Category Archives: Panels of Awesomeness

Panels of Awesomeness: All New X-Men #1 by Stuart Immonen

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

CREATORS: Brian Michael Bendis (Author), Stuart Immonen (Penciller), Wade von Grawbadger (Inker), Marte Gracia (Colorist), Cory Petit (Letterer)

THE SCENE: Beast cries out in agony as his body undergoes yet another physical mutation.

WHY IT’S AWESOME: Lately, in making selections for “Panels of Awesomeness,” I’ve tried to think back on specific panels, pages, and images that have stuck with me. Things that, for whatever reason, I still remember after long periods. Great art does that, after all.

All-New X-Men #1 is more than five years old. And yet, this image of Beast breaking the fourth wall and reaching out at the reader is somehow burned into my cerebral cortex. It seems like a pretty simple trick, doesn’t it?. You just draw the hand going over the panel gutter. And yet it creates the most memorable moment in the issue.

Not that I should be the one to say whether a piece of art is “simple” or not. I’ve tried my hand at sketching before. But I’ve never been good at it. God only knows what I’d turn in if tasked with something like this.

I’m actually amazed that this whole “original X-Men come to the present” thing is still going on. Beyond the first several issues of Bendis and Immonen’s original All-New X-Men series, the concept never did much for me. Especially once the younger X-Men started branching out into different books, a la Champions, Jean Grey, etc. I always wondered if they left themselves an out for this whole thing when the story started. For everybody’s sake, I hope so…

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Panels of Awesomeness: Batman #51 by Lee Weeks

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

CREATORS: Tom King (Author), Lee Weeks (Artist), Elizabeth Breitweiser (Colorist), Clayton Cowles (Letterer)

THE SCENE: As he recovers from Selina Kyle leaving him before their wedding, Bruce Wayne’s emotions overcome him while he’s serving jury duty.

WHY IT’S AWESOME: I actually debated on whether to spotlight these pages for “Panels of Awesomeness.” But it’s been awhile since Batman #51 hit the stands, and I still find myself coming back to it. That moment where Bruce Wayne pulls the urinal off the wall and screams out at the reader is branded into my brain. Maybe it’s because of the sheer unusualness of a man ripping a urinal out of the wall.

But in talking about the awesomeness of that page, it’s important to factor in the previous one. Our hero is in full-on Bruce Wayne mode, when he feels this seemingly unprovoked emotional outburst coming on. More than versed in keeping secrets from the world at large, he maintains his calm, excuses himself, and lets loose.

For yours truly, thisĀ  “Cold Days” story has been one of the highlights of Tom King’s Batman run. It’s evocative of the Batman stories Greg Rucka or Ed Brubaker wrote in the early to mid 2000s. Think Gotham Central, Officer Down, etc. It’s got a police procedural/courtroom drama feel to it, along with that emotional undercurrent we see in Bruce. Furthermore, it’s got a heck of a finale. Even if you’re not into the whole Batman/Catwoman marriage thing, it’s worth checking out.

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Panels of Awesomeness: Crowded #1

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

CREATORS: Christopher Sebela (Author, Design), Ro Stein (Pencils), Ted Brandt (Inks), Triona Farrell (Colors), Cardinal Rae (Letters)

THE SCENE: Charlie Ellison has a hit out on her via the murderous crowdfunding app “Reapr.” Not sure why so many would want her dead, she enlists the bodyguard services of Vita Slatter. Vita brings Charlie to her home for safekeeping.

WHY IT’S AWESOME: I mean, do I even need to say it?

As a writer myself, I tend to struggle with settings. How descriptive should they be, how best to weave in those descriptions, etc. Granted, I’m a prose writer. Comics are an entirely different animal, of course.

In any event, I saw this page and my jaw hit the floor. Ro Stein and the Crowded team essentially designed a friggin’ house for their book. I only wish my brain was this visual in nature. It’s absolutely astounding. What’s more I love the simply way it’s displayed. They just took a wall off and let us peer inside.

