Welcome to the Best Comic Panels for the Week! This is where I pick out some of my favorite panels from the world of comics this week.
I do keep away from spoilers but to be on the safe side the following comics are included: Future State: Dark Detective #2, Year Zero #3, Colonel Weird: Cosmagog #4, Wolverine #9, Usagi Yojimbo: Wanderer’s Road #3. Batman: White Knight Presents: Harley Quinn #4, Taarna #2, Future State: Aquaman #1, Batman: Black and White #2, The Department of Truth #5, Deadpool #10, Future State: Superman vs. Imperious Lex #1, Strange Adventures #8, Spawn #314, Future State: Batman / Superman #1, Marvel #4, Future State: Legion of Superheroes #1
Future State: Dark Detective #2
Looking at this panel I get major Katsuhiro Otomo vibes from this panel. Even as someone with limited manga knowledge, knows about the infamous motorcycle moment in Akira. Great framing as we look upon an impossible task in front of The Dark Knight. How the light illuminated the sky just enough to make the sky of drones appear enormous. The design of that bike is also sharp as it appears futuristic without looking ridiculous.
Writer: Mariko Tamaki / Art: Dan Mora / Colors: Jordie Bellaire / Letters: Aditya Bidikar
Year Zero #3
What a great reveal shot this was. Where a group of survivors goes from hope assured to the midst the extreme danger. It was a bit obvious this was going to happen, but the execution was still strong. The sheer amount of zombies was a bit overwhelming. Ironically looking like a sea of zombies awaiting them as they hit land. Coloring also plays a key role. That orange jacket sticks out like an orange bleeding thumb next to all these grayed out zombies.
Writer: Benjamin Percy / Artist: Juan Jose Ryp / Colorist: Frank Martin / Letterer: Andworld Design
Adam Kubert had some fantastic art in this issue of Wolverine. There were these wonderful pages I almost included that took one central image and filled nearly every panel. A few were left open to showcase the general progression of the story. I choose this group of panels because it is a different take on a Wolverine action scene. You may not have a lot of detail but the coloring has some creative effects. Coloring is purposefully messy to encapsulate the messiness and make the bloodshed fill the air.
Writer: Benjamin Percy / Artist: Adam Kubert / Color Artist: Frank Martin / Letter & Production: VC’s Cory Petit / Design: Tom Muller
Colonel Weird: Cosmagog #4
So this is a bit of a cheat as this is more of a page than a panel. However, I could not include just one of these panels for this to make sense. Colonel Weird has been this series where you have all these converging timelines. Time jumps are the norm, but here we see all these moments occurring simultaneously. Showing how Weird experiences time not in a linear fashion. Their placement on the page helps demonstrate this effect. How they are laid onto of one another yet are a bit crooked. As if they were cut from different pages and forced into this one page. As if we are looking at a scrapbook of his life. Showing how you can use the tools of the medium to further major themes.
Writer: Jeff Lemire / Art and Letters: Tyler Cook
Usagi Yojimbo: Wanderer’s Road #3
Stan Sakai is showing when it comes to storytelling and fight scenes he clearly still one of the best. He does not use quick panels like this very often so when he does the action seems like it is at warped speed. Each beat leads right into the next and you know exactly where each movement starts and ends. Usagi looks crazed in this. Similar to the page design, he is outside of his normal style. Anger and perhaps fear have taken him to act outside of himself. Especially in the last panel, as the slash across his cheek has caused him to react with rage.
Writer/Artist/Letterer: Stan Sakai
This issue of Taarna had artist Patrick Zircher showcase his ability to demonstrate scale to an enormous degree. Here’s an example of just that as Taarna comes face to face with a giant serpent. Have to also call out the lettering here. It has great placement as it surrounds the creature to represent the power that comes with its entrance. That yellow fringe, red filling, and massive size further the presence of this massive beast. Creating heroes is all about placing them in situations of impossible odds. Here Taarna is not having a lucky day.
Out of one fire and into an even bigger fire. You establish an impossible obstacle then up the ante even more. Again showing Patrick Zircher’s skill with massive scale. Part of making scale is not just size but also power. This panel has a lot of power. When you compare the ice and snow to the serpent’s entrance those chunks are bigger and more numerous. Motion lines are thicker to represent both speed and strength. Similarly, lettering plays a key role again. Love the little bit of Taarna jumping through the large ‘O’ to represent how close this blow came.
Writer: Stephanie Phillips / Illustrated: Patrick Zircher / Lettered: Marshall Dillion / Colors: Jessica Kholinne
Future State: Aquaman #1
One of my favorite silhouette panels of the week comes from Future State: Aquaman #1. There is a level of tranquil beauty to this with that use of blue. Part of this is due to this character briefly achieving the freedom he so deeply seeks. That distance between them speaks volumes as they merge together and he separates with rapid speed. Also, there are people riding sharks. That is always going to look cool. When you put them in this context it is even better.
A big week for massive creatures! Fitting considering all the talk about King Kong vs Godzilla trailer this week. Wonder what is going on that so much of this escapist storytelling is in the public consciousness. Looking simply at this panel that creature design is loads of fun. This part island, part kaiju, part turtle combine to make this massive monster. Again with the grandscale as our heroes are nothing more than small blimps swimming in the ocean. Even the lettering dwarfs them in size.
