Every day this year, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. Today’s page is from X-Factor #14, which was published by Marvel and is cover dated February 2007. Enjoy!
This isn’t a very exciting splash page, but considering some of the things that get splash pages in the Decompression Era, at least Peter David fills it up with information. This issue, like most Marvel books of the past 5-6 years, has a recap page, so it’s not that crucial to get us up to speed on the first page, but David lets us know that this is the Madrox written about on the recap page, he’s a bit of a smart-ass, and … well, that’s about it. We already know that he was having sex with two women at the same time and that he told them, so the final caption box isn’t terribly informative, but David uses the old trick of having the narration continue on the next page, so if we’re at all interested in Madrox’s thoughts, we have to turn the page.
Pablo Raimondi, meanwhile, doesn’t have much to do. He lays the page out perfectly well, as we would start in the upper left, where the “top” of the gun is, and follow its barrel down to Madrox’s face. Both guns form sides of a triangle of which Madrox is a point, so our eyes are drawn naturally to his face, which is the focus of the entire page, after all. I have no clue about guns, so I don’t know if you hold those with two hands or one, but if Raimondi had drawn two hands, it would have interfered with the flow of the page, so if it’s incorrect, at least it’s incorrect for the right reasons. Raimondi (probably) uses photo referencing in this page, and while I’m not the biggest fan, for static images it’s not bad. You’ll note also that Madrox is subtly pointing to the next page. “Read onnnnnn …” he whispers to us. “You know you want to …”
Is this an effective first page? I think so. David knows how to construct a single issue, and he also knows how to put together a page, so if you casually picked this up, I can’t think of a reason why you wouldn’t continue. The fact that we don’t return to this scene until the very end of the book might piss you off, but that’s not the first page’s fault!
Next: A big DC event you all remember fondly! You know it’s true! Or you could just wander through the archives!