How Layouts Drive Tension in Death of the Inhumans 3

by Drew Baumgartner

Death of the Inhumans 3

This article containers SPOILERS. If you have not read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Deep, thoughtful analysis is a rarity in the world of comics criticism. While it’s easy enough to dismiss itinerant continuity policing or grumbling about plot-holes as braindead drivel, there’s a much more insidious kind of shallow analysis that suggests that there are simple aesthetic rules that govern the medium. It may be possible to identify trends that are true for even a very large sample of comics, but there are just as many exceptions to those “rules.” Truly deep analysis, on the other hand, can introduce us to new analytical tools that can be applied to many other comics, even if the conclusions we draw from those applications have no universal trend. Such is the case with Matt Fraction’s “cover version: daredevil 230 and cutting techniques,” one of my favorite comics analyses of all time. I highly recommend taking the time to read that piece, but the short explanation for why I love it so much is that it introduced me to ideas I had never encountered before. Most important was the thought that the invisible structures that guide our reading experience might be only just invisible, and that we can unearth them by paying close attention to things like panel counts and layouts. Fraction identifies a triangle motif in Daredevil 230 that is obvious enough on some pages, but on others just loosely describes the areas of the layouts we might most pay attention to. Using those same techniques, I recognize a similar pattern on some pages of Death of the Inhumans 3, though they elicit a decidedly different effect. Continue reading

Death Roulette in Death of the Inhumans 2

by Patrick Ehlers

This article containers SPOILERS. If you have not read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

The title Death of the Inhumans makes one specific promise: some Inhumans are gonna die. But y’know, this is a comic book, and odds are just as good that the title is sensational hyperbole that they are of the title being literal. Writer Donny Cates and artist Ariel Olivetti spend the entirety of issue 2 insisting on three simple things:

  1. The Inhumans who have been killed already.
  2. The Inhumans left to kill.
  3. Vox’s ability to kill any Inhuman.

By the end of the issue, the reader is forced to take the threat of the title seriously. Cates and Olivetti cash in on that seriousness with one hell of a gut punch. Continue reading

The Futility of Definition in Inhumans: Judgment Day 1

By Patrick Ehlers

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Reading any on-going comic is an exercise in accessing memory. If a writer, or an editor, is feeling particularly generous, there might be a note on the page to jog that memory a bit. Can’t remember what’s up with Karnak? Don’t worry, an editorial note has that addressed. Can’t remember what Swain’s power is? A narration box has your back with a one-word explanation: “Empath.” But these characters are too complex for that, right? Al Ewing’s Inhumans: Judgment Day 1 explores the limits of definition as it applies to a cast of characters that is both constantly changing, and constantly changing back. Continue reading

IvX 1

ivx1

Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing IvX 1, originally released December 14th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Spencer: Last month’s IvX 0 did a fantastic job of summing up the conflict between the Inhumans and the X-Men and showing why their going to war was only a matter of time. Charles Soule, Jeff Lemire, and Leinil Francis Yu’s IvX 1, though, is the issue where that powder keg finally ignites into all-out war, and war…well, war is ugly. IvX 1 plays up the fun of watching these two groups duke it out, but also the pain and sadness inherent in its scenario. Continue reading

All-New Inhumans 5

all new inhumans 5Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing All-New Inhumans 5, originally released March 16th, 2016.

Spencer: By this point in my life, I’ve consumed plenty of media where the main characters weren’t in the right, or perhaps where the audience is even meant to root against the protagonists. Still, despite all that experience, I tend to give my main characters the benefit of the doubt; I like to believe I should be rooting for them, and that they at least believe they’re doing the right thing, until I’m unequivocally proven wrong. Things haven’t gotten dire enough yet to turn me against the Inhumans by any means, but All-New Inhumans 5 does mark the point where I’m starting to question, if not their motives, then certainly their methods. Continue reading

Uncanny Inhumans 2

uncanny inhumans 2Today, Patrick and Michael are discussing Uncanny Inhumans 2, originally released November 18th, 2015.

un·can·ny
ˌənˈkanē/
adjective
 1. strange or mysterious, especially in an unsettling way.

 

Patrick: In light of the recent nuking and un-nuking (or possibly re-nuking) of the Marvel Universe, readers are reasonably expecting some straightforward adventure storytelling. What better way to get back to the basics of these characters than by comfortably setting them in a familiar world? But writer Charles Soule seems to be after anything but “comfortable” — only two issues in and it looks like he just wiped most of the Inhumans out of existence. The series is possessed by this insane confidence, with little regard to how strange, mysterious or even unsettling it becomes. They’re not joking around when they call this thing “uncanny.” Continue reading

Uncanny Inhumans 1

uncanny inhumans 1Today, Mark and Spencer are discussing Uncanny Inhumans 1, originally released October 21st, 2015.

Mark: Black Bolt is having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. He, Triton, and Reader travel back 13,000 years to Attilan in hopes of retrieving Black Bolt’s son and heir Ahura. But in doing so Black Bolt breaks his word to Kang the Conqueror, and Kang doesn’t take very kindly to the betrayal. He transports the Inhumans to an island where a hydrogen bomb is about to be dropped, and then beams in some dinosaurs and WWI troops for good measure. You do not want to cross Kang the Conqueror. And if that weren’t bad enough, moments after Reader is able to get them back to their time by the skin of his teeth, Black Bolt walks in on Medusa making out with the Human Torch. Today is just not Black Bolt’s day. Continue reading

Inhumanity 2

inhumanity 2 INH

Today, Shelby and Ethan are discussing Inhumanity 2, originally released January 29th, 2013.

inhumanity div

Shelby:

Death is lighter than a feather. Duty, heavier than a mountain.

Shienaran proverb, The Wheel of Time

With great power, comes great responsibility.

Ben Parker, Spider-Man 

Continue reading

FF 16

ff 16

Today, Ethan and Drew are discussing FF 16, originally released January 22nd, 2013.

Ethan: With the arrival of FF 16 Scott Lang’s campaign to end Doom is itself at an end. Even though Doom was the cause of the crusade, it’s always been more about Scott — this finale is no different. As Scott confronts the mortal enemy of the Fantastic Four and the man who killed his daughter, there’s never going to be a better time to prove who or what the latest incarnation of Ant-Man has become. Unsurprisingly, Matt Fraction and Lee Allred do not disappoint.

Continue reading