Writer: Brandon Thomas / Artist: Daniel Sampere / Colorist: Adriand Lucas / Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Batman: Black and White #2
Mitch Gerads is showing why he is one of the best artists doing superhero comics right now with these panels. The pain and failure Batman is feeling is right on his face. Remove the dialog and you still no everything he is feeling and saying. We see the facade of Batman slip. True vulnerability is shown as Batman faces failure. If anything this is not Batman. This is Bruce Wayne. That scared child unable to save the people he loved is once again coming out. Even in that failure he still remains a hero. He showed up when he was needed.
Writer: Tom King / Illustrator: Mitch Gerads / Lettered By: Clayton Cowles
Strange Adventures #8
Now we go from a moment of deep emotionally scarring to one far more humorous. Batman being comedic is nothing new. Just watch Adman West’s take on the character. This is not Batman ’66 though. Instead, this is Batman being funny unintentionally. I know people complain that Tom King’s comics can be too dark, but here he shows a bit of necessary levity. As someone who has a great deal of difficulty learning new languages, I could relate to knowing Batman even struggles from time to time.
Writer: Tom King / Artist: Mitch Gerads / Letterer: Clayton Cowles
The massive monster theme this week even spread to the pages of Spawn. A double ax handle blow that would do Randy ‘Macho Man’ Savage proud. Placing the entire scene within the ‘POW” sound effect helps enhance both the power and speed. Those motion lines center all the attention and energy to the lifeless body of Spawn. His infamous cape flies in the air to complement the power of that punch. Even after all these years, we get artists like Carlo Barberi bringing their all to this book. Have to call out Jay David Ramos colors as well. Every piece is distinctly in its place. The red, blue, and orange work well off of one another.
Script/Plot: Todd McFarlane / Art: Carlo Barberi / Lettering: Tom Orzechowski / Colors: Jay David Ramos
I picked this panel because it felt like a cover image placed in the middle of the actual story. Maybe even a movie poster of a 70s science fiction film inspired by pulp stories like John Carter from Mars. You have a combination of so many different aspects of the Marvel universe along with time and space. Epic is the one world that could properly describe a tale of this magnitude.
Storyteller: Daniel Acuña / Letterer: VC’s Ariana Maher
Future State: Legion of Super-Heroes #1
Say what you will about Brian Michael Bendis’s run in DC he at least gave us this moment. Bouncing Boy has apparently hit its final form as he flies through spaceships like they are nothing. His mass has reached such a large degree that he cannot even fit on one panel anymore. Bouncing Boy lives up to his name as he looks like someone has filled him with air. More flying blimp than human at this point. Although he may not have the body of Adonis, he clearly has some massive power beyond that size.
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis / Artist: Riley Rossmo / Colors: Ivan Plascencia / Letters: Dave Sharpie
Future State: Batman / Superman #1
Why is Superman one of my favorite superheroes? Because of moments like this. After saving a young boy from taking his life he goes a step further. The kind hand on the shoulder and the silliness to take the time to talk speaks to his heroism. It is not just about the grandiose moments. Sometimes a simple conversation can save a life as well. You cannot help but think this was inspired by the iconic moment in All-Star Superman.
Superman can talk the talk and walk the walk. With the slight flip of the wrist, he takes down this goon with little effort. The Man of Steel punching a man is nothing new. So why choose this panel? Lettering. Yes! Once again lettering is the key to make a panel standout. How the ‘POW’ so casually loops around his hand. In the risk of sounding hyperbolic, I do not think I’ve seen a technique quite like this before.
Writer: Gene Luen Yang / Artist: Ben Oliver / Colorist: Arif Prianto / Letterer: Tom Napolitano
Future State: Superman vs. Imperious Lex #1
For those that do not know I have a rule that I include any panel that makes me laugh out loud. There were plenty of moments I could have included from this issue but this stood out the most. Obviously, the line is funny. No need to explain it further. Although the body language Steve Pugh renders is great as well. He meshes both the hesitation of knowing he is speaking out against the all-powerful Lex Luthor and the wondering of why he has to say the obvious out loud.
Writer: Mark Russell / Artist: Steve Pugh / Colorist: Romulo Fajardo Jr. / Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual
Another example of a panel that made me laugh. This is just a great written joke. Simple but a bit brilliant. This is one of those panels that is going to be shared on social media for some time.
Writer: Kelly Thompson / Penciler: Gerardo Sandoval / Inkers: Victor Nava, Gerardo Sandoval / Color Artist: Chris Sotomayor / Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
The Department of Truth #5
Now to change the tone completely. The Department of Truth has given artist Martin Simmonds the chance to do a lot of new and original things with this comic. No need to follow the normal rules of the medium. Here Cole Turner is pushing himself into situations outside his normal. If you were to title this the name, “Self-reflection personified’ would work well. It is fitting we see the image of Cole in those sunglasses and not his victim.
Writer: James Tynion IV / Artist: Martin Simmonds / Letterer: Aditya Bidikar / Designer: Dylan Todd
Batman: White Knight Presents: Harley Quinn #4
My favorite panel of the week comes from Batman: White Knight Presents: Harley Quinn #4. Joker/Jack Napier falling into a vat of acid has happened countless times. Despite the repetitive nature of this scene it still stands out. Cinematic is the word that comes to mind. Playing cards fill the air to add a bit of spice. Joker’s face is perfect. True fear is in those eyes. His body language speaks to desperation. This reminds me a lot of Hans Gruber’s face as he falls down Nakatomi Plaza. Iconic meets iconic.
Story: Sean Murphy, Katana Collins / Script: Katana Collins / Art: Matteo Scalera / Colors: Dave Stewart / Letters: Andworld Design