31 October 2013

Battle of the Atom in landscape

If you read the same comic for fifty years or so then you expect some ups and downs. These ups can become iconic and I am proud to say that I was there for Frank Miller's run on Daredevil (started in 1979)and Walter Simonson's on Thor (1983), amongst many others.

Following teams and characters is harder now as all of the major players featured in several comics at the same time so it is no longer possible to say that, for example, the X-Men, are on a good run without specifying which of their title/s you are talking about.

Anyway, the X-Men are on a good run at the moment in the titles that I am reading which are Uncanny X-Men and X-Men. I was also reading Astonishing X-Men and X-Factor but both of those (good) titles have recently finished.

The current story line, Battle of the Atom, includes some issues of All-New X-Men and Wolverine and the X-Men so I have got those too.

Battle of the Atom is proving to be a good story though it is several years too early to say whether it is a classic.

It's another complicated time paradox story, as was the recent Age of Ultron in the Avengers, with the X-Men of the past (they have been in the present for a while in All-New X-Men) threatening the timeline and the X-Men from the/a future coming to stop them. Cue lots of time hopping and lots of claims as to what the real threat is.

Sometimes with cross-over stories like this some of the fringe issues let the side down with weaker script and/or, more commonly, weaker art. This is certainly not the case here and the whole saga has been a good ride so far.

It's a 10 chapter story, I've read the first 5 and have another 3 waiting for me on my iPad. The final parts are issued this week.

The other comment that I want to make, and which the sample pages above demonstrate, is the increasing use of landscape as the page format. These pages come from Uncanny X-Men #12 (by Bendis and Bachalo) and All-New X-Men #17 (by Bendis and Immonen).

This is not the natural format for reading comics on an iPad which in portrait mode is pretty much the same size as a standard Marvel/DC comic so in landscape mode the text and art is reduced in size. This still works, especially on the retina screen, and I suspect that the pages are designed for the iPad and then scaled up for the print version.

It has been said before by several people who know about these things that landscape is the natural shape of comics and I agree.

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