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Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines, Day 72: X-Factor #14

Every day this year, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. Today’s page is from X-Factor #14, which was published by Marvel and is cover dated February 2007. Enjoy!

Should you hold those guns like that?

This isn’t a very exciting splash page, but considering some of the things that get splash pages in the Decompression Era, at least Peter David fills it up with information. This issue, like most Marvel books of the past 5-6 years, has a recap page, so it’s not that crucial to get us up to speed on the first page, but David lets us know that this is the Madrox written about on the recap page, he’s a bit of a smart-ass, and … well, that’s about it. We already know that he was having sex with two women at the same time and that he told them, so the final caption box isn’t terribly informative, but David uses the old trick of having the narration continue on the next page, so if we’re at all interested in Madrox’s thoughts, we have to turn the page.

Pablo Raimondi, meanwhile, doesn’t have much to do. He lays the page out perfectly well, as we would start in the upper left, where the “top” of the gun is, and follow its barrel down to Madrox’s face. Both guns form sides of a triangle of which Madrox is a point, so our eyes are drawn naturally to his face, which is the focus of the entire page, after all. I have no clue about guns, so I don’t know if you hold those with two hands or one, but if Raimondi had drawn two hands, it would have interfered with the flow of the page, so if it’s incorrect, at least it’s incorrect for the right reasons. Raimondi (probably) uses photo referencing in this page, and while I’m not the biggest fan, for static images it’s not bad. You’ll note also that Madrox is subtly pointing to the next page. “Read onnnnnn …” he whispers to us. “You know you want to …”

Is this an effective first page? I think so. David knows how to construct a single issue, and he also knows how to put together a page, so if you casually picked this up, I can’t think of a reason why you wouldn’t continue. The fact that we don’t return to this scene until the very end of the book might piss you off, but that’s not the first page’s fault!

Next: A big DC event you all remember fondly! You know it’s true! Or you could just wander through the archives!

12 Comments

Two automatic weapons pointed at a guy’s head doesn’t qualify as “exciting” for you?

Michael: Well, it’s not like they’re firing at him! He’s just standing there with guns pointed at him. Intriguing, sure, but not necessarily exciting. :)

You can actually hold MP5 submachine guns both ways. How do I know this? I collect G.I. Joe figures.

If you’re still taking ideas for the next author you want to look at, for the last time:
Simon Furman, Larry Hama, or Mike W. Barr.

Acer: Yes, I’m still taking suggestions, but I’m only counting yours ONCE!!!!!

While in the real world, dual wielding SMGs like this is a bad choice (high-fire rates mean more recoil, and without a stabilizing hand this means significantly less accuracy), this is perfectly logical in the high-octane, much more forgiving-when-it-comes-to-physics realm of comics, video-games and action movies.

@Matt
Sure, but I think when you’re holding two SMGs a foot or so away from a guy’s face, accuracy shouldn’t be that much of a concern

@Greg
Sorry. I read in a psychology book that repetition often helps.

It strikes me that it might also be interesting, at some point, to look at different iterations of a relaunched book. If t’s been relaunched enough times, you could even have the same issue number from multiple volumes (it’d have to be a low number, of course).

X-Factor, f’rinstance, has had three distinct volumes. (No one even remembers the second volume, which was a limited series with no connection to the better-known series.) Avengers has had four. If you count the Future Foundation, FF has had a few too.

And then there’s the various Superboy titles…..that might be a week by itself.

If this page doesn’t suggest Peter David for you — a solid, reliable, and thoroughly professional “writer of stuff” for almost 30 years now — I dunno what will.

[...] Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines, Day 72: X-Factor #14Comic Book Resourcesby Greg Burgas Every day this year, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. Today's page is from X-Factor #14, which was published by Marvel and is cover dated February 2007. Enjoy! This isn'ta very exciting splash page, but considering … and more& » Tags: cardiograph, Frantic, lines, scratching Posted in Burgas | No Comments » Cevab? iptal etmek için t?klay?n. [...]

I miss Pablo Raimondi’s art! I loved it! So detailed. He has all but vanished from comics! :(

I guess his bar is doing good business! Good for him, but sad for us!

OK, I know it’s a convention since Dark Knight Returns to use narrative boxes to tell first person narration, but it’s way-too-cute narration like this that drives me bonkers. WHEN IS HE SUPPOSED TO BE SAYING ALL THIS? Did he film this and is now having a DVD commentary of his life? Writing his memoirs? (OK, it’s Madrox, maybe a duplicate is watching somewhere else…)

Everyone says this is supposed to be an improvement on thought balloons but things like this make me think we were better off with those floating bubbles of exposition…

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