Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines, Day 253: Hexed #2
Every day this year, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. Today’s page is from Hexed #2, which was published by Boom! Studios and is cover dated February 2009. This scan is from the trade paperback, which was published in 2011. Enjoy!
Hexed is a pretty good series written by Michael Alan Nelson, but it’s noteworthy for being drawn by Emma Ríos before she got all Marvely and shit. Hexed is her first American work and almost her first comics work, and it’s impressive how polished it looks.
The main character of the comic isn’t on this page, because this is a flashback to 1587, where we discover the “origin” of a trinket that the main character, a thief nicknamed “Lucifer,” is trying to steal (she steals magical objects). Nelson lets us know we’re in Roanoke, and those dudes are running scared from something. We learn that this has something to do with “witchcraft” and that the two dudes has enemies in Edinburgh. That’s plenty of information, right?
Ríos lays the page out pretty well. We see the dudes from the front, with the sickly tree branches (it’s obviously winter) framing them well. It’s strange that the guy on the right looks so stiff – Ríos shows throughout the book that she can do nice, fluid action – but that’s the way it is. She then switches the point of view to behind the gentlemen, mostly so we won’t see the thing chasing them. She pulls in a bit closer so we can see the panic on their faces, and she makes sure they’re both looking backward so in Panel 3, when they stumble to the ground, it makes sense. She also makes sure to place roots near their feet in Panel 3, implying they tripped over them. Then, of course, we get the gory Panel 4, in which the guy with the dark hair explodes. Ríos is smart enough to make the blood fly toward the right side of the panel, which leads us deftly to Page 2. Cris Peter, who’s a fine colorist, does a nice job with this page. She saturates it in red, which makes it feel more lurid than it really is, giving it a odd supernatural feel. Considering what happens to the dude in the final panel, that’s not a bad idea. I doubt if the dude wearing the less “evil” colors – the blue fringed with yellow – is killed because of that and the other dude is spared because of his coloring, but it’s fun to speculate.
Both Ríos and Peter do better work on other pages in this series than on this one, but this isn’t bad. It’s a standard layout and a clichéd opening sequence, but it works because of the artwork. There’s some cool stuff in Hexed, and this is a pretty good example of what you can expect from it.
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