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Nov 5

Marauders #14 annotations

Posted on Thursday, November 5, 2020 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

“X of Swords, Chapter 13”
by Gerry Duggan, Benjamin Percy, Stefano Caselli & Edgar Delgado

COVER / PAGE 1: Storm dances with Death. This issue is pretty straightforward, by the way.

PAGE 2: Data page. It’s the menu for Saturnyne’s pre-contest dinner, and pretty self-explanatory. The “raw delicacies originating from the Dryador Sea” are the last of their kind because the seas were destroyed by the Horde of Amenth when they invaded Dryador in X of Swords: Creation.

Saturnyne’s quote has fairly obvious religious overtones with the bread and wine. It’s vaguely possible that it’s meant to echo Proverbs 9:5 (“Come, eat of my bread / And drink of the wine I have mixed / Forsake foolishness and live / And go in the way of understanding”), which would cast Saturnyne as Wisdom, but more likely it’s just general Christian imagery.

PAGE 3. Credits.

PAGE 4. Recap page.

PAGE 5 PANEL 1. Jim Jaspers in the Crooked Market.

This seems to be a broadly legitimate food market – and Saturnyne’s happy enough to get food from it, at any rate.

PAGE 5 PANEL 2 TO PAGE 9. The drinks reception before dinner.

Death. As per the cover, the focus here is on Storm and Death. Death comes across here as broadly reasonable, but then perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that War is the ridiculously aggressive one; Death, in himself, just represents a fact of life.

Cypher is lurking in the corner (and seems to have Warlock as his arm). The woman who barges him out of the way is Bei the Blood Moon.

Wolverine. As we’ll see later, Wolverine is planning to short circuit all this by killing Saturnyne. Storm seems happy enough with this. “Don’t miss” refers to “If you come for the king, you best not miss” (which is a paraphrase of Ralph Waldo Emerson).

PAGES 10-11. The Hall of Fallen Banners.

The Hall itself is new, and the meaning of the name isn’t immediately obvious – unless it’s something to do with the opposing sides laying down their banners for a truce.

Aside from the champions and Saturnyne, we can also see some of the other rulers of the Otherword realms, mostly gathered along the near side of the table: Jim Jaspers, two of the Sevalithi, Famine (who is not a champion but is present as the regent of Dryador), Roma and Merlyn (who seem to be talking). We see Vesperidae on the next page.

Famine doesn’t particularly want to be there, presumably because… well, it’s a feast, and he’s Famine.

PAGES 12-14. Wolverine yells at Captain Avalon.

Saturnyne was trying to seduce Captain Avalon in Excalibur #13, and Wolverine evidently thinks that playing along a little bit further would have been a better call. Why he suddenly chooses to raise the point now is harder to decipher, unless it’s some sort of act.

Captain Avalon asks for a “nonintoxicant” drink because of his alcohol problem from the original run of Excalibur.

PAGES 15-17. Gorgon and Magik talk to Isca.

Self-explanatory, really.

PAGE 18. Data page: Jim Jaspers’ notebook, apparently with directions to his secretary. Again, most of this is straightforward.

“My days charting the course of history at Number 10.” Jaspers was the British Prime Minister during the Jaspers’ Warp storyline in early 80s Captain Britain.

Redroot is apparently multilingual, increasing the parallels with Cypher (both are the interpreters for their respective islands).

PAGES 19-21. Storm and Death dance.

“The other sword bearers of your host have tasted death many times, in many ways, but not you.” Broadly true, even without relying on Krakoan resurrections.

  • Wolverine literally died and was revived by Persephone.
  • Magik sort of died at the end of Inferno and died of the Legacy Virus afterwards.
  • Brian (as Captain Britain) was killed by the Fury during the Jaspers Warp storyline, and revived by Merlyn.
  • Betsy (as Psylocke) was killed off in X-Treme X-Men #2, and returned a few years later.
  • Gorgon was killed in Wolverine vol 3 #31 and resurrected by the Hand.
  • Cypher died in Fall of the Mutants.
  • Apocalypse is an External, but among other examples he deliberately got himself killed in Excalibur to power the gate to Avalon.
  • Cable hasn’t exactly died, but did kill his own older self in Extermination.

Of course, you can’t swing a cat on Krakoa without hitting someone who’s come back from the dead, so this probably isn’t significant.

PAGES 22-24. Wolverine kills Saturnyne.

