“Blind Rage: Part One”
Indestructible Hulk, no. 9
Mark Waid and Matteo Scalera
Marvel Comics, June 2013
1. “I was sent by–” “No names.”
The last-page revel, after the runaway goon delivers the stolen weapon to the villain is Baron Zemo, sitting in a darkened room, lazily enjoying a glass of red wine, dressed in full battle garb. I don’t understand what was happening in that room before the goon showed up at the door. Zemo’s bodyguard was apparently in the hallway or center hall, Zemo himself was sitting in a chair, drinking wine. In the dark.
Weirder than a man who has a ski mask permanently stuck to his face is a man who sits in chairs in the dark, just in the hopes that a stranger shows up to exert an intimidating aura over.
This scene is used in a lot of fiction and it just does not make sense. What is more likely to occur when any person visits another person is that the person being visited will be in the process of doing something and the visitor will be interrupting.
The old cliche scene is that the crime boss is playing poker with his inner circle when the visitor arrives. This shows the visited as a person who has a life with interests. Interests beyond drinking wine alone in the dark. A life that is interrupted by a visitor with a proposition. This makes a scene more interesting and it makes the characters more interesting.
2. “Gentlemen… a word.”
There’s a scene that does the thing that some readers hate: a page with only subtle shifts in movement.
These scenes are sometimes constructed to mimic the rhythms of film. In other cases, they are designed to show the comedic effect of subtly changing scenic elements. Criminals see Daredevil (a man in a red suit), they draw guns. Criminals see Hulk (an invulnerable monster), they cower in terror. It’s a joke: characters begin a scene with one expectation and find that expectation turned on its end.
Personally, I like these sorts of page constructions. I don’t see it as necessarily cheap or overly indebted to filmic ideas of motion. In some cases, these scene constructions are both of those things but in general, I find it to be a fun comics trick to keep in the cartoonist’s toolbox. Personally, I would caution against using it as a full page construction too often. Like any trick, it can get over used and weakened. In this case, it works just fine. Reading it, I smirked.
Maria Hill is my favorite character currently roaming around Marvel comic books. She’s demanding, determined and completely not in awe of super people. She’s also mean as whatever so this prank she pulls on Bruce “Hulk” Banner is pretty much my highlight of the comic.
Never change, Maria Hill. Never become nice.