DC’S LATEST WATCHMEN CAMEO ISN’T A CHARACTER
Every comics page is a succession of frozen instants, but they could be seconds or minutes apart. The density of a nine-panel grid allows for a consistent rhythm. The smallest movement, of Batman turning over the smiley badge in his hand, can be broken into parts, each like a frame of celluloid.
In Watchmen, this effect was equated with the ticking of a clock. In Batman #21, there is a literal timer in the corner of each panel, counting down one second at a time. This tick-tock rhythm is the heartbeat of Watchmen’s universe, as recognizable as the “Be My Baby” drum beat.
THE ISSUE: ‘GENERATION HOPE’ AND THE PAIN OF BEING DIFFERENT
The big advantage of the mutant metaphor is that it creates a little distance from real-world events. While it’s unacceptable to force queer readers to comb through subtext for representation in comics, when you’re handling painful topics like this, it acts as a protective layer. It’s hard to imagine a way this story could be told without the metaphorical filter that wouldn’t feel disrespectful to the real victims.
“Better” keeps that layer as thin as possible, though, by rooting its presentation firmly and clearly in the real world. This is the magic of what McKelvie and Gillen do when they work together. They’re both great at finding small real-life touchpoints, whether a location or a pop song, that make everything around them feel credible.
DAREDEVIL’S CORRIDOR FIGHT: A BREAKDOWN OF THE SMACKDOWN
Daredevil starts out moving like a superhero, quick and acrobatic, but the fight gets slower and slower as it grinds on. He leans on nearby walls for support, catches his breath while he waits for the next bad guy to rush him. It’s not a fighting style I’ve ever seen in an action movie. Cox fights with the moves of a backstreet brawler or, even more aptly, like he’s in the final round of a boxing match.
The way Cox takes a punch expresses the character’s relationship with his dad better than any of the preceding flashbacks. We’ve seen Battlin’ Jack Murdock telling his son about a style of boxing he apparently borrowed from Homer Simpson. The idea that “knocked down, but never knocked out” is more of a philosophy than a sporting tactic for the Murdocks gets hammered home repeatedly in the dialogue, but this is the first time we actually get to see it.