Every day this year, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. Today's page is from Noble Causes #35, which was published by Image and is cover dated June 2008. Enjoy!
Jay Faerber's excellent super-hero comic (I wrote about it here) was nearing the end of its run with issue #35, but there were still plenty of surprises left, and this first page, as unpleasant it is, fits right into one of the bigger ones toward the end of the series. Faerber gives us a bit of information - the name of Sergeant - sigh - O'Mega, the fact that he's a big enough star to have dinner with the commissioner, somehow this murder is going to be important to him - and trusts us to follow along (well, he does give us a recap on the inside front cover, so there's that).
Yildiray Cinar and Ryan Vera make this a nice-looking page, despite the horrific image in the foreground. It's good that they put the victim in the foreground, because she fits in nicely with the way the plot works. Cinar draws her so that we have to deal with the brutality of her murder - her eye and mouth are open, and we see blood on her arms. Plus, of course, her body is bent backward in a horrible way, splayed across the rocks gruesomely. The men walking toward her are in the background because, as important as they might be to solving the case, at this moment they're less important than the victim, so we don't need to see them as well. Cinar tilts the scene enough so that they appear to be leaning to the right, which helps lend a bit of surreality to the page. Cinar inks the page rather heavily, as it's nighttime, and Vera does a good job with the only light source, which backlights the cops, shadowing their faces, and doesn't reach down to the victim's face - only her legs are tinged with pink, which suggests her violent end. It's a nice choice - her blood is blue because it's away from the light source, but the reddish-pink still implies violence. It's a nice and moody page, as Cinar's placement of the body and the police and Vera's coloring help turn it far gloomier than even the fact that there's been a murder would convey. There's also the inevitable link of violence and sex, as the woman's shirt is riding up on her torso, exposing her midriff, while her legs are apart. This is certainly not a sexual crime, but it's hard to separate the link between sex and violence, and even something relatively innocuous ("relatively" because it's still a dead body, after all) as this page can't do it.
As this is a splash page, it's not really moving our eye to the next page, but I suppose if you picked it up cold, you'd have to decide based on this scene whether this is the issue for you. It's not something I can answer, of course, because I was buying the series all along!
Remember: If you want to suggest a first page I can show in October, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. The ones I've already gotten are pretty neat, but I need more! MORE!!! AND MORE!!!!! Well, I don't need more, per se, because I can always do something different after I've use the ones I get, but I certainly hope that I get 31 submissions. That would be neat-o!
Next: I'd like to escape the Claremont, but I have a LOT of comics by the man! Tomorrow's is ... well, it's weird, all right. Find more Claremontian goodness in the archives!