1. Shalvey + Bellaire = Team Supreme on “Injection”
Warren Ellis’s “Injection” has become the perfect showcase for the synergy between artist Declan Shalvey and colorist Jordie Bellaire (lettered here by the great Fonografiks). It’s moody, atmospheric, and super-weird; all qualities on display in the series’ last arc about Brigid Roth’s examination of strange rock formations deep in the Irish (??) countryside.
We get moments like this one, where dialogue, lettering, layout, figure, and colors are all simultaneously perfect:
Shalvey also never shies away from detailed clutter, which Bellaire handles perfectly, and even adds a naturalistic light source.
Shalvey and Bellaire also get to visually shift the gears of the narrative as we move between Brigid’s view of the world and the real world itself:
Over the course this sequence, the work together to bring us from the heart of a magical lightning storm:
Right to the twilit aftermath:
And then an abrupt cut to daylight:
Perhaps most audaciously, they merge all their talents into a visual representation of some kind of technomagical teleporter. You don’t really get a sense of exactly how it works from this image, but you also kind of do, right?
2. Geoff Shaw’s poetry of motion on “Thanos”.
There’s so much to love about Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw’s newly minted run on “Thanos” (joined by colorist Antonio Fabela and letterer Clayton Cowles), but I’d like to focus on one specific aspect: the way Geoff Shaw freezes moments of kinetic motion, specifically in the latest issue, #15.
Old Man Thanos (long story) has just finished gazing into Ghost Rider’s Penance Stare because, naturally, he can’t get enough of it. Now it’s time for breakfast. He tosses GR’s head back with kind of a traditional comic book signifier of motion, helped along by the trail of fire from his head.
But when we cut directly to that breakfast, look how Shaw freezes the moment, but captures all the momentum.
Similarly, when Thanos Classic slams his fists onto the table, we don’t get any comic book style pops of energy, just the result of his show of force.
You kind of wish there was no “SNAP” sound effect, right? Because it’s just so perfectly rendered, you could hear it yourself.
Finally, look at how Shaw and Fabela capture this moment of explosion. Not just with fire and smoke (and Cowles’s awesome tri-chromatic BOOM), but with the very subtle reaction of Old Man Thanos and Thanos Classic.
There are so many tools for comic book artists to capture motion, so it’s quite exciting to see Shaw forego nearly all of them and create a language of motion all his own.
3. Jim Cheung and Chip Zdarsky updating the classics.
On “Marvel Two-In-One,” Zdarsky and Cheung (along with John Dell and Walden Wong helping Cheung out with inks, Frank Martin coloring, and Joe Caramagna lettering) are mining the most classic Fantastic Four scenarios, in this underground adventure, almost literally:Continued below
Zdarsky puts his own spin on the tale, when Mole Man decides to make this fight an election to decide who will rule the Underworld:
I mean, how do you top “Goo . . . Gam . . . Way . . . Forward . . . .”
Zdarsky also adds a disgusting little detail to our favorite Hothead’s power set:
I also want to point out that I love it when artists draw The Thing with that adorable half-closed eye thing. It’s so perfect:
Cheung and Martin also create and absolutely perfect moment of classic Fantastic Four action in a flashback:
If I had to pick one book that was really capturing the spirit of “Marvel Legacy”, it would be this one.
4. The Cartooniverse of “Doom Patrol”.
I’m not sure I could accurately catch you up on the action of “Doom Patrol” as of the most recent issue, #10. Our heroes are fighting an all new Brotherhood of Dada and Casey Brinke is pretty sure she likes Terry, who it turns out is the daughter of Mr. Nobody. The world has gone crazy because everyone is eating $#!+, the hottest new snack craze. This is what happens:
Writer Gerard Way, penciller Nick Derington, inker (the great) Tom Fowler, colorist Tamra Bonvillan, and letterer Todd Klein are truly letting it rip on this storyline, with cartoon (but detailed; check out the gum on Cliff’s boot) action:
And the truly ridiculous:
But what’s precious about this book as that when push comes to shove, and Terry is about to give birth, “good” guys and “bad” guys rush to her aid together:
Also, we get incredibly detailed and rendered explanations of the impossible like this one:
And what would a “Doom Patrol” comic be without a crash…
…through the fourth wall?
5. The introduction to the world of “Motor Crush”.
From its very first panel, it’s clear that every aspect of the world of “Motor Crush” has been carefully considered. Creators Brandon Fletcher, Cameron Stewart, and Babs Tarr render a world that looks like a 21st century cartoon. Heather Danforth’s colors and post-production create a tactile, pastel backdrop. Tom Muller’s race graphics are like nothing else you’ve seen in a comic, and Aditya Bidikar’s lettering serves the perfect contrast, with his trademark ability to make computer lettering lettering look handmade on full display.
It’s also clear right away that this team isn’t afraid to throw all the rules away to make a panel work. When our hero Domino Swift is introduced, the background literally fades away to next-to-nothing.
They also impossibly merge the feeling of a futuristic race broadcast with the aesthetic of a European comic from like the 70s.Continued below
The art also allows itself the flexibility to go to the limits of cartoon expressionism.
When the action shifts to an underground race, so does the tone. Everything that’s been established previously dips a little bit further into neon and minimalism.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Fletcher/Stewart/Tarr comic without some fantastic action choreography.
Check out how this bike spins airborne before slamming back down to the street.
Finally, look how Danforth shows the creeping dread and agony of Domino’s drug withdrawl, as the color and detail gets desaturated panel-by-panel.
“Motor Crush” isn’t really like any other comic out there, but it is extraordinarily confident of its vision, right from the start.