amazed at the two-page spread that Stuart Immonen pulled off with Jean Grey. I'm including it below, so you can see it. I've been impressed with Immonen's art on this series, and his ability to make characters individual, and most of all, tell the story in a way that enhances Bendis's writing. It's fashionable now to hate on Bendis's writing, and while it has its faults, he's handled the time travel angle well enough to make an unbelievable element acceptable in a story that already has the suspension of disbelief.

Unfortunately, the great artwork in this case got ruined in the printing. The problem with two page spreads is that have to deal with the fold in the comic, and a lot of times, that means that along the center of the spread, there may be some shifting and/or misalignment that will affect how the spread is viewed. An artist that understands this will usually compensate by not placing word balloons or important information for the reader in the center area. The previous pages to this spread actually took the fold into account, so I worry that the plan was for this to be the centerfold and it ended up just after the centerfold, meaning that Marvel Girl had herself misaligned, ruining a great piece of artwork. It totally could have been the centerfold, if ads had been moved around and placed right.

Bummer, at least it's available online.

About this title, though. Bendis has a tendency to have everyone talk in the same general tone of voice, he's gotten better at differentiating characters by how they talk, which is good, given how much talking there is in a Bendis comic. Bendis doesn't use thought balloons, which I enjoy. Thought balloons are something comics do well, but are a facet that comes over from prose and comics' pulp roots. Letting the reader know what the character is thinking works really well when you have one main character, like Batman or Spider-Man, but it got overused through the years, so that we knew what every character was thinking. In a story with a telepath, it can prove useful, but when a story is written in a cinematic style, it's more effective to have the telepath say what he/she is reading or show it in visual terms, like Immonen did here. People really don't think in dialogue that much anyway, so I prefer that when showing thoughts, it's done in images. This is a visual medium after all.