Not sure that’ll stick.

PAGE 25. A quote from Wolverine.

PAGE 26. Trailer. The Krakoan reads “Next: Dinner.” Unusually, the next chapter (out next week) is also an issue of Marauders.

Bring on the comments

  1. SanityOrMadness says:

    Didn’t Storm die in Fall of the Mutants with the rest of the X-Men, and get resurrected by Roma?

  2. Allan M says:

    Re: Wolverine’s blowup at Brian, notice who he points to as being potential victims of Saturnyne’s games – Illyana, Doug, and Cable. He frames it as being about marriage, but I’d argue that it’s because they’re kids, like Rockslide. Rockslide was one of the kids in Logan’s care when he was headmaster of the school. Wolverine’s been worried about Krakoa making everyone soft and complacent since X-Force #1. He’s been proven right, and a kid is dead because of it. A kid he knew and had sworn to protect. And now he’s expected to have dinner with the murderers.

    In fine Marauders fashion, he’s drinking heavily this issue to cope (which doesn’t help), and has resolved to kill the ultimate culprit (Saturnyne), but his anger is real and the alcohol brings it out because he sees Brian as someone who can short-circuit this whole pageant (as the last issue of Excalibur made clear) but won’t. Everyone else in the crossover is nodding along with fantasy story logic, and Logan can’t and won’t ignore the human cost.

  3. CJ says:

    Damn I loved this issue. Lots of character beats. Lots of understated humor (I hadn’t caught that Famine would hate the dinner). Wolverine being Wolverine. Some of these Amenthi actually get to breathe and have a shred of personality. Cliffhanger ending. I was sad when it was over.

    This could’ve been a dull, unimportant filler. But it was filler of the highest caliber.

  4. Chris V says:

    I don’t see how this spotlights that Krakoa is making people soft and complacent.
    How is this story any different than most X-Men stories?

    Way back in Uncanny X-Men, Illyana was taken to Limbo and could have easily died. In many ways, her entire life was taken from her and she was completely changed by the experience.
    Doug Ramsey was killed on some some cartoon-version of Dr. Moreau’s Island.
    The X-Men have always been getting involved with stupid nonsense that have lead to death and ruined lives.

    I can understand Wolverine’s anger. I don’t see how this is proven as an indictment of Krakoa, when it’s pretty well an average day for the X-Men.

  5. Allan M says:

    Summoner’s pitch to lure them into the trap was “Please help us, fellow mutants from our sister island.” It played directly into the Krakoa-era mutants’ commitment to the idea of all mutants are brothers and sisters now. Krakoa veered away from divisions within the mutant community, and Summoner exploited that trust. To me, that’s something that Logan would feel was a sign of softness, a lack of skepticism.

    Whereas at no point did the X-Men feel they could trust the demons of Limbo or the goons that killed Doug.

  6. Chris V says:

    No, but that’s not outside the purview of the X-Men.
    You sound like you’re arguing that Wolverine is in favour of safety, rather than concern that Krakoa is making people soft.
    The X-Men were always about helping fellow mutants in trouble, and fighting fir humanity even though they may “hate and fear” mutants.

    So, if you want a more relevant example, Xavier taking Sabretooth in to the mansion to help him, only to have Sabretooth attempt to kill members of the X-Men.
    You could argue that Logan wasn’t happy about that either, but that was long before Krakoa.
    Just more stupid X-Men hijinks on a different day.

  7. DFE says:

    Wolverine’s behavior did seem pretty wild this issue — I certainly sent a photo of the comic to my friends for a laugh at how absurd it was to see Wolverine SCREAMING that someone should “take one for the team.”

    I wonder if his attitude here has anything to do with the “price” he paid to Solem.

  8. Ben says:

    What a great cover!

    Perfectly fine issue, which is where Duggan usually maxes out for me.

    It was nice to see a tiny bit of character from people, and it actually focused a bit on a character from Marauders.

    I assume we’re headed for a Cypher/Bei romance.

    Wolverine was bipolar and over the top, but we’ll blame that on Percy.

  9. Si says:

    A story where Wolverine gets upset that people are endangered and the X-Men are playing nice with evil, that’s exactly the kind of story it’s impossible to tell with the current setup. His superior is Mr freaking Sinister. Apocalypse lives round the corner. Krakoa is crawling with the worst kind of psychopaths, who everyone plays nice with, every day. There’s little children and babies on that island (which eats people). How can we be expected to believe Wolverine cares about one teenager getting sorta-killed at this point?

