Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
Every day this month, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. Today’s page is from Fallen Angel #14, which was published by IDW and is cover dated March 2007. Enjoy!
This comic is written by Peter David, drawn and colored by J. K. Woodward, and lettered by Neil Uyetake. As usual with Peter David comics, we dive right in!
You’ll notice that we might not know who that woman is, but she’s a bit peeved. She is probably talking to some kind of demon, based on it going “back down to the pit that spawned” it and the red, clawed hand in that third panel. We’re also not sure what her deal is, but she’s shooting lasers out of her eyes. Well, that can’t be good.
Woodward’s painted, somewhat photo-referenced style isn’t for everyone, but it usually works in this series. He tends to overwhelm it a bit with the coloring and the fantastical elements, which mitigates it somewhat. Working from David’s script helps him start this issue off with a bang, but Woodward does a good job with the ragged panels overlaid on the third, main panel. That third panel is the best one on the page, obviously. Woodward does a nice job with the demonic hand coming in from the left, with the woman firing lasers at it. The eye goes from the angry face in the second panel down to the woman’s face, which is central to the panel (despite not being in the center of it). The lasers lead our eyes upward to the top of the demonic hand (and off-panel), and then the arm leads back down to the hand and onward to the next page. Woodward’s effects in the panel are nice, too – those might be angel wings, or they might be something else entirely. Either way, it’s intriguing. The worst part of the panel is that the woman’s torso is oddly bent – it’s not exactly anatomically impossible, but it still looks weird.
The first two panels are okay, but not great, mainly because the woman looks different in each panel. In the first, she’s facing the left and firing her lasers. In the second, she’s facing forward and not firing lasers. Where is her antagonist? It’s not a deal-breaker, but these minor things are a bit disorienting, and when you’re trying to draw a reader in, they might have a negative effect.
Still, lots of action, lots of rage, good guys versus bad guys – it’s a pretty good first page. And that’s what matters!
Next: Swords and sorcery!
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