Tag Archives: Panels of Awesomeness

Panels of Awesomeness: Putin and Superman

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

CREATORS: Geoff Johns (Author), Gary Frank (Penciller), Brad Anderson (Colorist)

THE SCENE: After a tragic accident in which Firestorm turns hundreds of people into glass statues, presumably killing them, Russian President Vladimir Putin is prepared to declare war on the United States. Superman arrives to resolve the matter peacefully.

WHY THEY’RE AWESOME: Naturally, Doomsday Clock has been working hard to mimic the tone of Watchmen. The ticking clock, the sense of inevitable impending doom, etc. Taking that into consideration, along with current world events, I’m actually surprised it took eight issues for him to show up. It’s incredibly surreal seeing him on the page like this. Talking to an American icon like Superman, no less.

It’s all very surreal. Uncomfortable, even. Which of course, it’s supposed to be. Especially when we see Putin getting mad, and saying things like “We are at war…” The fact that Gary Frank’s Superman looks so much like Christopher Reeve just adds to the weirdness.

 I really like the way Johns wrote Superman here. Peaceful. Non-violent. Only taking physical action when he has to, saving lives in the process. To some, that’s what makes Superman boring. But to yours truly, it’s just the opposite.

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Panels of Awesomeness: Obi-Wan Kenobi by Mike Mayhew

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

CREATORS: Jason Aaron (Author), Mike Mayhew (Artist)

THE SCENES: Living as a hermit, Obi-Wan Kenobi watches over a young Luke Skywalker as he grows up on Tatooine.

WHY THEY’RE AWESOME: Lately I’ve been obsessed with the version of Obi-Wan Kenobi that Mike Mayhew drew for Marvel’s Star Wars title. Specifically, issues #15 and #20, which hit the stands in 2016.

Mayhew was by no means a stranger to the Star Wars universe at this point. Perhaps most notably, he was the artist for The Star Wars, which adapted an early draft of the original film. For Star Wars #15 and #20, however, he was tasked with depicting entries in what author Jason Aaron called “The Journals of Old Ben Kenobi.”

What I find so interesting about Mayhew’s version of Kenobi is that he didn’t take the obvious route, and draw him to look like Ewan McGregor. But he didn’t go the Alec Guiness route either. Mayhew opted for something more his own. A figure that captures the essence of the character, without being beholden to either one of the actors. That approach isn’t so far-fetched in the world of licensed comic books. Often it’s met with an eye-roll from yours truly.

This, on the other hand? This works. Something about it screams classic Star Wars. As if it’s transplanted from an era before the prequels, where we were still imagining what a young Obi-Wan Kenobi might look like. It achieves a warm and fuzzy nostalgic quality without feeling like it’s trying too hard for it.

Though Jason Aaron has been off Star Wars for awhile now, I’d love to see them revive this journal framework. If they can bring Mike Mayhew back for it, all the better!

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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, this  “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!

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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.

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