  10. Dave says:

    Wolverine also died and got resurrected by the Hand in Enemy of the State. And his soul was sent to hell in ‘goes to hell’. Then in HoXPoX he wondered what death might be like…before dying.

  11. Alan L says:

    “How can we be expected to believe Wolverine cares about one teenager getting sorta-killed at this point?”

    Right. And besides all the other arguments, Rockslide’s death is not referenced in this issue. Wolverine has narration in the beginning of the issue, and he doesn’t say anything like “Couldn’t save Rockslide, but I can save the other kids by killing the witch.” He just says he hates parties. I mean, the analysis of what led to Wolverine’s psychology in the current moment makes a lot of sense, but…it’s not laid out in the text. We get Logan’s “Krakoa’s making everybody soft” quote back from more than a year ago, but we don’t see Logan especially bothered by Rockslide’s death, or espousing any of these points made here about what might be bothering him. And because we never see these feelings ramping up over the course of the story, we’ve not been led to the slathering intensity Logan manifests in this issue. So it comes off as way over the top. Compare this to Schism, where the story focused very heavily on how Logan was noticing the kids––individual kids he interacted with––being put in increasing danger, noticing Cyclop’s indifference; his building resentment made clear in every scene through visuals, through dialogue, through situations Logan keeps discovering. We get five issues for that anger to foment. Here we get literally nothing in the text, so Allan M. has to write a character progression of his own for Wolverine, just to make what happens in the comic seem plausible. It’s a very credible character progression given the story events so far; I wish I’d gotten to read it in the comic––or in the several comics it might take to start dropping this character evolution––but it looks like the authors neglected to include any of that.

    This is a problem with the whole run from HoXPoX ’til now; because generating an endless amount of Big Ideas takes the fore in the Hickman paradigm, character gets buried, and only gets vomited out in these discreet chunks. So when character beats do appear, they’re jarring, because they come out of nowhere and depart just as quickly in time for the next plot development or long recap of the same story point we just heard in a previous issue. We have no way to track the feelings the characters process, or the choices they make because of those feelings, unless we write those stories entirely in our own heads. We also don’t get the the dense narration and the trail of thought bubbles we had in X-men in the 80s, which Claremont often used to bring a character to a quick, life-changing decision over the course of an issue or two, nor do we get the issue-long narration that took the place of the Claremont strategy for writers all through the aughts. It’s bad writing, where we have to work ourselves up over it to convince ourselves to have the emotional responses the author expects of us. Of course, other writers wrote the issue, but a lack of character development isn’t a problem for just one issue; it’s usually a problem that stretches over multiple issues. Here, we never get Logan reacting to Rockslide’s death, so we never get the motivation Allan M. has sketched in for him. That should have happened already for Logan to be this worked–up. But this is the Hickman approach, where characters don’t develop over several issues; they just manifest the requisite emotion at the requisite time, to move the plot forward. It’s especially glaring a foul-up when the next big plot point––Wolverine killing Saturnyne––revolves around Wolverine getting to this state of rage. It’s a turn that hasn’t been earned, because we haven’t seen Logan getting there on the pages of the comic.

    Instead, Logan could have made this a completely rational decision, as he frequently does when he kills people. It could be another strategy, like sending the Hellions out on their mission. But they chose instead to make it Logan’s character beat, and, because they forgot to include any other beats for Logan leading up to it, it doesn’t really work––for me, at least.

  12. Bob B says:

    @Alan L – good, insightful analysis 🙂 if only some of those marvel writers were reading these pages, maybe they would learn a thing or 2!

  13. Evilgus says:

    I’ve never really understood why comics have jettisoned the thought bubble. It’s something unique to a visual medium, and used well can really add to character.

    That said, lots of beats to enjoy in the this issue. But as pointed out, it’s jarring when the wider narrative zooms back out/pans in.

    Going back to writing – Storm traditionally never uses contractions, like “don’t” or “you’re”! Bah.

  14. Dave says:

    “Rockslide’s death is not referenced in this issue…”

    We’ve also never seen where anyone besides the Braddocks has learned that Saturnyne wants Brian, have we?

