Punches to the face, kicks to the groin, expressions of true love. This Week’s Best Comic panels has it all plus Batman.
This week it is odd how many panels include fist as well as other appendages and tools making contact with people’s faces. Now it is not all action. Some sequences of true love forming along with some deep conversations about what it means to have a real relationship and how far can you go to catch a supposed criminal.
When it comes to these panels I do try to avoid the big spoiler moments however if you want to avoid any spoilers know the following comics are included: Green Hornet #3, Batman #100, DCeased: Dead Planet #4, Firepower #4, American Ronin #1, Wolverine #6, Black Widow #2, Die #14, Amazing Spider-Man #49, Deadpool #7, The Dreaming: Waking Hours #3, Far Sector #8, Legend of Swamp Thing Halloween Spectacular #1, Locke and Key: In Pale Battalions Go #2, The Magnificent Ms. Marvel #15, Miles Morales: Spider-Man #19, Moonshine #21, Thor #8
Green Hornet #3
Now that is a punch in the face. If I had one critique of this image it would be that BOK! sound effect does get a little lost within the image. I understand the notion of trying to limit your color palette to specific choices. Anthony Marques uses that limitation to a great effect overall on this issue. Still, that sound effect does not quite stand out as much as it could I’m my mind. Outside the minor quibble what that color choice, I love the design Taylor Esposito put together for that sound effect. It emphasizes the impact yet has that hint of humor that sets the tone for this series. This sets the stage for the story as a whole.
Written By: Scott Lobdell / Pencils & Colors By: Anthony Marques / Inks By: J.Bone / Letters By: Taylor Esposito
Let’s keep the punch theme going. I can be a simple person and seeing Batman punch Joker in the face will nearly always work for me. This one punch has been building since the beginning of the Joker War. So when it happened it was a cathartic moment of true justice. Batman’s posture here is a bit weird and that makes a lot of sense. He’s punching out of emotion so his training is going to breakdown. Bruce Wayne is behind that punch much more than Batman. The Batman punch comes later and is one that you do not get up from as easy.
Dick is back. (Insert cliche’Phrasing” Gif here) Glad to see Nightwing being Nightwing once again. There was an image I almost included before this where he showed more of his humorous side explaining Punchline’s future. He does not believe it is very bright. I guess he is not a fan. I cannot blame him. However, that was more of a page than a panel so I included this instead. Fast, furious, and ends with an exclamation of pain. Overall a good week for punches to the face. It is like Punchline becomes one of the characters from Punch-Out with the way her face contorts.
Writer: James Tynion IV / Artist: Jorge Jimenez / Colors: Tomeu Morey / Letters: Clayton Cowles
Fire Power #4
Let’s take a break from all the punching to get a panel that works due to the words in it. I do not know if I ever saw someone dismantle the simplified way romance stories tend to display love. Real love takes work and worry. This is a bit a dialog that is hard to construct unless you have been there yourself to understand the challenges family life presents along with the rewards. This feels like Robert Kirman’s most grownup series thus far. Chris Samnee is also showing he can make these character moments work just as much as all the ninja action. Kudos to Russ Wooton for doing some of the heavy lifting. This is a verbose bit of dialog and he divvies it out well so it doesn’t become overwhelming.
Writer/Creator: Robert Kirkman / Artist/Creator: Chris Samnee / Colorsist: Matt Wilson / Letterer: Rus Wooton
American Ronin #1
Not only does this panel look cool it is also quite smart. Draw what you need to in order to make each moment work. Now you could not get away with this type of panel all the time. Eventually, you will need backgrounds to convey a sense of location. Herewith the combination of the random debris and the sound effect you can easily understand there was a crash but not one of dire circumstances.
Writer: Peter Milligan / Artist: Aco / Inker: Daivd Lorenzo / Colorist: Dean White / Letterer: Sal Cipriano
DCeased: Dead Planet #4
Why do Tom Taylor’s superhero stories work as well as they do? Because you get consistent moments like this. Too often the mental and psychological toll of a superhero is taken for granted. Taylor inserts moments like this where characters recognize their own humanity. So much has happened with this book I forgot Dinah had not seen John since he was healed. These people actually care about each out and it is good to show that now and then. The eyes here tell the story. Bits of brightness in a world cover in dark, like her joy has to maneuver around the pain to show itself.
Now shifting from a touching moment to something a bit more humorous. I love how this is framed. How their embrace removes John from the shot to reveal Flash and Dr. Fate are there as well. All three just standing there waiting for this makeout session to end. You can remove the dialog together and everything still works. The body language of the characters tell the entire story. I know many were against the 5G movement but I quite like the dynamic of John and Damion being Batman and Superman. They represent those roles well in their own way.
