Marvel Boy #4, p. 5. By Grant Morrison, J.G. Jones, Avalon Studios, Matt Milla, Richard Starkings & Wes Abbott.
Marvel Boy #4 features what is probably a more well known sequence, just a few pages after this one. Marvel Boy and Oubliette chase each other up a building in a phenomenal two pages made up of 12 Panel Grids. It’s truly fantastic, no doubt, but something about Page 5 resonates just a little bit more with me.
First of all, you’ve got the first two panels, which are just a textbook example of fantastic action sequential storytelling. Jones knows precisely where to place Marvel Boy in the frame in both panels to convey the perfect and proper level of momentum. I could just go back and forth between those two panels for a few minutes, and just study them.
Artist J.G. Jones also does some amazing things with the subway flare that makes Oubliette’s position, slamming out of a subway on a motorcycle (RIGHT?!?), so dynamic.
Avalon Studios and Mr. Milla also take a fantastic little chance in panel two with the color shift. I’m not a hundred percent sure what exactly in that Subway Station is causing it, nor do I really care. Green is certainly a predominant color throughout the series. Marvel Boy’s only surviving pal, Plex, is a green blob, his own costume is mostly green, there’s a lot of green all around. By bathing the whole panel in the color, it almost gives at a kind of strobe effect, as if an alternative to the Impact Burst you might find at that moment in the panel of a more traditional comic.
And then the last two tiers give us that great tumble and final pose that’s not just static, not a moment of Ex taking a breather, but one where she immediately fires at Marvel Boy.
There’s not a moment of pause in the action on the entire page.
Also of note, this issue is lettered in one of my favorite Comicraft fonts, Cutthroat. I first fell in love with it in the pages of Grant’s New X-Men, before that painful edict was handed down, and lowercase letters joined uppercase letters in a horrifying and completely un-comic-book-like combination.
So congratulations Page 5 of Marvel Boy #4. You are officially one of the Great Pages In Comics History.