  15. Allan M says:

    @ Chris V: That’s where we differ on this. Krakoan life is supposed to be better and safer than with the X-Men. Being part of the X-Men is predicated on the assumption that you’re going to put yourself at risk to protect mutants. Krakoa’s supposed to be a place where you can just be a mutant, safe and at peace, without division. Summoner exploited their belief in the acceptance of all mutants – one of the three laws of Krakoa – something Logan has been skeptical about since HOXPOX, and it cost them. They were too trusting of Apocalypse, Krakoa, and then of Summoner. Being that trusting is something I think Logan would view as softness.

    Note how the first thing Wolverine does in this crossover is confront Krakoa directly. “This place was supposed to be a fresh start for all of us… yet here you are, dragging us back in time.” You’re right in that this is ultimately stupid X-Men hijinks on a different day, but in-story, Wolverine’s frustration with said hijinks still happening to them has been established, as is who he blames for it.

  16. Chris V says:

    Yet, Logan still trusts in Xavier.
    The guy who is acting completely out of character and like a megalomaniac.
    At least Apocalypse is acting somewhat more like we expect (outside of the sorcerer stuff).

    When Wolverine first brought up Krakoa making people soft, it seemed to involve the fact that mutants were letting their guard down and accepting a life of depravity.
    It seemed to be brought up around the time that the Reavers invaded Krakoa and shot Xavier.
    It made more sense in that context.
    That mutants were becoming complacent at this idea (presented solely through tell over show) that Krakoa was now the dominant nation on the planet. When, the evidence showed that this probably is not the case.
    The fact that Nimrod was still being created being the biggest red flag.

    The fact that Logan buys in to Krakoa’s propaganda, even if he is skeptical that it can be real, seems out of character to me.
    He has critiqued Quire in the past for buying in to Magneto’s rhetoric, that mutants have become gods.
    Yet, he doesn’t seem to question why Xavier has changed his own dream to accept Apocalypse and Magneto’s ideologies.

  17. Alan L says:

    Logan has also run into battle with Quentin Quire a bunch of times since HoXPoX, and Quire has actually been brutally killed in these encounters, and Logan hasn’t bat an eye at it. Logan shows no evidence whatsoever on the page that he is unusually concerned about the X-kids. So while I think the character arc Allan M is describing for Wolverine is pretty awesome, I just would love to have read it in the books. But it’s not there––only the initial beat Allan M describes, and the most recent beat, where he stabs Saturnyne, and which is a plot beat first and foremost. The character work to take Wolverine to this place just hasn’t been done by the writers.

    Certainly, though, it is a livelier issue than most have been––I liked the Hellions issue pretty well, for the same reason. These characters aren’t necessarily growing and advancing, but they are at least getting moments in which they seem clever, funny, passionate, circumspect, and generally human. That is, in a way, at least, a relief.

    @Dave, I’m pretty sure you’re right. It seems a little odd to imagine Betsy and Brian and even Jamie, the way they’re now written, revealing to the rest of the mutants the sordid details of their encounter with Saturnyne. I’d expect that would remain something of a family secret.

  18. Chris V says:

    Yes. The more I think about it, Hickman’s entire run is reading very much like a video game.
    It’s just become more apparent with X of Swords.
    Characters say random things based on what is needed for the sake of the plot, rather than any authentic characterization.

    Talk to Logan at the bar.
    “Krakoa is making us soft, bub.”
    After completing level 14, talk to Logan again. His dialogue will change.
    “I thought we were beyond all this, bub.”

    Look at Storm. When Hickman’s run first began, she was portrayed as a true believer, serving as a spokesperson for the resurrection protocols.
    Now, Storm’s character arc seems to revolve around her not having died and been reborn.
    Nothing has been done in the story to show a progression in Storm’s character.
    Basically, Hickman wrote her in a certain manner when his run began, without really having a path paved for where Storm’s character was moving, it seems.
    Now, after a year’s worth of comics completed, one of the writers seems to have come up with a new arc for Storm.
    Suddenly, she’s not being written in the same out of character manner she was when Hickman’s run started.

  19. Salomé Honório says:

    Loved this issue, which has been the case for a while now. It’s always a bit odd to talk about a “tone” or “style” when you’re talking about a franchise, even more so when said franchise ranges from Dark Phoenix to X-Statix. Still, something about the grasp Duggan has on the characters makes the stories and spaces feel lived in, and breathing.

    Folks aren’t just circulating towards the ensuing plot point: they’re trying, they’re connecting, they’re sorting their shit out.