Written By: Tom Taylor / Pencils By: Trevor Hairsine / Ink By: Gigi Bald Assini / Colors By: Rain Beredo / Letters By: Saida Temofonte
Sometimes I choose a panel because it has such an epic design I have to call it out. Sometimes I choose a panel because the dialog speaks to some universal truth in such a way I reevaluate the way I look at the world. Sometimes I choose a panel because it represents everything I love about one of comics’ most iconic heroes. And sometimes I chose a panel because it looks cool as hell. This is the latter. Wolverine’s skull emerging from the fiery pits of hell à la Apocalypse Now is pure comic goodness.
Writer: Benjamin Percy / Artist: Viktor Bogdanovic / Colorist: Matthew Wilson / Letterer: VC’s Sory Petit / Designer: Tom Muller
Black Widow #2
I love the modern-day odd couple that Winter Solider and Hawkeye have developed into. Matthew Rosenburg helped establish this dynamic and now this series is running with it even further. I know some will find this dialog a bit too quippy but I think it works. There are jokes but they never overtake the conversation. Plus fun is a good thing. Embrace it.
So we had a lot of punches to this face this week. Now to go a bit lower. How I love the expression on that goon’s face as he gets a swift kick to his groin. The more I look at it the more hilarious it becomes. When you have projectile salvia flying out of your mouth you know you got hit right where it hurts the most. This guy may be a giant piece of human garbage, but cannot help but feel his pain in this moment. Black Widow’s expression lets you know she has had enough of this and is getting this done as quickly as possible. Those are some angry eyes.
Writer: Kelly Thompson / Artist: Elena Casagrande / Color Artist: Jordie Bellaire / Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Legend of the Swamp Thing Halloween Spectacular #1
It was hard to choose a specific panel for this section of the Swamp Thing special because you do not get the full effect without seeing the entire page. I picked this panel due to how impressive I find the staging. The circular framing to condenses to sequences giving it a necessary claustrophobic feel. Love how the imagery of the child’s shadow dwarfing that of the man who has been inflicting pain to so many. Isolated the image has a lot of power in it. When you place it within this entire sequence it has an additional emotional layer. Of all the stories within this year’s Swamp Thing special this team impressed me the most.
Writer: Vita Ayala / Artist: Emma Rios / Color Artist: Jordie Bellaire / Letterer: Ariana Maher
The Dreaming: Waking Hours #3
This issue of The Dreaming was packed with major emotion. This sequence is a prime example of that. That last bit of dialog hit a bit close to home if I am being honest. We are living in a time and place when you cannot help but feel like the world is coming to an end nearly every single day. From the world being on fire to the global pandemic 2020 has been the year. So when I came across this panel I could not help but empathize with every bit a dialog that was being spoken.
What I dug about this issue was how the story gradually became more and more abstract. The previous panel came off as your off-Broadway play with a cast of one with a shoestring budget. Someone just standing on stage barring their soul for all to see. As the issue concludes we get imagery such as this where the dreaming breaks from the rules of reality. Dissecting everything Shakespeare has been the theme of this comic and they have done that with every ounce of this book. From the cover to the thematic exploration. Now the panels are adding some flair by evoking the look of classic scrolls. There is old wrestling saying about ‘living the gimmick’. This comic is living its gimmick in the best way.
Written By: G. Willow Wilson / Art By: Nick Robles / Colors By: Mat Lopes / Letters By: Simon Bowland
Far Sector #8
If you ever read some of my choices for best covers you know I am a sucker for a good movie reference. So when you use the power of the Green Lantern ring to homage one of the greatest science fiction action films of all time I am going to like it. Despite the fact that Aliens is now owned by Disney there’s no reason we cannot get a shoutout to one of the infamous female heroines Ripley. Hey, it is not like the DC world has not had to deal with Xenomorphs in the past. Sadly that can probably never happen again.
Story: N. Jemisin / Art & Color: Jamal Campbell / Lettering: Deron Bennett
What stands out with this scene is the lighting. How the flashes of the guns illuminate the faces of the gangsters as they shoot with reckless abandoned. This has been a series that combines the genres of classic mob stories and horror. Looking at this panel we get a bit of both of those worlds. Gun violence that brings a stark reality and then this eery smoke to indicate something more supernatural exists as well. I have not loved everything about this series but every so often you get as a standout scene like this.
Writer: Brian Azzarello / Art & Color: Eduardo Risso / Letters & Design: Jared K. Fletcher / Color Assistnat: Cristian Rossi
The Amazing Spider-Man #49
There are people out there who think Tradd Moore is a bad artist. Those are people that are just wrong. Art is subjective, but those people are objectively wrong. The Amazing Spider-Man #49 or #850 had some top tier artists like Ryan Ottley and Chris Bachalo. For me, the creative team behind the short ‘Four Shoes’ short stole the show by taking one of Marvel’s most popular heroes into a more experimental world. Going as far as to have the lettering actual interact with the characters on the page. I know getting an entire Spider-Man series like this would be a tough sell, but the end product would certainly be worth it. Even if a few people choose to be wrong about the art. Oringailty is a good thing comic fans. Stop asking for a repeat of what you already know all the time.
