Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
Every day this year, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. As it’s now December, I will be examining the LAST pages of random comics, so watch out for SPOILERS! Today’s page is from Earth X #12, which was published by Marvel and is cover dated April 2000. Enjoy!
Earth X is a sprawling epic that I’m not even going to begin to get into – it involves the future of the Marvel Universe and how everything has gone to hell – but issue #12, the penultimate issue, does give us this nice double-page spread ending. As always when I have double-page spreads, I apologize for the size – I can’t fit the entire book on my scanner, so I need to scan one page, then the other, and it has to be smaller. Sorry!
Jim Krueger and Alex Ross came up with this story, and Krueger wrote it, even though there’s not a lot on the page. The speaker is X-51, Machine Man, who’s the central figure of the series. He says “This is no longer a battle of men” as Galactus appears above the Earth and gazes down on the Celestials. The epigraph is from Lord of the Flies and reads: “Simon found he was looking into a vast mouth. There was a blackness within, a blackness that spread.” That’s not a bad way to end the issue, is it? I imagine that letterer Todd Klein designed X-51’s dialogue boxes/balloons, which are blue with circuitry running through them. Klein is a good letterer, so I imagine that was his idea.
John Paul Leon really nails this page, doesn’t he? We turn the page and see Galactus, hovering in space, looking dispassionately down on Earth. Leon and inker Bill Reinhold make liberal use of blacks to give his face a more foreboding look (sure, Galactus always looks brooding, but he looks even more gloomy here than he usually does!), and Leon draws the Celestials with the same kind of ineffable majesty that Galactus has, foreshadowing the battle to come. Again, Reinhold adds a nice amount of black to the Celestials to imply the darkness that suffuses this entire series. Leon’s placement of the Silver Surfer is done well – he comes from the left and zig-zags through the Celestials and up toward Galactus, acting as a guide for where our eyes should go. Melissa Edwards, who colored this page, also does a very good job. The purple of Galactus’ armor bleeds into the purple of dusk, so that even though we’re looking at two different panels, they’re blended together nicely. The yellow at the bottom of the page, implying the twilight, is symbolic of the “end of days” confrontation that’s coming when Galactus and the Celestials square off. It’s a beautiful page, made all the more eerie by the gorgeous colors.
I haven’t read the two sequels, but I remember this being quite an interesting read. It helps to have John Paul Leon, of course, but everyone involved did a nice job with the book. And you can’t go wrong with this as a last page, teasing us with the confrontation to come!
Next: Everyone loves pirate comics, right? Especially ones from tiny publishers that didn’t last very long at all! Find more pirate comics in the archives!
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