    I agree with the poster above, who mentioned a similar feeling when reading Hellions and when reading Marauders. These two series feel like a certain moment in and of themselves (along with X-Factor, if it does take shape post-crossover). They feel like distinctive groupings experiencing a collective moment.

    In contrast, Hickman’s main thrust seems to be to let events render the characters meaningless: props of convenience. And then, of course, there’s Hickman’s *enchanting* design documents for stories that could have been. At full price.

    Also, completely agree on the point about thought balloons. They’re visually cumbersome a lot of the time, and I imagine they’re quite alienating for readers new to the genre (who wouldn’t have an immediate indication of what distinguishes these from the usual speech balloons). That being said, they make a tremendous difference, because according to how you use them, you can build a wider set of storytelling options, simply because you place more elements into interaction.

    Narrative overlay sometimes helps with that, and because the format is based on brief pieces, it always helps attenuate for the dilation.

    It’s so strange: the U.S. comics industry has aimed for modernisation by emphasising the cinematographic qualities of comic book storytelling (say: Astonishing X-Men), but so much of these stories read more like loose vignettes, because of how sparse in content they are…

  20. neutrino says:

    How would killing Saturnyne help? The Arakkii would just invade immediately.

  21. Adam says:

    I think Neutrino raises a good point here. Having Brian take one for the team makes sense; stabbing Saturnyne, not so much.

  22. Dave says:

    Narrative overlay is not a patch on thought bubbles. Half the time it’s telling a different story.

  23. YLu says:

    Has anyone anywhere written about the possible link between modern comics forgoing thought bubbles in favor of captions and modern prose forgoing omniscient point of view in favor of limited point of view?

    While you -can- have narrative captions from multiple characters on the same page, you almost never get that (unless it’s a deliberate gimmick), which resembles the a limited point of view far more than an omniscient one, in which you can get into multiple characters’ thoughts at once.

  24. YLu says:

    Which is to say, while people talk about this trend as being “cinematic,” it reads to me as much more of an attempt to be novelistic, or at least the modern, mainstream conception of that.

  25. neutrino says:

    “Having Brian take one for the team makes sense;” Actually it doesn’t. Leaving aside that Brian’s married, Saturnyne isn’t responsible for this, she’s trying to clean up the mutants’ mess by offering an alternative to a full scale invasion.

  26. Karl_H says:

    Well I’m glad to at least see characters acting with personality.

    The involvement of the other realms reminds me of a question I’ve had for a while: Why is Otherworld no longer a nexus point for a vast number of alternate Earths, instead being a hub for a small handful of fantasy RPG campaign settings of which Earth is only one?

  27. Evilgus says:

    “Has anyone anywhere written about the possible link between modern comics forgoing thought bubbles in favor of captions and modern prose forgoing omniscient point of view in favor of limited point of view?”
    Ooh. I like that comparison.

    I guess that makes Claremont a Dickens equivalent, in terms of omniscient narrator. And dense prose 🙂

  28. Salomé Honório says:


    That’s a pretty interesting question, although I wouldn’t know how to address it. But I think the comparison with cinema is contextual and quite direct, in a sense. Because it served as a template for commercially successful narrative media, distributed on a mass scale, “cinematographic” became a value in and of itself. I remember how often discussions of artists like Frank Quitely or John Cassaday associated the more kinetic dimensions with their work with cinematography.

    And the impression I get is that it’s precisely because of decisions surrounding narrative pacing and a stronger emphasis on visuals that these adjustments took place: they open up the page, so that in some cases it can speak for itself. The opposite is rarely the case: the data pages in Dawn of X might be an exception to that rule.

    On that note, I’d be curious to know how people are feeling about the data pages as a worldbuilding device? I oscillate: though they sometimes allow for some unique effects, sometimes they feel like narrative shorthand.

    @KARL H: THAT EXACTLY. “Pick your fighter from the ring of X… Choose your campaign…”. Like some horrid Tekken/Final Fantasy hybrid.

  29. Adam says:

    “she’s trying to clean up the mutants’ mess by offering an alternative to a full scale invasion.”

    She could offer them a new alternative, like all the Amenthi forces getting turned into cute little child-versions of themselves.

  30. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    @Karl_H ‘Why is Otherworld no longer a nexus point for a vast number of alternate Earths, instead being a hub for a small handful of fantasy RPG campaign settings of which Earth is only one?’

