Frantic as a cardiograph scratching out the lines, Day 256: <i>ArchEnemies</i> #2

Every day this year, I will be examining the first pages of random comics. Today's page is from ArchEnemies #2, which was published by Dark Horse and is cover dated May 2006. This scan is from the trade paperback ArchEnemies volume 1: Saints and Sinners, which was published in 2006. Enjoy!

ArchEnemies is a mini-series about two roommates - one a superhero, one a supervillain. It's not exactly a comedy, but it is humorous in places. How could it not be? It's written by Drew Melbourne, penciled by Yvel Guichet, inked by Joe Rubinstein, colored by Rick Hiltbrunner, and lettered by Jim Keplinger. Just so you know!

So let's check out this first page of issue #2. Ethan Baxter - he's the superhero - is in bed with his occasional girlfriend, Trish. She obviously knows that he's a superhero, even though it doesn't appear they ever talk about it. So we get that from this first page. Melbourne writes decent pillow talk on this and the next page, as Ethan and Trish obviously dig each other. That's good to know.

Guichet does some nice things with this page. We first get the view from the outside of the bedroom, which we first saw in issue #1 but, if we happened to miss that issue, we understand some things from Panel 1. First, Ethan and Trish were getting busy before they reached the bedroom - Trish's bra attests to that. Second, Ethan has a roommate - he's considerate enough to put a tie on the door. It appears there was a party, what with the six-pack yoke on the floor, the empty can, the wine bottle, and the broken glass. The glass is actually not a result of the party, but yes, there was a party. Why the Christmas lights? Well, Guichet presumably wanted to show that the two dudes living here think Christmas lights are keen. Having gone to a large university with a lot of people who had unusual ideas about decorating, I can believe that Ethan and Vincent would put up Christmas lights and leave them there.

Ethan's bedroom is just as messy, as we see all the crap on the floor. We see his physique better on other pages, but Guichet draws Ethan with muscles on top of muscles - he is a superhero, after all. He puts Trish on the right side of the bed (from our vantage point) so that we can follow the action from Ethan to Trish, who's drawing on the wall. This works slightly against Guichet in the final panel, as Trish speaks first and Ethan responds, so the word balloons are a bit out of whack, but Guichet wants to show what Trish is drawing more clearly, so he has to go for this positioning.

Hiltbrunner doesn't go too nuts on this page, but I wonder if he gave Trish blue hair because Ethan, as Star Fighter (he doesn't fight stars, fret not), is red and orange and yellow (he's powered by "stellar" energy). Ethan's hair on this page is rust-colored, contrasting nicely with Trish's blue. I don't know if that's the reason, but it works out nicely, even though she doesn't interact with Ethan when he's dressed up in his costume.

There's nothing really wonderful about this page, but Melbourne does a good job getting us into this issue and Guichet does nice work presenting the characters. I'm not sure if the page screams "Read on!", but it's still a pretty decent first page.

Don't be shy about suggesting your own first page for the month of October! I can't believe you expect me to do all the work around here, people! That's just mean! Send me your requests at gregorymburgas@gmail.com. It's fun!

Next: Man, I love it when I randomly pick comics that are just terrible. It reminds me that I didn't always have the wonderful taste I do today! Check out some other embarrassing comics in the archives!

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