Writer/Artist – Tradd Moore / Colorist: Tamra Bonvillian / Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramanga
Since Die debuted I appreciated the stoic beauty of Stephanie Hans’s art. Fittingly there was a magical quality to the way she created this world. What did not work for me quite as well was her storytelling. She could create great poster-like images but that skill was not quite there yet. Fourteen issues into this series and she is grown a lot as an artist. Her storytelling is stepping up to a major degree. This panel does not fully encapsulate that growth, but the acting here is superb. Here the words spoken are hidden from us. As this character is being informed of what she must do she this reaction tells us how deep a cost she is about to pay.
Writer: Kieron Gillen / Artist: Stephanie Hans / Letterer: Clayton Cowles / Designer: Rian Hughes
Locke and Key: In Pale Battalions Go #2
Now we are moving over to another panel that stood out to me due to how it rendered a character showing gutwrenching fear. Nothing quite says, “Well, this is it!” like a man with his mouth agape having a cigarette gently dangle from his lip as if deviant to follow the laws of gravity. Storytelling is all about building anticipation for what is to come next. As a writer, Joe Hill has a knack for peppering his stories with bits of anticipation. It is not just about building to the big things that come much later down the road. Sometimes it is about making what is in the next panel feel special. When you have art that can construct a reaction like this you will get that result.
Storytellers: Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez / Colorist: Jay Fotos / Letterer: Shawn Lee
Miles Morales: Spider-Man #19
When most people ask to see your manager it is due to them being a self-entitled jerk. If that person is Captain America you can be certain that you did something wrong. Cap had a lot of standout moments in this issue giving out advice in a way that only he can. Those moments work better in context though so I decided to include this panel instead. There are not many characters that carry the type of presence that Cap does. Really it may just be him and Superman. A type of respect that is fueled by admiration and molded by intimidation. So if used sparingly he can be used as a morality measuring stick as he puts people rightfully in their place.
This type of concept is used a lot in comics as characters traverse a frozen panel to wholistically capture the movement of a fight. What can get lost is the fluidity of moving from beat to beat. Here it brings you along for the ride. As Miles kicks evil Miles in the face it takes your eye to the next beat as he punches him in the face. Hey, look more punching in the face. Aren’t comics great? Quick, concise, and to the point.
Writer: Saladin Ahmed / Pencilers: Carmen Carnero & Marcelo Ferreira / Inkers: Carmen Carnero & JP Mayer / Color Artist: David Curiel / Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
The Magnificent Ms. Marvel #15
When looking at this sequence the first reaction may be to commend Dum Dum Dugan for standing up for what’s right. He is striking down someone inane idea to racially profiling Ms. Marvel. To me what is important here is not what Dugan won’t do but what he will. Sure he will tear this random guy a new one for suggesting something that is obviously wrong, however, he is blind to see why his morality is also in question here. In the same breath he condemns racial profile he okays the invading of thousands of people’s privacy for a false sense of security. Knowing the writer Saladin Ahmed I would be shocked if this hypocrisy is not revisited in some way in the future.
“Oh yea, Ms. Marvel is a bit of a badass” – words I said out loud as I watched Kamala Khan literally flick a task force agent away like a pesky ant. In a week full of punches to the face one of the best action beats was a simple flick of the finger. Being able to stretch your body always seems like more of a defensive power than an offensive one. Now fighint against an unjust law we are seeing Ms. Marvel can give out as good as she gets. I had some concerns regarding the ‘Outlaw’ storyline, yet so far it is pushing these characters into some compelling directions.
Writer: Saladin Ahmen / Artist: Minkyu Jung / Inker: Juan Vlasco / Color Artist: Ian Herring / Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
I will also prefer an interesting failure over a mediocre success. I say that because I am not sure if this concept fully works. It is hard not to appreciate that no part of this panel is left unused. Overall the colors are strong and emphasize what they need to emphasize. Also placing an action sequence inside of another action sequence is on-brand for the world’s most meta superhero. Not to what does not work The right side of the page is lacking in impact. Not much happening in the background and looks stiff in comparison to Deadpool’s sword-wielding action. There is something to this idea which is why it caught my eye enough to include it.
Writer: Kelly Thompson / Penciler: Gerardo Sandoval / Inkers: Victor Nava & Gerardo Sandoval / Color Artist: Chris Sotomayor / Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
We had punches to the face so why turn things up to eleven with a magical hammer yielded by a man in an iron suit. If you are not reading this book do not get upset that too many people are able to lift Thor’s hammer now. I have seen that reaction. There is a reason for all this madness. Also, read this series because it is one of Marvel’s best books currently. This panel pretty much speaks for itself. If you are going to have Iron Man bring the hammer down on Thor make it a big moment. I feel that is exactly what happened here.
Writer: Donny Cates / Artist: Aaron Kuder / Color Artist: Matt Wilson / Letterer & Designer: VC’s Joe Sabino /
So those are my choices for the best panels of the week. What are yours?