Well that was real mature...

Well that was real mature...

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Ruses Run Deep and Wide



            Ok so we come to the big climax of the Destructo/Baxter portion of the story. It's a jam packed page but really effective. Matt did a fantastic job, so much so, that one would be hard pressed to realized that there was a lot of last minute re-working. It was scripted as a seven panel page, which was rare for me. After "Jigsaw World," I intentionally tried to lower my panel count to give Matt more room to show off his art work. Ironically, several times (as I have noted on previous commentaries) he would add panels. This time around it went up to eight, but I'm not sure how much was by choice. Because of the quirk of spacing and line count the script page ended with Baxter's line, "You lose." On the next page of the script was the last panel. No partial sentence or anything at all to let Matt know it continued on the next page. So he drew it to end there. tI could have happened to anyone. After the straight-jacket incident I would check against the script, but this time I didn't have to. The initial draft of the script did not have Baxter quoting Hamlet and spelling out the title for readers. As I told friends and family the premise and the title I would get blank stares, no one was putting the two together. So I did a second draft adding the line. When I saw that line was not there, I knew Matt was working from the old draft. A frantic conversation later and it was fixed. I think it only took him a few minutes to rectify both issues. It was amazing. Panel three became an inset, he moved panel four from the bottom left to the top right, slid everything over, dropped in the new line and the new panel and "Presto!" It was all fixed. It was an editorial slight of hand that was genius and more importantly: Seamless.

            Matt gave me a lot of grief over the "Femme Fatales" issue as I mentioned on page eight. However, while doing these commentaries, I noticed something. Originally I wrote panel two (which he split into two panels) with Destructo/Felicity behaving in a condescending demeanor. The dialogue is the same, but I literally having her patting Baxter on the head like a pet or a child in my description. Matt went the other way. He decided to have her embrace him and seductively whispering in his ear. If you recall back in "Dick Ruby," after the big reveal, the Queen Alien also seductively caresses and even licks the ill fated Eugene Lucas. No judgments, just making an observation... that kind of speaks volumes.

             I wanted a flashback sequence as part of the big reveal. Not only would it get us outside the walls of the institution for a few panels, but it would serve as a visual reminder that Baxter and Carlos were more than just inmates but actual super heroes. A big thing for me on this page was the monologue. A common trope in comics is the moment the villains spell out, in detail, their plan in an arrogant display of bravado (usually as a mask for exposition) and I wanted to turn that on its head by have the hero do the monologue. The big reveal that it was all a trap and that Baxter could get free at any time would be the exclamation point on this particular arc. Matt did a fantastic job with the image of Baxter standing there holding the straight-jacket. He is strong and powerful looking and complete juxtaposition to the previous page where he looks so weak and anything but intimidating. I subtly foreshadowed it back on page four with the line, "So this has been a ruse." It was a shout out on multiple levels. Dr. Felicity's act was a ruse, one which we double dip with the Dr. Destructo reveal as was Baxter's imprisonment. There might even be another ahead. Who knows?

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