What’s more, Charlie and Vita are a fun duo. Crowded #1 is worth a look, at the very least. But if you plan on sticking around for awhile, as I do, strap in. This looks like a hell of a ride!

Email Rob at PrimaryIgnition@yahoo.com, or follow Primary Ignition on Twitter.

Panels of Awesomeness: Spider-Man Annual #1

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

CREATORS: Bryan Edward Hill (Author), Nelson Blake II (Artist), Alitha E. Martinez (Artist), Carlos Lopez (Colorist), Cory Petit (Letterer)

THE SCENE: In his early days as a hero, Miles Morales takes on a Skrull who is impersonating Spider-Man!

WHY IT’S AWESOME: Spider-Man Annual #1 was a welcome read this week, as last month Brian Michael Bendis officially put a bow on the ongoing adventures of Miles Morales. At least for now. My understanding is that a new series is in the works. You’d think there’d have to be, what with the Miles-centered Into the Spider-Verse hitting theaters in December.

In the meantime, most of this annual takes place “years ago,” just as Miles is becoming a hero. The book does a little retcon work here, trying to figure out where our hero was in the main Marvel Universe (as opposed to the Ultimate one, where he debuted) around the time of Secret Invasion. When Miles, Ganke, and their friends are attacked by Skrulls at a party in Soho, Miles is forced to take action. As awful icing on the cake, one of them is impersonating Spider-Man!

The ensuing battle gives us this page…

A bit cliched? Maybe. But when it’s done right, I’m a sucker for stuff like this. It’s important to remember how young Miles is at this point. When we first met him, he was only about 13 or 14. And yet, now he’s facing life or death against a monster. Literally, a monster. So to see him calm himself down, and almost rationalize the situation, is really cool. I love the line, “I can’t do this. But Spider-Man could.”

Then, to top it all off, he delivers a Spidey quip. Not a great one, mind you. But good, considering he’s a terrified teenager in a makeshift Spider-Man costume.

That’s another item to note: Nelson Blake II designed Miles’ makeshift Spidey suit for this outing. I dig it. The shirt is a little on-the-nose for what’s supposed to be a spontaneous costume. But it’s still fun. The goggles even give it a little bit of a Spider-Man Noir vibe.

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Panels of Awesomeness: The Walking Dead #162

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

CREATORS: Charlie Adlard (Pencils), Stefano Gaudiano (Inks), Cliff Rathburn (Gray Tones)

THE SCENE: Thousands of zombies plod toward Alexandria.

WHY IT’S AWESOME: The Walking Dead isn’t doin’ much for me these days. They’re shaking up the status quo by introducing a new community and a bunch of new characters. But for yours truly, it’s hard to avoid a sense of “been there, done that.”

This week I got to thinking about the last time the series really wowed me. The above two-page spread from The Walking Dead #162 jumped out almost immediately.

Whether you call them zombies, walkers, roamers, or something else entirely, after all these years it can be pretty easy to take these things for granted. By this point in the series it’s been so long since the outbreak that the characters have, by and large, learned to cope with the presence of the undead in their day-to-day lives. We’ve seen them stabbed, shot, and maimed in so many different ways. At times they almost become an afterthought.

From a story perspective, an easy way to deal with that is to just throw in lots of them. Naturally, The Walking Dead has done this a bunch of times. A big group is usually called a horde. But that word doesn’t quite cut it here, does it? Rick actually sums it up the best…

One of the elements that makes this image so amazing is its depth. It just goes on…and on…and on. We start out with our typical level of gory and shadowy detail in the foreground. Then as we move further into the shot, you can literally count the heads. Until you can’t. It just becomes a blur of decaying flesh and bone.

What seals the deal and really makes this image horrifying is our looker on the left. The backs of a bunch of people’s heads aren’t scary at all. Especially if the threat is moving away from you. But that one straggler is looking out at the reader. He’s looking at you. He sees you. His eyes, dead as they may be, make you a part of the scene. They allow you to feel a piece of that abject terror our heroes do. With one raspy grunt and a turn, he can start a domino effect that can bring that entire ocean of the dead crashing down on you. Note that there’s one walker on the right hand side whose eye we can see just slightly. There’s your second domino.