    I don’t think one invalidates the other. It could be that the 10 realms (or however many there are, I didn’t actually count them) are sub-hubs that further connect to the wider alternate dimensions. Just like Avalon is a transfer point between Earth and the Starlight Citadel, so there could be further connections from other realms to other – perhaps infinite – universes.

    I mean, it hasn’t been stated as such in XoS – the wider multiverse doesn’t exist except for the Citadel, its realms, Earth and Amenth – but it could be.

    On the other hand, maybe it isn’t. Maybe Otherworld got shrunk to just the Citadel, the however many realms and just several further connections like Earth and Amenth. Which in-universe could be explained by Franklin Richards and company rebuilding the multiverse that way after Secret Wars. And out-of-universe, well… maybe it’s because Otherworld, Roma, Merlyn and all that stuff have all fallen by the wayside and even series that dealt directly with multiversal matters (like Exiles or X-Treme X-Men vol 2) largely ignored them. Or completely ignored them.

    @neutrino: ‘Saturnyne isn’t responsible for this, she’s trying to clean up the mutants’ mess by offering an alternative to a full scale invasion.’

    A full scale invasion that has to go through the Starlight Citadel and which she’d be within her power to stop with a flick of her wrist once it actually entered her realm. Or at least that’s how I read the first issue of XoS – there was nothing there to imply that she couldn’t do to the larger Amenthii force what she did to the Horsemen and whoever else was there at the time.

    We still don’t know Saturnyne’s endgame. Wolverine probably thinks she’ll screw Krakoa over in the end.

  31. Dave says:

    I’d still like to know if Amenth is a planet or a dimension or what.

    They’re still calling Saturnyne ‘Omniversal Majestrix’ aren’t they? I suppose it could be her subordinates feeding her ego, but it suggests Otherworld still connects to the whole multiverse. And didn’t the Captain Britain Corps members access the multiverse directly from the Citadel?

  32. Omar Karindu says:

    Salomé Hónorio: That’s a pretty interesting question, although I wouldn’t know how to address it. But I think the comparison with cinema is contextual and quite direct, in a sense. Because it served as a template for commercially successful narrative media, distributed on a mass scale, “cinematographic” became a value in and of itself. I remember how often discussions of artists like Frank Quitely or John Cassaday associated the more kinetic dimensions with their work with cinematography.

    And the impression I get is that it’s precisely because of decisions surrounding narrative pacing and a stronger emphasis on visuals that these adjustments took place: they open up the page, so that in some cases it can speak for itself. The opposite is rarely the case: the data pages in Dawn of X might be an exception to that rule.

    As a dominant aesthetic in superhero comics, this seems to date back to the major superhero and Vertigo comics creators of the 1980s and 1990s — Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons, John Wagner, and Neil Gaiman — tended to look to the pacing and presentation of cinema and eschewed the traditional devices of comics: not only the use of the panel to tel the story, but also the elimination of written SFX, thiught balloons, and so forth.

    Will Eisner and the Eisner-influenced Steranko — and through Steranko, Paul Gulacy — would use some of these moves int heir work, but not across a whole work or a series of works. Under the primarily British creators of the 1980s and early 90s, however, those became the dominant tools of comics. I mean, when even the “reconstructionist” guys in the later 90s — Waid, Busiek, Morrison — are using captions instead of thought balloons, the die has been cast.

    The stuff Cassaday and Quitely discuss is, I think, a later evolution, an effort to make comics look and read like action blockbusters, especially their ironized 1990s style. Certainly the writers they work with — Ellis, Ennis, Millar, etc. — aim for that feel. The use of large-scale, primarily visual storytelling fits that goal as well.

    There was even an evolution past that to the almost TV-like use of “beat panels” and statted panels, the ultra-decompressionist period of the early 2000s when everything was a six-issue trade. The Ellis and Hitch Authority was decompressed, but not in the way of a Bendis comic, where the small moments and dialogue scenes got this kind of treatment. There, the influence was prestige TV drama, I think.

    With Hickman and the data pages, I think the influence has moved on: it’s meant to evoke a certain kind of internet or digital display, reflecting a larger cultural transition from film and TV over to online media.

    One of the early, pre-Hickman signs of this was the growing use of floating “name” captions, increasingly not paced in caption boxes, especially as lettering changes made those deliberately look more like augmented reality tags. (TV shows do this too;’ the analysis-vision seen in Sherlock springs to mind.

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