Jay & Miles X-Plain the X-Men

Video Review Redux – Rachel’s Favorite Panel

Hi. Rachel here.

I talked some about our panel of the week in this week’s video reviews, but I think it’s a panel whose effectiveness is much better illustrated via static images, so I’m posting this here as a supplement.

This is a panel that grabbed me immediately. It’s the kind of beat I look for in comics–the stillness where you often find the most powerful and subtly significant moments in a story.

Here’s the panel, in isolation. It doesn’t look like much on its own, right?

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Here’s the full spread it’s part of. Pay attention to how people are standing: this moment is all about body language.

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 3.54.43 PM

Can you see it yet? If you’re still having trouble, here’s a hint: Follow the hands–Cyclops’s, in particular.

See what I mean? Is your heart breaking a little right now? It should be.

I would love to see the script for this spread–whether that moment was written, or if Bachalo improvised it; and how it was described relative to how it was drawn. As is, it’s one of the most powerful emotional beats of the story–if you know what to look for.

The fallacy that comics are easy and simple to read is dependent, I think, on the idea that reading is a skill specific to written language. In fact, the language of comics–that integration of visual and verbal, the ways static images can convey and evoke movement and passage of time and a thousand other minute nuances–is incredibly, exquisitely complex and rich. They’re not just illustrated stories. They’re their own discrete medium.

And it’s when creators–and readers–understand those things that comics can really, really get good.



    1. I thought the same thing. My big problem with this arch is that everyone there has blood on their hands in one way or another. So why are they hating on Scott for actions that happened while he was possessed? I would be more annoyed at the relationship with Emma Frost then the death of X. Heck, Chuckles would be the first person to understand and forgive him. In fact Logan should be helping Scott through the guilt and grief, because his claws are not clean.

      1. As people have mentioned in previous comment threads where this came up, it’s sort of different because the Phoenix possession was part of a generally negative turn from Scott that took place over a number of years. Yes, he was possessed when the Professor died, but it didn’t seem very out of character for him to lash out violently at someone he loved. He wasn’t possessed when the war with the Avengers started (although Captain America and the other Avengers were partially to blame for that whole mess too, obviously) and he actively courted the Phoenix Force even though everyone warned him that there would be dire consequences. And after Xavier’s death, Scott has doubled down on his militarism and isolationism instead of trying to mend fences. I certainly feel sorry for Scott at times, but I think that the way the other X-Men are treating him is realistic and understandable when taken as a whole arc.

        1. I don’t know what will turn Scott back. My only thinking is that, at the end of Bendis’s run, they might try to bring back Jean (or some big event dealing with Jean) that brings Scott clarity.

          However, in All-New X-Men #12, literally everything the characters said about Scarlet Witch applies to Cyclops. Because Bendis is writing both books (Uncanny and All-New), my guess is that he believes the rest of the X-Men are being hypocrites.

          Bendis always follows a system: he takes the characters/toys, plays with them, but then always puts them back where he got them when he’s done (everything returns to normal). Eventually, that will happen here (unless Marvel pulls a DC and rewrites all continuity).

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