Ironically, even in an ocean of the dead, it’s still the little things that scare us the most.

Email Rob at PrimaryIgnition@yahoo.com, or follow Primary Ignition on Twitter.

Panels of Awesomeness: Catwoman #1

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

CREATORS: Joelle Jones (Pencils, Inks), Laura Allred (Colors). Josh Reed (Letters)

THE SCENE: In Villa Hermosa, Mexico, Raina Creel, the governor’s wife, removes her gorgeous facade to reveal her true self. Presumably the brains of the outfit, she uses her resources to target Catwoman.

WHY IT’S AWESOME: Last week, the “DC Nation” portion of all the new issues was dedicated to this page, and Joelle Jones’ creative process. One of the things she said was: “Most of the female villains at DC are really sexy, so I wanted my bad guy to be someone who was really grotesque, who had ruined herself with surgery and drugs.”

Mission accomplished.

I’m not sure how much Jones intended to use Raina as a good ol’ fashioned commentary device for our brutally superficial culture. But this page alone speaks volumes in that respect. Grotesque is indeed the word. Not just because of what she’s doing, but the specific snapshots Jones uses. The fake eyelashes pulling at the skin. The saliva dragging from her false teeth. The pinching of the contact lens. And that damn nose. As far as introductions to a new villain are concerned, this is the best I’ve seen in years.

Email Rob at PrimaryIgnition@yahoo.com, or follow Primary Ignition on Twitter.

Panels of Awesomeness: MMPR Anniversary Special #1

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

CREATORS: Sina Grace (Illustrator), Eleonora Bruni (Colorist)

THE SCENE: In this 25th anniversary issue, the Ninja Steel Power Rangers meet Alpha 5, who has come to ask for help.

WHY IT’S AWESOME: Sadly, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Anniversary Special #1 doesn’t quite measure up to some of the epic multi-story annuals that have preceded it. But it does have its moments. For instance, there’s a terrific story about Karone standing trial for her crimes as Astronema.

But in terms of nostalgic feels worthy of a 25th anniversary issue, Sina Grace’s story about Alpha 5 and the Ninja Steel Rangers takes the cake. Frankly, seeing a story where Alpha is still around is a feel-good moment in and of itself. For a long time, the belief among many fan has been that Alpha 5 was destroyed off-camera when Dark Specter captured Zordon before Power Rangers in Space. That’s a heck of a downer ending for such a beloved character.

Grace’s figure renderings are excellent, especially in the big panel at the top. He does a great job of capturing Mick’s face. What’s more, Kelson Henderson, who plays Mick, has played a variety of roles on the show over the years. So to see him standing with Alpha is very fitting for an anniversary issue.

Moving downward, I love the shot of the Rangers over Alpha’s domed head. And because they’re kids, they don’t quite grasp who they’re looking at. Preston actually calls the original Power Rangers “the dinosaur ones.” Notwithstanding, of course, that they’re been a few dinosaur teams at this point…

And then you’ve got the lower left panel of the two characters running from something. There’s a lot of energy here, between the way Mick and Alpha are posed, and what Grace does with the background. To cap it off, we’ve got the ridiculous outfit Alpha is in. It’s utterly nonsensical, but charmingly silly in that Power Rangers sort of way.

Question: Is BOOM! Studios about to lose the publishing rights to Power Rangers now that Hasbro owns the franchise? As many of us know, Hasbro already licenses Transformers, G.I. Joe, and numerous other IPs to IDW. That’d be a raw deal for BOOM, as they’ve really put PR on the map in terms of the comic book industry. Some of the stories they’ve given us these last few years have been simply priceless.

Email Rob at PrimaryIgnition@yahoo.com, or follow Primary Ignition on Twitter.