On Wednesday I buy comics. And I love my comics. Of course, that's another post. One of the things I enjoy about comics (and movies, too, when I think about it) is how the story comes together. It's odd that a person who doesn't know much about storytelling can watch a movie that falls a bit short in the plot and immediately knowthat something just doesn't quite fit. Usually what you hear is "they could've done a better job," which is layperson for "that plot's got more holes than Swiss cheese."
I digress, though, because this isn't really about plot, but pace. Lately, one of my favorite books has been Marvel's NEW AVENGERS. NA is admittedly a geek fest, Marvel's attempt to toss in some of their biggest characters (Spider-Man, Captain America, Iron Man and Wolverine) with some B-listers and sell a shitload of comics. Yeah, it's a geek fest but it's been pulled off pretty well by Brian Bendis. Bendis is one of my favorite writers from way back, with JINX, TORSO, POWERS, DAREDEVIL and a ton more under his belt. He's a technically good writer, which is why I was kind of dissapointed by NEW AVENGERS #16.
One thing that can be really exciting in comics is the splash page of art. It's probably overused, but when used correctly it can accentuate an action sequence, or even a "talking heads" sequence, with the knockout punch of a fight or maybe a kiss between lovers. If abused it can be boring, and, worse, lazy.
NA #16 has 21 pages of "story," not counting the first page, which is a recap of previous events. The first EIGHT PAGES are spash pages, with two pages taken up with one spread. One page is a shot of Earth from space, the next is the same shot of Earth, but it's getting hit by an energy beam from an unknown source. Or is the energy coming FROM Earth? One wouldn't know by looking at the page. Then it takes another TWO pages to set North Pole Alaska as the city we're seeing, the two page spread to show its destruction, and another two pages to show there's some energy being who's maybe responsible for the damage.
21 pages of story and eight are essentially wasted telling what I figured could be told in half that. NEW AVENGERS is one of Marvel's cheapest books at $2.50 and it seems as if Bendis wasted four pages of story with possible laziness, making the issue a very quick read. The cliffhanger isn't that much of a cliffhanger, for goodness' sake. The New Avengers are being called in to handle the energy man? I'd hope so, since the books is titled NEW AVENGERS and all.